When one reads Ivanhoe, he has many characters to think upon, and to reflect upon, to admire and to abhor, to like and to dislike. There are many of those I find heroic, some merry and liberal, but what interest me are those who play the role of antagonists, but find in themselves praiseworthy virtues. One of the few is Maurice de Bracy.
He is far from being a good man. By politics, he is a follower of Prince John, who just cannot wait to usurp the throne from his valiant brother, King Richard. Richard the Lion-hearted himself is an adventurer, more fitting perhaps to be a general than a king, and would be more happy to live in the eve of battle in Palestine or in the merry forest with Robin Hood than in his dull administrative court. Still, de Bracy sides himself with a traitor, and deserves punishment, according to the code of honour praised in his era.
Not just that, he sets an ambuscade to abduct several persons by their way just because he loves the lady Rowena, whom he desires to be his bride. His act results in the imprisonment of Cedric's party along with Isaac and his daughter, and the wounded knight Ivanhoe. Later, it costs him Front-de-Beouf's life and almost costs him his own, but for the mercy of the Lion-hearted himself.
Even so, he has some virtues that I respect. For example, unlike the greedy Front-de-Beouf, he still has the sense of chivalry that is far higher above private grudge, as we read:
“The ideas of chivalrous honour, which, amidst his wildness and levity, never utterly abandoned De Bracy, prohibited him from doing the knight any injury in his defenceless condition, and equally interdicted his betraying him to Front-de-Boeuf, who would have had no scruples to put to death, under any circumstances, the rival claimant of the fief of Ivanhoe. On the other hand, to liberate a suitor preferred by the Lady Rowena, as the events of the tournament, and indeed Wilfred’s previous banishment from his father’s house, had made matter of notoriety, was a pitch far above the flight of De Bracy’s generosity.”
Not so generous indeed, yet enough to make me believe still in humanity. His pride is also clearly shown when the Black Knight defeats him in one-on-one fight, and demands him to be a prisoner, “rescue or no rescue.” He insists to know the victor's name, for he will not yield to any unknown man. Moreover, when Waldemar Fitzurse counsels Prince John to kill Richard in an ambush de Bracy insists that he will not touch a hair of the merciful king who has spared him his life.
“Not by me,” said De Bracy, hastily; “I was his prisoner, and he took me to mercy. I will not harm a feather in his crest.”
“Prison or tomb,” said De Bracy, “I wash my hands of the whole matter.”
Well, I've said all I need to. His love for Rowena has been blind, and so far from being honourable. He chooses his liege not wisely, and thus counts himself as a traitor. But there are laws that he lives with, that he doesn't betray even when it offers him much. Along with Brian de Bois-Guilbert I place him, not as lawless men, but men of their own laws. Not so good a thing, but not the worst.
That's my Character Thursday, what about yours?
Adalah book blog hop di mana setiap blog memposting tokoh pilihan dalam buku yang sedang atau telah dibaca selama seminggu terakhir (judul atau genre buku bebas).
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