With close reference to the novel Ivanhoe discuss how the central plot revolves around the conflicts and tensions between the Normans and the Saxons.
The origins of the Norman-Saxon conflict in Ivanhoe, by Sir Walter Scott, began on a wind-swept English hillside in 1066. Duke William of Normandy arrived on the shores of England with an army to make good his claim on the crown of England. The Normans won the battle and the duke became known to history as William the Conqueror. What followed was one of the most complete subjugations of a conquered people. In the end, the native Saxon population assimilated Norman culture into their own. Certainly, they had little choice, but a new society evolved that was no longer completely Norman or Saxon, but rather “English” in nature. It is this societal conflict that Ivanhoe is built upon, and also serves as means to explore the transition from the Neoclassical to the Romantic era in literature and society. One manifestation of the Norman-Saxon conflict is found in the relationship between Wilfred of Ivanhoe and his father, Cedric. In Ivanhoe, the Saxon culture symbolizes the Romantic ideal of the transcendent power of nature over civilization, represented by the Normans, who exemplify the Neoclassic paradigm.
Cedric’s fanatical devotion to native Saxon traditions and Wilfrid’s adoption of Norman customs creates a generation gap, a perennial theme in human relations that provides Scott a nexus through which the tensions between the Saxons and Normans, and Romanticism and Neoclassicism, can be explored. Being a perennial theme in parent-child relations, this aspect of the novel enhances the timeless quality of Ivanhoe.cThe Norman-Saxon conflict in Ivanhoe serves as an extended analogy for the clash between Neoclassicism and Romanticism. The Normans, with their civilized ways, are thinly-veiled personifications of Neoclassicism, who represent order and control, especially control of nature ("Neoclassicism and the Enlightenment Overview"). Nature, represented by the Saxons, and in particular by the character of Locksley (Robin Hood), is at the core of the Romantic identity. It is for the natural rights of freedom, equality, and justice, that Wilfrid, Locksley, and the Saxons fight against the Normans.al to the Romantic era in literature and society. Beyond the conflict between the Normans and Saxons, and Neoclassical and Romantic ideals, Scott also shows us the dark side of human nature.