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Don Quixote | Study Guide

Miguel de Cervantes

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Don Quixote | Part 2, Chapters 71–72 | Summary

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Summary

Part 2, Chapter 71

Don Quixote promises to pay Sancho Panza for finishing the 3,295 lashes necessary to restore Dulcinea del Toboso to her proper form. Sancho gets through about a dozen before hiding himself in the trees and lashing at them instead, sighing every once in awhile for Don Quixote's benefit.

They arrive at an inn, which Don Quixote recognizes as such, and decide to go home in two days. Sancho Panza vows to finish his lashings before they get there.

Part 2, Chapter 72

Don Quixote and Sancho Panza meet Don Alvaro Tarfe, who in the false account of their exploits was said to be great friends with both master and squire. They get him to sign an affidavit that says they are not the men depicted in that book, as he has never met them in his life.

Master and squire head for home, stopping during the evening so that Sancho Panza can whip the trees instead of his own shoulders. He finishes the task, and they arrive at their village.

Analysis

Don Quixote's insanity seems to be wearing off, for he no longer sees castles where only an inn stands. His loss of faith in his knighthood seems to be bringing him back to reality. That's not a place Don Quixote wants to be, which accounts for the increasingly somber mood of the final chapters of the novel. Perhaps Don Antonio was right—it may be better, for Don Quixote's sake, to allow him to maintain his delusions of knighthood.

Just as Don Quixote is returning to his former self as they close in on home, Sancho Panza, too, begins to resemble the Sancho of old. He has completely forgotten those first days out of office when he refused Ricote's offer of $200 for helping him find treasure, and his insatiable greed once again trumps his loyalty to his master. He doesn't feel bad about his deception at all, and actually considers himself rather clever. Where once Sancho Panza's lies were funny to the reader, his decision to con Don Quixote out of $800 comes across as crass and disloyal. At this point in the novel, the reader feels very protective of Don Quixote and sympathetic to his plight. Sancho Panza seems just as bad as everyone else who has taken advantage of the delusional knight. His greed is all the more unflattering because he, like the reader, senses that Don Quixote's journey will not end happily.

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