Literature Study GuidesDon QuixotePart 2 Chapters 14 15 Summary

Don Quixote | Study Guide

Miguel de Cervantes

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Don Quixote | Part 2, Chapters 14–15 | Summary

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Summary

Part 2, Chapter 14

Much to Don Quixote's surprise, the Knight of Mirrors boasts that he has already vanquished the famous Don Quixote. Don Quixote assumes that a magician is playing another trick, and he and the Knight of Mirrors agree to battle at daybreak with the stipulation that the loser fully place his fate in the hands of the winner. Sheer dumb luck and bad timing result in Don Quixote knocking the other knight off his horse. The unconscious knight's visor is lifted to reveal none other than Samson Carrasco, the scholar. His squire confirms his identity, and Sancho Panza realizes that the squire is his neighbor and friend, Tomé Cecial.

Don Quixote, of course, immediately decides the Knight of the Mirrors's resemblance to Samson Carrasco is the work of a magician. Sancho Panza is persuaded to agree and decides the other squire isn't Tomé Cecial after all. He and Don Quixote head for Zaragoza.

Part 2, Chapter 15

Samson Carrasco, Pero Perez, and Master Nicolas had come up with the idea for Samson to pose as a knight-errant, defeat Don Quixote, and make him promise to stay at home for a few years per the agreement of the loser to do whatever the winner wishes.

After the surprising defeat, Tomé Cecial wonders who is more insane: the madman, "who can't help himself, or the one who's crazy of his own free will?" Samson responds that someone who cannot avoid being crazy will remain crazy, and "he who chooses to seem mad can walk away from it whenever he wants." Tomé decides to go home, but Samson wants revenge.

Analysis

Like Andrés in Part 1, Samson Carrasco goes from thinking Don Quixote is a (somewhat deluded) hero to wanting revenge against the man who hurt him. He is surprised that he was defeated so easily and that his carefully constructed plan was ripped apart in seconds by a madman. Sanity and smarts aren't always predictors of success, and when Don Quixote is involved, madness generally rules the day. That's because Don Quixote wholeheartedly believes in his knighthood. He has willed himself to become what he most wants to be, but his desire for honor once again leads to the harm of someone else.

Sancho Panza, for his part, isn't as sane as he claims to be. Though he can easily see that the other squire is his friend and neighbor, he finally agrees that he and his master are victims of another enchantment. The difference between Sancho Panza and Don Quixote is greed. Sancho Panza consciously chooses to go along with his master's unbelievable ideas because he's afraid of what he would lose if Don Quixote had been right all along.

Pero Perez and Master Nicolas continue to fight fire with fire, creating fanciful stories in hope that Don Quixote will be lured back home. This time their plan isn't a success. They severely underestimate Don Quixote because they are unable to look past his delusions. They do not see the strong, intelligent man underneath the shoddy armor. This immediate dismissal of a man based on his exterior parallels Cervantes's feelings about religious and racial intolerance in the Church.

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