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Don Quixote | Study Guide

Miguel de Cervantes

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Don Quixote | Part 2, Chapters 5–7 | Summary

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Summary

Part 2, Chapter 5

Sancho Panza goes home to talk to his wife. He tells her he's ready to go on Don Quixote's next adventure and promises to return home with a governorship that will boost the family's social status. Teresa (who is referred to as Juanita in Part 1) doesn't want to join the nobility no matter how successful Sancho Panza is—she knows how people talk about those who aren't born into a title. They still disagree at the argument's end, but Teresa knows she can't do anything to stop her husband from dreaming so wildly.

Part 2, Chapter 6

Don Quixote's niece and housekeeper figure out that the Don is readying himself for another adventure. His niece points out that he can't really be a knight because he's poor. Don Quixote gives a long speech about the different ways a man's status can change, finally summarizing that to gain honors and wealth a man has a choice of "two roads ... one is learning, and the other is war." The Don is a man of war and "virtually compelled" to follow the path of knight-errantry.

Part 2, Chapter 7

Don Quixote's housekeeper arranges for Samson Carrasco to come to the house to talk her employer out of his next adventure. Meanwhile, Sancho Panza returns to Don Quixote's house and tells him he can no longer be his squire if the matter of salary isn't settled. The Don balks at this, pointing out that there isn't "one single precedent anywhere in all the histories of knight-errantry," and he won't be the first to "push over ancient rules and customs." It's fine with him if Sancho Panza won't go—there are many other, better men who would be happy to serve as squire, including Samson, who has just arrived. Sancho Panza begs for his job back and promises not to ask about money anymore. The men arrange to leave in three days' time.

The housekeeper and Don Quixote's niece are livid with Samson for not following through on his promise, but he, in cahoots with Pero Perez and Master Nicolas, has a plan.

Analysis

Cervantes uses the eve of Don Quixote's next adventure to explore the theme of class. Sancho Panza's wife and Don Quixote's niece both think the men are acting above their station in life when, at their core, they are still relatively poor people who would never fit in with the noble class. Teresa's caution of "[d]on't try to be more than you really are" speaks to both her concern about her husband's welfare and her understanding that a person doesn't change just because he gains a little power. This ties in with Cervantes's larger theme of class, most notably that members of the upper class and ruling elite are lazy and cruel. Teresa can't understand why her husband would want to associate with people like that.

The question of how a person can achieve power is also debated in this section. Teresa and Don Quixote's niece think that you must be born into the upper class, but Don Quixote and Sancho Panza both believe that a man can be whoever he wants to be. The Don in particular believes that honor and virtue are just as important as wealth when it comes to the real upper class. This could be true in a perfect world, but Don Quixote's world is less than perfect. As the reader will come to learn in Part 2, the upper class actually have less honor and virtue than their poverty-stricken counterparts.

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