Study Guide

Don Quixote Loyalty

By Miguel de Cervantes Saavedra

Loyalty

This chimera disturbed him, as if it had been a real truth; so that he began to be mightily perplexed, reflecting on the danger to which his honour was exposed. But at last his virtue overcame the powerful temptation. (1.3.1.4)

While staying at an inn, Don Quixote thinks that a woman is sneaking into his bed to tempt him into having sex with her. But he is so loyal to his Dulcinea that he resists. The truth is that the woman is actually trying to sneak into someone else's bed, but you still have to give Don Quixote kudos for resisting.

[Sancho] was very uneasy at hearing that knights-errant were out of fashion, and books of chivalry full of nothing but folly and fiction; he resolved, however (in spite of all their contempt of chivalry) still to stick by his master. (1.4.5.3)

At several times in this book, Sancho suspects that his master might be eccentric. But nonetheless, Sancho has made a commitment to stand by Don Quixote through thick and thin, and it's a passage like this that reminds us of his loyalty.

"[And] if, as I am confident she will, she be able to resist so agreeable a temptation, I shall think myself the most happy man in the world." (1.4.6.4)

When Anselmo asks his buddy Lothario to try to seduce his wife, he thinks he'll be the happiest man in the world when his wife proves her loyalty to him. The problem, though, is that when his wife says no to Lothario, Anselmo thinks that Lothario just isn't trying hard enough. So there's basically no way Anselmo will ever be satisfied about his wife's loyalty. It could be that loyalty is something you just can't test. It proves itself naturally, on its own.

"[A] child may persuade him it is night at noonday, and he is so simple, that I cannot help loving him with all my heart and soul, and cannot leave him in spite of all his follies." (2.1.13.2)

In this comment, Sancho reveals that he knows full well that his master is half-crazy. But for all that, he swears that he will stand by him. Whether he swears this because he still thinks he can make money off the crazy old man is yet to be seen. The point here is that Sancho sticks with his master even after he's got evidence that the old Don isn't running on all four burners.

"He pays me very well, he has given me three colts, and I am so very true and trusty to him, that nothing but death can part us." (2.1.33.3)

Sancho again affirms his loyalty to Don Quixote. But in this case, he includes Don Quixote's gift of three horses as part of the reason behind his loyalty. Usually, you might not think of loyalty as something that can be bought. But Sancho thinks of it as something that can be both bought and earned through love.

"The divine Tobosan, fair/ Dulcinea, claims me whole;/ Nothing can her image tear; 'Tis one substance with my soul." (2.1.46.2)

Whenever he is tempted sexually, Don Quixote shows his loyalty to his beloved Dulcinea. It's an admirable way to behave, but especially admirable when you consider that Dulcinea doesn't even exist. Is it ever worthwhile to be loyal to an ideal, even if there's no hope for any kind of real reward? Would Don Quixote be better off or happier if he, ahem, got around a bit more?

"Whoever says that Don Quixote de la Mancha has forgot, or can forget, Dulcinea del Toboso, I will make him know with equal arms that he departs wholly from the truth; for the peerless Dulcinea del Toboso cannot be forgotten." (2.1.59.5)

Don Quixote is sickened to overhear two men talking about the fake sequel of Don Quixote, which claims that Don Quixote fell out of love with Dulcinea del Toboso. This angers the Don so much that he offers to fight anyone who would say such a terrible thing.

"I am positively convinced […] nor shall any man in the world ever persuade me to the contrary; and he is a blockhead who says, that great villain Mr Elisabat never lay with Queen Madasima." (1.3.10.7)

Cardenio has been betrayed by the woman he loves most—Lucinda. So you can see why the guy would be bitter toward classic stories that talk about women's virtue and loyalty toward their lovers. In this case, he cites a classic instance from an adventure story and says that the virtuous female character was definitely cheating on her husband. This would seem to show that fiction and reality don't match up—though we should keep in mind that Lucinda turns out to be faithful, after all, and she and Cardenio live, as far as we know, happily ever after.

"Thou hast nothing to do with my poor beast [Dapple], without whom I cannot enjoy a moment's ease." (1.4.3.4)

Loyalty doesn't only exist between humans in this book. Sancho feels a loyalty toward his donkey Dapple that may be stronger than his loyalty to Don Quixote. Whenever Dapple runs into danger, Sancho worries about him as though Dapple were Sancho's favorite child.

"Now I can never so much esteem her, who owes her virtue merely to fear or want of opportunity for being false, as I would one who victoriously surmounts all the assaults of a vigorous and watchful lover." (1.4.6.4)

Anselmo values his wife's sexual loyalty more than anything. But he feels that loyalty that has never been tested isn't really worth much. That's why he hatches a plan to tempt his wife as much as possible. It's only by proving her loyalty in the face of seduction that the woman will be able to satisfy Anselmo. This doesn't play out well for him. Why do you think that is? Do you think Anselmo's wife would have been loyal if her husband hadn't sent Lothario to seduce her?