This novel is about a knight who returns from the second Crusade in the Middle East. He returns to his father's, Cedric the Saxon, thandom. He was banished by his father for becoming loyal to Richard I of England. Disguised he returns to see his love, Lady Rowena - his father's ward - and orders the swineherd, Gurth, to come with him to the tournament at Ashby-de-la-Zouche. Where he wins prizes as an unknown knight, finally he is forced to be de-helmed, and then stabbed in the back by the Templar Sir Brian de Bois-Guilbert. Ivanhoe, then, is given to Rebecca, a jewish princess, because his father still has not pardoned him. Rebecca and her father leave the tournament and are attacked by Sir Brian and his men. The rest of the story is an epic battle between Locksley's band of outlaws, the Black Knight, and Cedric's men against those of Prince John's, Sir Brian's and Reginald Front-de Boeuf's men.
"This second Eumaeus strode hastily down the forest glade, driving before him, with the assistance of Fangs, the whole herd of his inharmounious charge."
-Scott describes Gurth to be Eumaeus in the above passage. The dog Gangs is almost a facsimile of Odysseus' Argos. Fangs barks when he sees Ivanhoe, like Argos, except he doesn't die.
-The first morning that Ivanhoe is in Cedric's hall he calls to Gurth and whisphers in his ear and Gurth does as he says. This is a parallel with Odysseus returning home to Ithaca and meeting with his swineherd, only Eumaeus doesn't know that the beggar is Odysseus.
-When at the tournament Gurth is seen as the squire of the Uknown knight. He is helping Ivanhoe in the jousts and other games. This is metaphorically Ivanhoe ridding England of its "suitors", the french Normans. Eumaeus aides Odysseus and Telemachus in their rebellion of the suitors.
-Ivanhoe enters Cedric's hall as a beggar Palmer, Odysseus lands in Ithaca as a distraught beggar.
-Ivanhoe loves Lady Rowena and returns to see her. Basically like Odysseus trying to return home to see Penelope, his wife. Both Ivanhoe and Odysseus have many trials to face both getting home and while there.
-Struggling to receive a pardon by his father because of his loyalty to King Richard I. Ivanhoe is Telemachus trying to find his father in a sea of trouble.
-The Iliad is brought to light in Ivanhoe by the flashback and comments towards the recent crusade. This crusade was between the European Christians and the Arabic Muslims; at this time they were two main world powers like Troy and the Greek city-states.