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Don Quixote | Study Guide

Miguel de Cervantes

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Don Quixote | Part 2, Chapters 8–10 | Summary

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Summary

Part 2, Chapter 8

Don Quixote and Sancho Panza are back on the road, headed toward Toboso so the Don can get Dulcinea del Toboso's blessing before embarking on his next round of adventures. The Don is anxious to arrive and see her; Sancho Panza hopes they never get there lest his lies about meeting her weeks ago be brought to light.

Part 2, Chapter 9

Sancho Panza and Don Quixote arrive in Toboso in the middle of the night. When Sancho Panza asks why his master can't find Dulcinea's home after seeing it "millions and millions of times," the Don replies that he hasn't ever actually seen Dulcinea—he's just heard of her beauty and intelligence. Sancho Panza hastily devises a plan that sends Don Quixote out of the city so he has time to figure out what to do next.

Part 2, Chapter 10

Sancho Panza decides to bring back to Don Quixote the first peasant girl he sees. If Don Quixote is disgusted by her, Sancho Panza will just blame it on the evil magician the Don thinks has been plaguing them the whole time. His plan works. The Don rues "how passionately these magicians hate" him, and the girl he mistook for Dulcinea rides away as far and fast as she can.

Analysis

Don Quixote claims that he has never seen Dulcinea, only having heard of her beauty and her virtue, yet in Part 1 he told Sancho Panza that he has seen her four times. The real Aldonza Lorenzo is growing hazier in his mind as the image of the fictional Dulcinea del Toboso grows stronger, a testament to the power of his imagination to overtake his memories of his previous life. The longer Don Quixote maintains his role as a knight-errant, the more his idealistic fantasies become his reality.

Sancho Panza has finally figured out his master is crazy, but he hasn't yet realized that this entire adventure is a fool's errand. His desire for money and power overrules rational thought, even provoking him to once again lie to his master about Dulcinea.

The reader purposefully never meets Dulcinea. As in the chivalric romances Cervantes is satirizing, the purpose of the heroine is to give the hero a target for his affections. It doesn't matter what she looks like or thinks or says; all that matters is that she exists, even if only in delusion. Dulcinea remains a perfect specimen of virtue and femininity to Don Quixote because he never actually interacts with her. It is probably better that way, as no real woman would be able to live up to his impossibly high expectations.

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