Literature Study GuidesDon QuixotePart 1 Chapters 50 52 Summary

Don Quixote | Study Guide

Miguel de Cervantes

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Don Quixote | Part 1, Chapters 50–52 | Summary

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Summary

Part 1, Chapter 50

Don Quixote argues that chivalric stories are so greatly detailed that they must be true. He spins an intricate tale of his own and encourages the cathedral priest to give such stories a second chance. Then they discuss Sancho Panza's forthcoming inheritance. A goat breaks through the bushes, followed by a goatherd who offers to tell them a story.

Part 1, Chapter 51

Like many of the men in his town, the goatherd Eugenio was in love with a woman named Leandra. Her wealthy father allows her to choose her own husband, and she picks Vicente de la Rosa, a recently returned soldier with many accolades. They run away together. She is found three days later stripped of her money, jewelry, and clothing, yet she swears her "most precious jewel" remains. Distressed by Leandra's actions, Eugenio and another suitor leave town and establish their own flocks. Eugenio's heart is forever hardened toward women.

Part 1, Chapter 52

Don Quixote laments that his prior obligations keep him from helping Eugenio find Leandra, then gets into a huge brawl with the young man when his knighthood is questioned. They are both bloody and battered, and Sancho Panza suggests that Don Quixote gets back into the ox cart so they can go home and rest before their next adventure. They arrive home six days later. Pero Perez makes Don Quixote's niece promise to keep a better eye on him this time, and Sancho Panza assures his wife there are great things in store for them.

The end of Part 1 alludes to a lost third adventure, and Don Quixote's eventual death is celebrated with humorous epitaphs and sonnets.

Analysis

Eugenio's story is another example of how Cervantes viewed the nature of love. Like several of the love stories told throughout Don Quixote, men become besotted with a beautiful and virtuous woman who wants nothing to do with them, which results in the hardening of the men's hearts to all women. Eugenio says women are fickle, inconstant double-dealers who break promises made in good faith that they can't and won't keep. Yet his experiences mirror those of Dorotea, who fell in love with a man who could be considered a fickle, inconstant double-dealer. Cervantes does not view men or women, but rather love itself, as the enemy for consuming people and spurring them to do crazy things.

Sancho Panza goes through a transformation during these last three chapters of Part 1. Initially, he is angry that Don Quixote is being sent home because it means that he himself will not profit from the Don's assignment from Princess Micomicona. Eugenio's appearance, however, shows that Sancho Panza's loyalty to his master trumps his greed. After seeing Don Quixote fight the young goatherd, Sancho Panza realizes that it would be best if Don Quixote was brought home to recuperate. His motives are different than those of Pero Perez and Master Nicolas. He doesn't think Don Quixote is crazy; he's simply worried about his friend's well-being. That, to Sancho Panza, is more important than money or power.

Cervantes's allusion to a third adventure led to more trouble than he expected. Don Quixote became very popular during the decade after its publication, and another author (or authors) capitalized on that success, publishing Second Book of the Ingenious Knight of Don Quixote of La Mancha anonymously in 1614. This work is now attributed to Alonso Fernández de Avellaneda, which is most likely a pseudonym. At the time of its publication, Cervantes was in the middle of his own sequel about the lunatic knight and his idiot squire. When the "real" sequel was published, Cervantes made sure to include some harsh words for this "false Quixote."

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