Don Quixote
Miguel de Cervantes
Contributed by Jerrold Mcmenamin

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2-Dedication-Chapter VII
Summary

The Authors Dedication of the Second Part

Cervantes dedicates his novel to the Count of Lemos, explaining that he is releasing Don Quixote back into the world in an effort to “purge the disgust and nausea caused by another Don Quixote who has been running around the world masquerading as the Second Part.” Cervantes claims that he turned down an offer made by the emperor of China of the position of rector of a college of Castilian language. The History of Don Quixote would have been the primary textbook at this college. It was because the emperor did not provide an advance that Cervantes dismissed his envoy and opted to dedicate his work to the Count of Lemos.

Prologue

Cervantes provides an introduction of the Second Part. The Second Part is the account of Don Quixote’s third expedition. Cervantes rails against the author who published a fake sequel to the First Part of Don Quixote. Cervantes makes the suggestion that if readers come across that author, they ought to tell him a story. This story is about a man who used a hollow cane to inflate a dog, astonishing everyone who saw the event. The audience questioned the man, and he responded by asking whether they believe blowing up a dog is an easy task. Cervantes also requests that the reader passes on a tale of a man who lugged around a heavy slab that he dropped on dogs he found in the street. A dog owner attacked this man one day. As a result, he became too fearful to drop slabs on any additional dogs. Cervantes says that the author of the fake sequel should be too afraid to write any more false books. He defends himself against the person insults that he author made, declaring that while he may be a cripple and poor, all of his wounds have been earned in battle and therefore they are a source of pride.

Chapter I

Cervantes informs us that Cide Hamete Benengeli continues with his story of Don Quixote’s adventures by talking about the visit the priest and the barber made to Don Quixote after a month of not seeing him. While Don Quixote seems sane at first, when the priest inspires him to begin talking about chivalry it becomes apparent that the gentleman has by no means given up any of his ideas being a knight-errant.

Chapter II

Sancho arrives to visit Don Quixote. He wants to know when they will set off again in their search for adventure. The housekeeper and the niece, however, try to avoid letting Sancho into the house. Don Quixote orders them to allow him in, and he then asks Sancho about his own reputation in the village. Sancho admits that many people think he is mad. He informs Don Quixote about the publication of a book of their earlier adventures. The book includes a great many details, and Sancho is amazed that the writer had a way of learning about them. Don Quixote believes that the writer must be a sage enchanter. Sancho, however, states that the writer is a Moor called Cide Hamete Aubergine. Sancho ventures to the village in order to find Sampson Carrasco, the student who told him about the book.

Chapter III

Sancho goes to fetch Sampson, and Don Quixote thinks that the Moorish enchanter who authored the book must either want to destroy or exalt him. He worries about the fact that the writer is a Moor, as he thinks that Moors never tell the truth. Sampson appears and informs Don Quixote about the book and the writer, Cide Hamete Benengeli. Additionally, he says that there have been translations of the book into Christian tongues. Sampson disapproves of the novel’s anecdotal digressions in which Don Quixote does not feature. However, he declares that everyone likes the novel. He also points out a number of textual inconstancies with regard to Dapple’s appearance and disappearance. Sancho claims he can explain these but runs away, claiming stomachache.

Chapter IV

Sancho comes back and says that a thief took Dapple when he was incapacitated. Sampson states that this explanation fails to justify the book’s inconsistencies, and Sancho replies that the author or the printer could have made a mistake. He says that the hundred crowns he discovered in the saddlebags were spent in the Sierra Morena. Sampson declares that he will inform the author, so that the book can be revised. Sampson explains that the author has promised to publish the Second Part after he finds the manuscript. He goes on to tell Don Quixote about a jousting festival that took place in Saragossa, suggesting that he go there to seek fame. Don Quixote asks Sampson to compose a poem with each line starting with a letter of the name Dulcinea.

Chapter V

Cervantes says that “the translator” believes this chapter is likely inauthentic, as Sancho speaking in such a high style seems impossible. Cervantes doesn’t share the name of this translator. Sancho heads home to Teresa—whose name at the conclusion of the First Part is Juana—and informs her that he will shortly be departing with Don Quixote on another adventure. Teresa tells Sancho he shouldn’t dream too much and that it would be better to be content with his station. Sancho replies that he wishes to make his daughter a countess by marrying her off advantageously. Teresa disapproves, saying that people who marry within their own class are happier.

Chapter VI

The housekeeper and the niece beg Don Quixote to remain at home. They declare that if he insists on going, he ought to join the king’s court instead of going on new adventures. Don Quixote replies by insisting that he is obliged to carry out his destiny and life his life as a knight-errant. He talks of honor and pedigree, saying that he is aware of only two ways by which one may increase honor and fame: arms or letters. He declares that he has chosen arms.

Chapter VII

The housekeeper finds Don Quixote’s madness distressing. She asks Sampson to speak with him. Sancho goes to see Don Quixote, and they talk about Teresa’s advice and her desire that Don Quixote give Sancho wages. Don Quixote refuses to make any commitment of wages, and he says that Sancho should stay at home if he lacks the strength necessary to be a squire. Sancho cries and promises he will accompany him. Sampson visits Don Quixote as well. However, rather than trying to dissuade him from going on his journey, Sampson urges him to leave right away. Cervantes makes reference to a plan Sampson has come up with along with the priest and the barber and declares that the plan will be described later in the story.

Analysis

The mention Cervantes makes of the imposter who has published the fake sequel of the story renders the novel more self-referential. In reality, an author called Avellaneda authored a fake sequel to Don Quixote that was released several years following the original publication of the First Part of Don Quixote, in 1605. This fake sequel pushed Cervantes to rush the writing of his own sequel, the publication of which was in 1615. Additionally, it altered the text’s content. Cervantes opted to mention the fake sequel in his novel, going further in blurring the line between the fictional and historical aspects of the text.

It can be argued that Don Quixote’s story remains fictional. In the novel’s First Part, the sole person who talks of Cide Hamete Benengeli is the author himself. The fact that Cervantes is the only one to do this is logical. This is because if it is true, as Cervantes claims, that Cide Hamete Benengeli was the first person to write the tale, the story’s characters would not have the ability to speak about him as being their author. However, we find an  illogical world in the Second Part of the novel, and Sancho makes direct reference to Cide Hamete Benengeli. Thus, if readers still harbor doubts regarding the tongue-in-cheek character of the author’s initial claim that his story is from a historical manuscript, they are now able to put these doubts to rest. It could be contended that in the ten years that passed between the First and Second Parts’ publication, the characters, if they were real historical figures, would have been able to know about Benengeli, Avellaneda, and perhaps even Cervantes. However, the Second Part begins after only one month after the conclusion of the First Part. Nevertheless, Sancho later sends his wife a letter that is dated 1615, which is the year of the Second Part’s publication. As a result of the significant correlation between the novel’s actual historical publication and the story it presents, this letter ought to also date the novel’s first half as 1615. However, we are aware that it was published in 1605. The fictional nature of the novel is emphasized in this discrepancy.

One concept that plays a significant role in the Second Part of the novel is that of authorship. This is especially the case in relation to Don Quixote’s sense of control over his own fate. Vague authorship is an idea that throws light on the conflict between the imaginary and real worlds. This is a conflict that we see embodied in the character of Don Quixote. Cervantes essentially lets his characters influence their own stories in a way similar to what authors would do. When we see Don Quixote express worries regarding the First Part of the novel’s accuracy, we witness the main character of the story doubting the accuracy of his own tale. Additionally, in spite of the reality that Cervantes says in the First Part that he translated Cide Hamete Benengeli’s work, he now makes reference to an unnamed translator without giving any indication of this individual’s identity. Thus, we are left an even more undecipherable image of the truth.

In this opening section, the trickery of Don Quixote’s companions shows their wish to see Don Quixote again endeavor to pursue his fantasies. The priest spends a great deal of time in the First Part attempting to persuade Don Quixote to come home, yet he seems to delight in his friend’s madness. In a similar way, Sampson Carrasco’s falsehood to the housekeeper that he will try to make Don Quixote see sense shows his foolishness and willingness to play games with the old gentleman’s imagination. Samson and the priest mimic Sancho, who goes along with his master’s whims even though he knows very well that Don Quixote is insane. Through their encouragement of Don Quixote’s madness, these characters expose their own wish for adventure. This wish is vicariously expressed through Don Quixote.

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