Ivanhoe: chapter 22-24
Isaac is thrown into a dungeon. Front-de-Boeuf enters with some black slaves and demands a thousand silver pounds. Isaac protests that he does not have that amount of money. Front-de-Boeuf responds by threatening to strip Isaac and place him on iron bars over a fire grate, which the slaves have just lit. The slaves seize him, and Isaac quickly agrees to pay what is demanded of him. He demands that his traveling companions also be liberated when he pays, but Front-de-Boeuf will not hear of it. Isaac then says he must send Rebecca to York to get the money. Front-de-Boeuf tells him he cannot, because he has already given Rebecca, whom he thought was Isaac’s concubine, as handmaid to De Bois-Guilbert. Isaac is distraught. He begs Front-de-Boeuf to take everything he has and broil him on the furnace, but spare the honor of his daughter. Front-de-Boeuf has a moment of sympathy for Isaac but it soon passes. As Isaac continues to be defiant, Front-de-Boeuf orders the slaves to strip him and chain him down on the bars, But before they can do so, a bugle call from outside the castle is heard, and Front-de-Boeuf is summoned away from the dungeon.
De Bracy visits Rowena in her imprisonment, aiming to win her hand in marriage. He tries to charm her, but she responds only with contempt. He then takes a tougher approach, telling her that if she does not leave the castle as his wife, she will never leave it at all. He also reveals that he knows of Rowena’s love for Wilfred of Ivanhoe, and tells her that Ivanhoe will never marry her because he too is a prisoner in the castle. (Ivanhoe was the sick man in the litter traveling with Isaac; De Bracy is the only knight who knows of his presence in the castle, having looked into the litter, a fact that is not explained until Chapter XXVIII.) De Bracy also reveals that Front-de-Boeuf wants the land that is Ivanhoe’s by right. De Bracy says Front-de-Boeuf will not harm Ivanhoe if Rowena agrees to marry him, De Bracy. Otherwise, Ivanhoe will die. Cedric’s fate also rests on her decision. Rowena weeps in despair, and De Bracy has no idea of how to respond to her.
Rebecca is thrust into a cell where she encounters an old woman named Urfried. It turns out that when Urfried was young, Front-de-Boeuf’s father stormed the castle in which her father and his seven sons lived. All the men were killed, and Urfried was forced to live in the castle with the conquerors. She tells Rebecca there is no escape, and leaves the cell. De Bois-Guilbert comes to the cell and makes it clear that he wishes to possess her. Rebecca reproaches him, but he tells her that she is his captive and subject to his will. He asks her to submit to her fate and become a Christian, a proposal which horrifies her. She opens the window and stands on the parapet, threatening to jump. De Bois-Guilbert promises he will not hurt her in any way. Reluctantly, she decides to trust him and steps down from the parapet. He says she does him an injustice and he is genuinely devoted to her. But he adds that the union must be with her consent and on her terms. He tells her that he has ambitions to become the powerful Grand Master of the Templars, but he is cynical about the chivalric and spiritual ideals of the Order. He simply seeks power, and implies that Rebecca will be able to share it, and that this will be good for the Jews. Then he hears the bugle sound from outside the castle and leaves the cell, promising Rebecca he will return.
Each of these three chapters centers around one Norman noble and one of the prisoners. Chapter XXII reveals the utter cruelty of Front-de-Boeuf. He is the worst of the Norman nobles, and he will appropriately enough meet the worst fate.
The next two chapters both show honorable knights behaving dishonorably, and beautiful women in situations of danger responding with impeccable courage and dignity. (Rowena’s collapse into tears turns out to be the most intelligent thing she can do in her situation, since it leaves De Bracy completely discombobulated.)
Scott carefully makes a distinction between De Bracy and De Bois-Guilbert. De Bracy is unscrupulous and hopelessly love-smitten, and that is his undoing. But he is not irredeemably evil, and there is even some humor in the ridiculous way he tries to woo Rowena. He therefore will meet a lighter fate than the ruthless, power-hungry, hypocritical De Bois-Guilbert.