…after reading Part II of Don Quixote

…after reading Part II of Don Quixote

The first part is more widely known, with the famous adventures of the windmills, galley prisoners, wineskins, Sancho being tossed in the air…

The second book, I think, is less well known, the adventures less striking, the misdeeds not so numerous, but it is perhaps more ‘modern’ in feel than the first.  DQ awakes in his sick-bed to find that someone has written a book about him! People he meets in the second part… know the first part!

A list, in a somewhat random order:

  • Happy 400th Anniversary!!!
    (originally published in 1615)
  • Governmental policy of deporting Muslims? (more below)
  • The "student" as the catalyst/final decider
  • The nobel class:
    • How cruel they can be!
    • They sure do have a lot of free time and unlimited resources!
  • What is it like to be an accidental pop phenom?
  • Oh, to be almost finished writing the sequel to your book, when you learn that some unknown author has done it for you already!
  • Who is the author?
  • Who is the book?

In Book 1, the reader sees DQ as a crazy guy, inventing impossible situations to replace the mundane reality, “through a glass darkly”
In Book 2, the reader sees situations foisted upon DQ, though since they are staged by Duke and Duchess (and not the byproduct of DQ’s imagination) they are quite real.

The puppet show in the early chapters is actually kind of a pre-figuring of the treatment by Duke and Duchess. One of the characters wrongly attacked in Book 1 comes back to ‘attack’ DQ via unkind representation on the mini-stage. DQ violently attacks the stage, perhaps in order to silence the critics and various other mis-representations. He is afforded no such luxury with Duke and Duchess, who effectively never allow his third sally to ever get going.

Sancho Panza’s governance actually seems quite effective, even though it’s set up so that he should fall on his face. Attempts to humiliate Sancho are mean-spirited with considerable egg-on-the-face.

Of particular poignance is when Sancho meets Ricote, a Moorish man from his hometown who was forced to flee due to religious persecution.  Later, we learn that this man’s daughter, Ana Felix, is referred to herself as Christian Moorish and is to marry a Christian, with approval from her father, a kind of not-too-subtle “love conquers all” subtext.

In that regard, it is fascinating that Cervantes chooses Cide Hamete Benegeli as a lens through which to refract DQ… Is Cervantes hiding behind a foreigner, deflecting responsibility? Is the Moorish source wiser than the Castilian translator?  A Spanish treasure is actually of Moorish provenance?  

Two more things…

  • a la Tristram Shandy—will we ever know what happened in the Cave of Montesinos? DQ promises that he will tell Sancho (and us) later, but he never does…
  • a la Monty Python’s Cheese Shop Sketch—DQ and Sancho are flustered by an innkeeper who says he’s got the best and most plentiful food, and that they simply need to request what they desire, but it turns out the possibilities are quite severely limited!

© 2016 Peter J. Evans, theorist (though this post was started in 2015, believe me!)