Don Quixote
Miguel de Cervantes
Contributed by Jerrold Mcmenamin

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2-Chapter LIV–LX
Summary

Chapter LIV

The dishonorable farmer’s son that seduced Dona Rodriguez’s daughter, and whom Don Quixote intends to challenge, has left the country. The Duke tells Tosilos, the lover’s footman, to take his place in the fight with Don Quixote. In the meantime, as Sancho and Dapple go towards the castle, they come upon a group of German pilgrims together with Sancho’s old neighbor, Ricote the Moor, who left the country when the king exiled the Moors. Ricote, who is making his way home to retrieve treasure he buried there, expresses his displeasure about how he has been separated from his family during his time of exile. Sancho talks to Ricote about his governorship, and Ricote inquires what Sancho got out of his time in government. Sancho says that he learned that is incapable of governing anything other than a herd of cattle.

Chapter LV

Sancho and Dapple fall into a pit after seeing Ricote. They are trapped and cannot escape. Don Quixote discovers them there and finds others who can help to get them out. Don Quixote and Sancho make their way back to the castle, where Sancho informs the Duke and Duchess about how he has abdicated his governorship. The Duke claims he is grieved at Sancho’s decision, but that he will find a better position at the castle for him. The Duchess states she will get someone to take care of Sancho’s battered body.

Chapter LVI

The day of the duel arrives. The Duke takes off the steel tips from the lances so that neither combatant will be killed. He does other things as well to ensure that no one is seriously harmed. When Tosilos sets eyes on Dona Rodriguez’s daughter however, he falls in love with her and decides not to charge Don Quixote. Rather, he proposes marriage to the daughter. Believing that he is the farmer’s son, she accepts. However, she quickly discovers the trick. Don Quixote tells the Duke that an evil enchanter has caused this transformation. The Duke knows the truth, though, and locks up Tosilos.

Chapter LVII

As Don Quixote and Sancho say farewell to the Duke and Duchess, Sancho joyfully receives Teresa’s letters from the Duchess. The pair begins to leave. However, Altisidora, how is pretending to be devastated because Don Quixote is not in love with her, utters a curse against him. It is in the form of a sonnet. She criticizes what she says is his cruelty to her and accuses him of the theft of three handkerchiefs and a garter. When the Duke questions her, though, she admits that the garter is in her possession.

Chapter LVIII

While on the road, Don Quixote and Sancho come across workmen bearing icons of saints to a church nearby. Don Quixote admires the icons. In a bit of forest beside the road, Don Quixote ends up entangled in some bird snares, which he thinks is an evil enchantment. The snares were set by two shepherdesses, who now appear. They invite Don Quixote and Sancho to come to a pastoral paradise that they and other villagers are attempting to create. Don Quixote turns down the invitation but is impressed by the idea. He vows that for two days he will stand in the middle of the highway, forcing all who pass to say that the two shepherdesses are the most beautiful maids in the world with the exception of Dulcinea. Soon after Don Quixote goes into the road to carry out his promise, however, a herd of bulls comes charging down the road. The herdsmen tell Don Quixote he must step aside. However, Don Quixote, Sancho, Rocinante, and Dapple are crushed.

Chapter LIX

Don Quixote and Sancho go to an inn. This time, Don Quixote does not mistake it for a castle. While eating supper, they come across two gentlemen who have read the fake sequel to the novel’s First Part. Don Quixote lets them know that the book is a fake and the men attack the book. Don Quixote also refuses to look at the book, wanting to avoid giving the its writer any cause to think that people are reading it. When the two men inform Don Quixote that the fake Don Quixote also went to Saragossa for a jousting competition, Don Quixote indicates that he will never go to that town again. He will go to Barcelona instead.

Chapter LX

Tired of waiting for the disenchantment of Dulcinea, Don Quixote says that he has decided to whip Sancho himself. The two men argue. Sancho knocks the gentleman down and, before allowing him to get up again, forces Don Quixote to swear that he will refrain from whipping him. Don Quixote and Sancho then come across a band of thieves who steals their money. However, the thieves are ordered by their leader, Roque Guinart, to give back the money. Roque has read the stories about Don Quixote and recognizes him. He explains he never thought he was a real person.

After a short meeting with a distressed young woman who has murdered her lover as a result of mistaken jealousy, Roque lets a group of wealthy people keep most of their money. He even gives some money to two poor pilgrims that are traveling by their side. Roque kills one of the thieves for complaining about his generosity. Roque sends a letter to a friend who lives in Barcelona. This is to alert him to the imminent arrival of Don Quixote.

Analysis

Don Quixote’s meeting with the two men who have read the fake sequel to the First Part of the novel causes further blurring of the lines between fiction and reality. By this time in the story, Don Quixote has started to accept reality: he ultimately sees an inn as just an inn and accepts that he needs to pay for accommodations. However, his return to reality arrives just after the bulls trample on him as he stands his ground. His decision to stand his ground in this situation raises questions about his sanity. Still, he does show the ability to distinguish between the real First Part and the fake sequel, refusing to look at the sequel and criticizing its falsehood. Making things even more confused is Don Quixote’s refusal, seen in Chapter LIX, to go to Saragossa. At the conclusion of the First Part, Cervantes tells readers that the history indicates that Don Quixote will go to Saragossa on his next adventure. At this point, however, it appears that Cervantes was either incorrect or lying, as Don Quixote’s actions go against the text that recount his exploits.

As the novel draws near to its conclusion, we see a decline in the status of the knight-errant, which is replaced by the peasant’s strength and virtue. When Sancho is able to overpower Don Quixote, the gentleman’s defeat and Sancho’s evolution as a character are almost complete. At the beginning of the novel, Sancho the squire would never have even thought about challenging the word of his master. At this point, however, he physically knocks Don Quixote down and does not even apologize. He even compels Don Quixote to swear an oath. Sancho’s importance and power in the story eclipse the reduced stature of Don Quixote. Simultaneously, the chivalric characteristics to which Don Quixote aspires so devotedly for such a long time have started to lose the hold they have on him as he starts to become more realistic and practical, as well as caring and compassionate.

Tosilos’s story is a highly significant example of the Duke and Duchess’s cruelty. Tosilos is the lackey whom the Duke compels to fight Don Quixote simply for the nobleman’s amusement. Don Quixote and Tosilos fight for the entertainment of two wealthy and powerful people who are bored and amused by the problems of the servant and her disgraced daughter. While the Duke does take steps to prevent Don Quixote and Tosilos from becoming injured during the battle, he does not let them know he has done so. This is because she wants them to feel the anxiety of real battle. We later learn that Tosilos has been locked up as a consequence of his refusal to fight. We also find that Dona Rodriguez’s daughter has been sent away to a convent. These facts make the cruel nature of the Duke and Duchess’s behavior even clearer. Additionally, while it is said that the Duke shows overt grief for Sancho’s difficult governorship, Cervantes writes of this grief with an ironic tone. He clearly doubts its sincerity. While the Duke and Duchess claim they are upset at Sancho’s “signs of having been badly bruised and worse treated,”  it seems clear that Sancho does not only have “signs” of bruising. Rather, he is bruised. The Duke and Duchess interfere with the lives of their servants simply for the sake of interfering, demonstrating that they enjoy power and lack compassion for other people.

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