Sancho returns and explains that a thief stole Dapple from him when he was strung up. Sampson says that Sancho’s explanation does not justify the inconsistencies in the book, and Sancho replies that perhaps the author or the printer made an error. He explains how he spent the hundred crowns he found in the saddlebags in the Sierra Morena, and Sampson promises to tell the author so that he can revise the book. Sampson says that the author promises to publish the Second Part when he finds the manuscript. Sampson then tells Don Quixote about a jousting festival in Saragossa and suggests that he seek fame there. Don Quixote begs Sampson to write a poem in which each line begins with a letter of Dulcinea’s name.
Cervantes tells us that “the translator” doubts that this chapter is authentic because it seems impossible that Sancho would have spoken in such a high style. Cervantes does not identify this translator. Sancho goes home to Teresa—whose name at the end of the First Part is Juana—and tells her that he will soon be leaving with Don Quixote on another adventure. Teresa warns Sancho not to dream too much and to be content with his station. Sancho replies that he wants to marry off his daughter and make her a countess. Teresa objects to this plan, saying that people are happier when they marry within their own class.
The niece and housekeeper beg Don Quixote to stay at home. They say that if he must go he should join the king’s court rather than go on more adventures. Don Quixote insists that he must do what he was born to do and pursue his life as a knight-errant. He discusses honor and pedigree, claiming that he knows of only two ways to increase fame and honor—through arms or letters—and that he has chosen arms.
Distressed at Don Quixote’s madness, the housekeeper begs Sampson to speak with him. Sancho visits Don Quixote, and they discuss Teresa’s advice and her wish that Sancho receive wages from Don Quixote. Don Quixote refuses to fix Sancho’s wages and tells him to stay home if he does not have the strength to be a squire. Sancho weeps and promises to come along. Sampson too visits Don Quixote, but instead of dissuading him from his journey, Sampson encourages him to embark at once. Cervantes alludes to a plan Sampson has developed with the priest and the barber and says that the plan will be detailed later in the history.
Analysis: Dedication–Chapter VII
Cervantes’s mention of the imposter who publishes the false sequel of the story makes the novel more self-referential. In real life, an author by the name of Avellaneda wrote a false sequel to Don Quixote that appeared several years after the original publishing of the First Part of Don Quixote, in 1605. This false sequel not only inspired Cervantes to hurry along his own sequel, which he published in 1615, but it altered the context of that text. Cervantes chose to mention the false sequel in his fictional tale, further blurring the line between the novel’s fictional and historical aspects.
On the one hand, we can argue that the story of Don Quixote remains fictional. In the First Part, the only person who speaks of Cide Hamete Benengeli is Cervantes himself. It is logical for Cervantes to be the only one to do so, since if Cide Hamete Benengeli did indeed originate the tale, as Cervantes claims he did, then the characters in the tale would not be able to speak about him as their author. However, the world of the novel in the Second Part is not logical, and Sancho refers directly to Cide Hamete Benengeli. Therefore, if we still have any doubts about the tongue-in-cheek nature of Cervantes’s initial claim that he is writing from the historical manuscript of Cide Hamete Benengeli, we can put those doubts to rest. One could argue that in the decade that passed between the publication of the First Part and the Second Part, the characters, if they were historical personages, would have been able, in real life, to find out about Benengeli, Avellaneda, and even Cervantes. But the Second Part picks up only one month—not years—after the end of the First Part. Nevertheless, Sancho later writes a letter to his wife and dates it 1615, the year the Second Part was published. Because of the deep correlation between the actual, historical publication of the novel and the story it contains, this letter should also date the first half of the novel as 1615, but we know that it was published in 1605. This discrepancy emphasizes the novel’s fictional nature.
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