Literature Study GuidesDon QuixotePart 1 Chapters 47 49 Summary

Don Quixote | Study Guide

Miguel de Cervantes

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Don Quixote | Part 1, Chapters 47–49 | Summary

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Summary

Part 1, Chapter 47

Sancho Panza tries to talk some sense into Don Quixote, but the lunatic knight is happy to be in the crate, explaining, "Knights of lesser reputation ... never encounter these things, ... nobody ... pays any attention to them." As Sancho Panza fumes, the traveling party meets a cathedral priest from Toledo. Don Quixote explains the enchantment that landed him in the crate, but Sancho Panza, angry that Pero Perez is standing in the way of Don Quixote's marriage to Princess Micomicona, says his master is "absolutely right in the head."

It turns out that, like Pero Perez, the cathedral priest also disdains chivalric romances. He thinks they are "a danger to our country," providing pleasure to the exclusion of valuable lessons. Fiction, he believes, should be based on the truth so that "pleasure and wonder can go hand in hand."

Part 1, Chapter 48

The cathedral priest and Pero Perez continue their conversation about literature, while Sancho Panza takes the opportunity to talk to Don Quixote who is still in the crate. He tries to prove to the Don that he isn't enchanted by asking if he feels the need to urinate. The Don urinates all over himself in response.

Part 1, Chapter 49

Don Quixote insists that enchantments can take different forms, which is why he still feels human urges. Sancho Panza arranges for him to be let out of the crate when they stop for lunch. The cathedral priest attempts to explain why chivalric stories are so bad for the mind and suggests that Don Quixote stop reading about fictional heroes and instead learn about great men in history. Don Quixote counters that many of those heroes were actual historical figures, which the cathedral priest acknowledges before pointing out their stories were greatly embellished.

Analysis

Sancho Panza is having a difficult time discerning what is real and what is the product of Don Quixote's imagination. He swears his master isn't enchanted, yet he's angry at Pero Perez for dismantling his hopes for wealth and status. When it comes to money and power, Sancho Panza is willing to throw his realism out the window in favor of Don Quixote's idealistic promises.

The cathedral priest and Pero Perez, both realists, have stringent views about literature. They agree that fictional works should adhere as close to reality as possible so as not to confuse the "ignorant masses" who "take their nonsense as truth and reality." Pero Perez even suggests that texts be reviewed for both writing style and story quality by a member of the court. Their ideal version of literature would do away with fantastical characters and scenarios. This falls in line with the narrator's viewpoints but not necessarily those of Cervantes. Cervantes was very careful to toe the Catholic Church's party line to ensure that Don Quixote made it past the Inquisition censors. Any explicit disagreement with what the Church thought to be right and proper was a one-way ticket to the trash bin.

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