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Don Quixote | Study Guide

Miguel de Cervantes

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Don Quixote | Part 2, Chapters 52–55 | Summary

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Summary

Part 2, Chapter 52

Don Quixote is eager to leave the Duke and Duchess's castle and get back to the life of a true knight-errant. Before he can leave, however, Doña Rodríguez approaches him once more, this time dressed in full mourning, and pleads with him to challenge the farmer who refuses to marry her daughter. Don Quixote agrees, noting that he is temporarily revoking his noble status to fight a common man.

The page returns with letters from Teresa Panza for the Duchess and Sancho Panza. Teresa wants to come to Court and show off, making her husband even more well known than he already is. Sancho Panza's letter to Don Quixote arrives, and it, too, is read aloud.

Part 2, Chapter 53

Sancho Panza is awakened in the middle of the night to sounds of war. He's roused from his bed, sandwiched between two shields, and is handed a lance. He tips over and spends the entirety of the fake battle hiding between the shields as he's trampled by pranksters. Upon being told that the enemy has been vanquished, he dresses himself and goes to the stables to get his donkey. He's done governing because, as he says, "each of us should do the work we were born to do." He heads back to the Duke and Duchess's castle, leaving truly remorseful constituents in his wake.

Part 2, Chapter 54

Don Quixote prepares for battle against the farmer, not realizing that the Duke and Duchess have arranged for one of their footmen to take his place. Sancho Panza, meanwhile, meets an old friend on the road. Ricote the Moor was a neighbor of Sancho's before the king forced all the Moors to leave Spain. Ricote, disguised as a German pilgrim, desperately wants to return to Spain with his family. He asks Sancho Panza to help him find the treasure he buried before he left the country, promising $200 for Sancho's troubles. Sancho Panza passes on the opportunity, keen to get back to Don Quixote.

Part 2, Chapter 55

Sancho Panza is almost back to the castle when night falls. He and his donkey tumble into a 20-foot-deep hole. Sancho finds an opening in the stone walls and walks and walks until he sees light. Above ground, Don Quixote, practicing his battle tactics, hears Sancho's call. Sancho Panza and the donkey are pulled out of the cave, and Sancho explains to the Duke and Duchess why his governorship was so brief. He is promised a less strenuous post on the estate.

Analysis

As Sancho Panza's dreams of ruling a city disappeared, so did his thirst for wealth. Prior to his governorship, he may have very well abandoned Don Quixote for an offer like the one Ricote makes him. Two hundred dollars is more money than Sancho has seen in a long time, and while he's not as loyal to his former neighbor as he is to Don Quixote, he still considers him a friend. This time, though, his friendship with Don Quixote is more important than any amount of money.

Sancho Panza's decision also reflects the tension in Spain during the time of the Inquisition. The Inquisition was a government body tasked with identifying and punishing people who didn't practice Catholicism. Ricote and his family are Muslim, which is why they were evicted from Spain. Cervantes would have had a major problem with the Inquisition and Church censors if Sancho Panza had agreed to help his former neighbor, as it would have been interpreted as heresy.

Sancho Panza becomes a bumbling fool once again as soon as he leaves Barataria Island. No longer confident and sure-footed, he literally finds himself in a hole just hours after leaving the safety of his noble position. He is lost, both literally and figuratively, without his master. Back at the Duke and Duchess's castle, Don Quixote seems lost as well. They are far happier when they are together, just as the donkey and Rocinante are loathe to be apart. Don Quixote's name is in the title of the book, but it is Sancho Panza's partnership that makes the Don's exploits worth telling.

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