Don Quixote

by: Miguel de Cervantes

The Second Part, Chapters LXI–LXVI

Chapter LXVI

Great hearts, my dear master, should be patient in misfortune as well as joyful in prosperity.

(See Important Quotations Explained)

A forlorn Don Quixote departs Barcelona with Sancho, who urges his master to cheer up, saying that a good man should be patient in all things. Sancho suggests that they hang Don Quixote’s armor in a tree, but he refuses, so Sancho places the armor on Dapple’s back and walks. On the road, they encounter a group caught up in an argument. The group seeks Don Quixote’s advice about a problem, but Sancho settles the problem with what the group considers a very wise decision.

Don Quixote and Sancho then encounter Tosilos. Tosilos says that just after they left the Duke’s castle, he was flogged for not fighting Don Quixote, the Duke sent Doña Rodriguez back to Castile, and Doña Rodriguez’s daughter became a nun. The news astonishes Don Quixote, who still believes that Tosilos is the farmer’s son under an enchantment.

Analysis: Chapters LXI–LXVI

Don Quixote’s fall from grace is complete when the Knight of the White Moon vanquishes him. This loss of glory is mirrored by Don Quixote’s physical decline. Later, when he dies, he has returned to sanity but has largely lost his chivalric strength, as though his defeat at the hands of the Knight of the White Moon sapped his will to live. Don Quixote’s psychological fall, however, truly intensifies at the ball the night before his defeat. Sancho’s embarrassment over Don Quixote’s collapse after dancing too much attests to the reversal of their roles of master and servant. The ball marks the last time that Don Quixote holds the upper hand over Sancho and the first time that Sancho acts paternally toward Don Quixote. Indeed, Don Quixote follows Sancho’s lead for the rest of the novel, as we see when Sancho steps forward to settle the group’s quarrel on the road home. Though the novel ends before we see how Sancho proceeds in life and what he does with his newfound identity, Cervantes does show that Sancho returns to his own home well-respected despite his humble social position.

The story of Anna Felix and Don Gregorio tempers Cervantes’s otherwise rampant racism. From the outset, Cervantes mocks the Moors as liars and thieves, portraying them as useless cheapskates who deserve their exile from Spain because they threaten the king’s rule. Even Cide Hamete Benengeli, the supposed author of the story, is a target of Cervantes’s racism, since Cervantes blames all textual inconsistencies on Benengeli’s lying Moorish nature. Much like Zoraida in the First Part, the character of Anna Felix challenges this stereotype of Moors, but only to a limited extent. Unlike her Spanish counterparts, Anna Felix is less scrutinized by Cervantes, presumably because he prejudicially considers her less than a true woman. Though Spanish society typically chastised women who dressed as men, Anna Felix, who is dressed as a young man, does not inspire such commentary from Cervantes. Despite the fact that Anna Felix is not the spitting image of a what Cervantes’s readership would have considered ideal, she comes off as a respectable and sympathetic character, mellowing Cervantes’s scathing attack on members of her race.

In general, however, determining whether the novel is prejudiced against the Moors is difficult. It is likely that Cervantes represents Spanish culture fairly—with the same amount of antagonism toward the Moors as toward others. But Cervantes explicitly claims that he is translating a Moorish manuscript, and when this manuscript is racist toward the Moors, we question why a Moor would be racist toward his own race. The various levels of narration and authorship depicted in the novel make it difficult to determine authorial intent.