Literature Study GuidesDon QuixotePart 1 Chapters 44 46 Summary

Don Quixote | Study Guide

Miguel de Cervantes

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Don Quixote | Part 1, Chapters 44–46 | Summary

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Summary

Part 1, Chapter 44

The new arrivals are servants of Don Luis's father who have come to take the boy home. Don Luis tells the judge everything, and unsure of what to do, the judge asks him to stay another day. Meanwhile, two customers try to sneak out of the inn without paying and beat Juan Palomeque within an inch of his life. The women of the household beg Don Quixote to help, but he first protests that he is already engaged in service to Princess Micomicona, then says that he cannot fight people of such low birth. The women call him a coward.

The barber whose basin Don Quixote stole arrives at the inn. He demands the return of the basin, but Sancho Panza fights him off. Don Quixote promises to make Sancho Panza a knight someday.

Part 1, Chapter 45

Don Quixote's band of friends go along with his and Sancho Panza's assertions that the basin is a helmet and the saddlebag is a harness, which causes the four servants and the three policemen who just arrived to become outraged. The Don whacks one of the policemen with his lance and a huge fight breaks out, ending when Don Quixote decides he's in a scene from Orlando Furioso and requests everyone calm down and make peace.

One of the policemen realizes he has a warrant for Don Quixote's arrest for helping the galley slaves escape. The Don flies into a rage and chokes the man. They are separated, but Don Quixote continues to rant, wondering how the policeman could be "unaware that knights-errant are exempt from the applications of all laws and statutes."

Part 1, Chapter 46

Pero Perez convinces the policemen not to take Don Quixote away because he's so insane that a judge would just put him right back on the street. The police help settle the dispute between Sancho Panza and the barber, and Pero Perez secretly purchases the basin for Don Quixote.

Don Quixote is ready to fight the giant (again), but Sancho Panza, who has noticed Dorotea and Don Fernando canoodling in the shadows, says the princess is actually a whore. Don Quixote flies off the handle at his squire, but Dorotea calms them both with reminders of the enchantments afflicting the inn.

Pero Perez has arranged for a wooden crate to be built for Don Quixote's transport home. The rest of the men, save Sancho Panza, disguise themselves so they can get him safely inside as Master Nicolas narrates Don Quixote's happy future with Dulcinea del Toboso. Don Quixote fully supports this prophecy and gladly goes into the crate, which is put into an ox cart.

Analysis

Chapters 44–46 are a mishmash of all the individual threads of the novel coming together. Not surprisingly, this happens at the inn, which serves as a miniature representation of society at large. Inns are where people come together to do business, recuperate, break bread, and celebrate. The people staying at the inn determine the tenor and tone of the activities within, and in Chapters 44–46, the inn functions as a courtroom due to the presence of the judge. Don Luis and the victim barber both bring their cases before the group and accept the rulings. Dorotea is put on trial by Sancho Panza when he calls her a whore. Her innocence is "proved" by the existence of enchantments on the inn.

Enchantments are a recurring motif in Don Quixote, and they are used as sort of an eraser. Don Quixote blames an enchantment whenever something bad happens or if his current situation isn't looking the way he thinks it should. He fully expects a vengeful magician to muck up his plans, which is why it's so easy for him to explain away anything negative. Sancho Panza, on the other hand, is a realist. He begins the journey not believing in enchantments, but his master's persuasive reasoning has him questioning whether they're real or not.

Don Quixote has won over the nonbelievers as well. Juan Palomeque's wife and daughter beg for the man whom they once thought to be insane to save the innkeeper from the burglars' beating. Just because he's crazy doesn't mean that he can't be of service. Pero Perez, too, allows Don Quixote to continue to play the role of knight-errant, and even helps by purchasing the barber's basin for him. The characters who have spent the most time with Don Quixote realize that his affliction—or outlook—doesn't make him a bad person. He is different from everyone else, but there are times when that is actually very useful. This idea can be extended to the racial and religious intolerance in Spain at the time of Don Quixote's writing. Cervantes believed that differences in thought weren't bad— just different—which can actually be a good thing.

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