Literature Study GuidesDon QuixotePart 2 Chapters 45 48 Summary

Don Quixote | Study Guide

Miguel de Cervantes

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Don Quixote | Part 2, Chapters 45–48 | Summary

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Summary

Part 2, Chapter 45

Sancho Panza is welcomed to one of the Duke's cities, which he is told is called Barataria Island (though it isn't actually an island at all). He's greeted by its residents and taken to the court where he hears complaints from the locals. Surprisingly, Sancho Panza is a wise and just ruler, which impresses his new constituents.

Part 2, Chapter 46

Don Quixote finds Altisidora in a swoon and tells her friend to have a lute delivered to his bedroom. That night, he performs a song about how maidens can remain modest and about his undying love for Dulcinea del Toboso. At the end of the song, a long rope covered in bells is dropped from the top of the castle, followed by a herd of cats with bells on their tails. Some of the cats get into Don Quixote's room and mayhem ensues. He assumes it's the trickery of a wizard, not the Duke and Duchess who come to his rescue when a particularly angry cat latches onto Don Quixote's face. They feel bad that their prank ended so badly—they never meant to hurt him.

Part 2, Chapter 47

Sancho Panza sits down to lunch in his new palace, but the resident doctor won't let him eat a single bite. Livid, Sancho Panza sends the doctor away just as a message arrives from the Duke alerting him about an imminent attack on the city by some of the Duke's enemies. Sancho Panza begs for something to eat—preferably not poisoned by his newfound foes—and a con artist arrives to ask him for money. Sancho Panza sees through his deceitful tale and expels him from the building.

Part 2, Chapter 48

Doña Rodríguez visits Don Quixote in the middle of the night to request his assistance. She tells him about her late husband and their beautiful daughter who has been seduced and then cast aside by a local farmer. The Duke, who borrows money from the farmer, won't do anything about it, and she needs Don Quixote's help in forcing the farmer to marry her daughter.

The door to Don Quixote's room bursts open and the candles are extinguished. An unknown figure chokes Doña Rodríguez, then whips her before violently pinching Don Quixote over and over again. Doña Rodríguez leaves after the 30-minute assault, and Don Quixote tries to figure out what happened.

Analysis

Sancho Panza is full of surprises once he becomes governor of Barataria Island. He proves himself to be a good ruler, relying on common sense, which he has in spades, over book sense, of which he has practically none. He also turns out to be a good judge of character, easily identifying con men and liars. Sancho Panza's governorship is Cervantes's way of showing that common men are often more suited to rule than those who are noble by birth. They are more moral and more in touch with "regular" people, and their experiences are more in line with the people they govern. Cervantes would rather see leaders like Sancho Panza in Spanish society than the spoiled do-nothings who are easily bribed and kowtow to the wishes of the Church.

Sancho Panza's sudden show of common sense begs the question of why he has allowed himself to be taken in by the Duke and the Duchess, and, for that matter, Don Quixote. He knows and trusts Don Quixote, who doesn't have a malicious bone in his body. The same can't be said for the Duke and the Duchess. Their humiliating pranks stop just short of someone getting hurt, and they think of no one but themselves. They can successfully pull the wool over Sancho Panza's eyes only because they have exactly what he wants: money, power, and social status. Once again, Sancho Panza's greed is blinding him to the obvious realities of his situation.

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