Don Quixote

by: Miguel de Cervantes

The Second Part, Chapters XXII–XXVIII

The note in the margin that Cervantes mentions in Chapter XXIV deepens the puzzle of the novel’s narration by raising the question of how many translators bear responsibility for the text. In the beginning of the Second Part, Sampson tells Don Quixote that the author intends to publish a second part as soon as he finds the manuscript, which the Moor has written in his own language and an unspecified “Christian” has written in his. If the Christian is Cervantes, it is hard to explain why Cervantes refers to him throughout as “the translator.” If the Christian is not Cervantes, it is hard to imagine the role Cervantes plays in bringing the novel to us. This tension and further layering of authors, narrators, and voices draws attention to the circular form of the novel, and makes Don Quixote’s sanity ambiguous. We are forced to question at all times what we are reading and wonder whose perspective is most accurate.

The reappearance of Gines de Pasamonte, disguised as Master Peter, exemplifies the way the second half of the novel mirrors the first. The reappearance of characters from the first half helps join the two parts into a single novel, despite the obvious differences between them. Cervantes clearly wants to establish his work as the authentic sequel to the first half, and tying the two parts together through his characters is one way he manages to do so.