Rebecca and Rowena both bring two different worlds and aspects to the book. They also bring the feminine touches to the novel because they are the only female characters that are talked about in depth by Sir Walter Scott. Rebecca and Rowena also show the struggles and obstacles that women in 12th century Britain would have faced.
Firstly, a major difference between these two characters is of course their racial and religious backgrounds. Rowena is a well off Christian Anglo-Saxon while Rebecca is a wealthy Jew. This difference may not seem so crucial but it turned out to be the very reason why Rebecca wasn’t able to marry the love she loved- Ivanhoe. The reason being that during this time being a Jew wasn’t such a great thing. The English men were jealous that the Jews had accumulated so much wealth so they retaliated the only way they could- with words, insults, and social snubbing.
As a result, Rebecca was looked down upon while Rowena was adored by many. While on the topic of their adorers, it would be improper not to discuss the different pressures that they faced due to their social statuses and standings. Due to Rowena’s Christian- Saxon heritage her father wanted her to marry Athelstane so that they could carry on the strong Saxon line. On the other hand, Rebecca wasn’t pressured to marry anyone. In actual fact she did not start off with any pursuers because nobody necessarily wanted to marry a Jew; even a wealthy one. During this time women had little to no say in whom they married or what their occupations were. I was based more off of who you were and where in society your class stood. Women especially had even less rights if they were in the lower class but in this case it is reversed. Rebecca was able to pursue her passion of medicine and later go on to heal Ivanhoe. Rowena would not have been able to pursue such a manly occupation, not when she was supposed to be of a noble and higher class.
Similarly though, the two...