Study Guide

Don Quixote Part 2 (Chapters 41-50)

By Miguel de Cervantes Saavedra

Part 2 (Chapters 41-50)

Part 2, Book 1, Chapter 41

  • Eventually, the night comes. Don Quixote gets impatient for the arrival of the wooden horse that's supposed to take him to Malambruno.
  • Eventually the horse shows up. Don Quixote and Sancho get up on it, and the Countess tells them that they'll have to blindfold themselves while they're riding through the air, because the shock of seeing the world from such a high place might cause them brain damage.
  • So Don Quixote and Sancho are blindfolded and put on the horse. The Duke and Duchess then get people to lift the horse off the ground, and they and get other people to use fans to blow air in Don Quixote and Sancho's faces so that they'll think they're flying through the air.
  • When the Duke and Duchess have had enough of watching Don Quixote and Sancho on the wooden horse, they get the servants to light the back of the horse on fire. It turns out that the horse is also stuffed with firecrackers.
  • Meanwhile, the Countess and her maidens run away, and the Duke, Duchess, and the rest of their servants lie on the ground as if they're unconscious.
  • Don Quixote and Sancho are thrown off the horse by the explosion. Both hurt themselves pretty badly. But eventually, they get up and look around, stunned to find themselves still at the Duke's place with everyone lying on the ground as if they're dead.
  • Don Quixote and Sancho see a lance stuck in the ground with a piece of white paper furled around it. The paper says that Don Quixote's bravery in agreeing to fight the giant Malambruno is enough to satisfy the giant. The maidens have all lost their beards and the young prince and princess are restored to their former selves.
  • The note closes by saying, "And don't forget about those 3,300 lashes, Sancho."
  • The Don runs over to the Duke, rouses him, and says there's no longer any need to be afraid.
  • The Duchess pretends to wake up, too, and asks Sancho how his adventure went. Sancho says it was amazing. He also lies about taking off his blindfold during his journey and seeing the Earth as if it were as small as a mustard seed. Of course, everyone knows that he's telling tall tales.
  • Sancho also makes up a weird story about playing with seven space-goats while he was up in the sky. Whatever you say, Sancho.
  • Don Quixote closes the chapter by telling Sancho that if he wants his space-goat story to be believed, then he needs to believe Don Quixote's story about what he saw in Montesinos's cave.

Part 2, Book 1, Chapter 42

  • Now that the wooden horse adventure is over, the Duke decides to finally give Sancho his governorship over an "island." So he tells his servants to prepare to escort Sancho to his new job.
  • Sancho is super pumped that his day has finally arrived. Before he leaves, though, Don Quixote wants to sit him down and give him some worthwhile advice about how to govern.
  • Don Quixote then goes on a long rant about how Sancho needs to be humble, virtuous, and blah blah blah. Sancho tells Don Quixote he can't possibly remember so much advice, and it doesn't matter if the guy writes it all down, since Sancho can't read.

Part 2, Book 1, Chapter 43

  • Don Quixote continues with his advice but starts to get more and more specific about how Sancho should act. He even tells Sancho how to cut and clean his nails properly to look like a good governor. He also tells Sancho not to belch; but Sancho complains that his body loves to belch.
  • Oh yeah, and Sancho should get around to learning to read if he's going to be a governor.
  • Don Quixote closes his advice by getting meaner and meaner. He tells Sancho that he could get the Duke to immediately take back his island if he (Don Quixote) told the governor the truth about Sancho's incompetence.
  • Sancho says that if Don Quixote doesn't think he's fit to govern, he should say so to the Duke.
  • Don Quixote considers this response a very good one, and says that he truly thinks Sancho is ready to govern now that he has some solid confidence.

Part 2, Book 1, Chapter 44

  • Don Quixote writes down his advice to Sancho so that Sancho can get someone to read the advice to him once he's surrounded by servants.
  • Sancho, of course, drops the note. And the Duke picks it up later. He's amazed at how Don Quixote has such good sense when it comes to anything other than knight-errantry.
  • It turns out that the guy who's in charge of leading Sancho to his new post is the guy who played the Countess Trifaldi. Sancho recognizes his voice and tells Don Quixote. The Don doesn't totally believe him but tells Sancho to keep him posted on what he finds out.
  • And with that, Sancho sets off for his new kingdom with the Duke's servants.
  • Now that Sancho's gone, the Duke and Duchess want to offer Don Quixote some nice young women to be his servants and to dress him for bed. But he says he doesn't want any servants, for fear that he'll be tempted to cheat on his beloved Dulcinea.
  • With that, Don Quixote retreats to his bedroom and gives himself over to depressing thoughts.
  • As night comes on, it's too hot to sleep. So Don Quixote goes over to his window and looks outside, realizing that two people are talking in the garden.
  • The two people are women named Emerina and Altisidora. They basically know that Don Quixote is listening in on them. Altisidora pretends that she's dying with heartbreak because she's in love with the great Don Quixote.
  • Altisidora then takes out a lute-guitar and starts playing songs that she's written about her love for the Don.
  • Don Quixote listens to the beautiful girl's song and curses himself for being so attractive that every woman he meets falls in love with him. But he remains committed to Dulcinea and vows never to break his loyalty to her.

Part 2, Book 1, Chapter 45

  • The narrator brings us back to Sancho now, telling us about his arrival at the "island" of Barataria, which doesn't actually exist. It turns out that Sancho has been given the government of a town and told that it's an island.
  • People start calling Sancho "Don" because of his new rank. But Sancho says he has no time for this foolishness. Let his government speak for itself. He doesn't care about fancy titles and all that.
  • The first thing Sancho is supposed to do as governor is to act as judge over various cases that the townspeople bring to him.
  • The first two who come in are a tailor and a farmer. The farmer gave the tailor a certain amount of material to work with to make a hat. But he knew he gave the tailor a little more than he needed. And since he doesn't trust the tailor, he asked him to agree to make him two—no, three—no six hats with the material he'd given him.
  • The tailor, sensing the guy's distrust, said that none of this would be a problem. A few days later, he showed the guy six mini hats that would never fit on a person's head. The farmer says he wants money for the wasted material, while the tailor tells Sancho he was only doing what he was instructed to do.
  • Sancho decides that both of the guys are being jerks and says that neither of them is going to get anything. The farmer loses his cloth, and the tailor doesn't get paid for his work. People are impressed by Sancho's judgment.
  • Sancho continues to pass judgment on various other cases, all in a way that totally impresses the people around him. They expected the guy to be a total buffoon, but he's actually pretty wise in his own practical way.

Part 2, Book 1, Chapter 46

  • Plagued by Altisidora's love songs, the Don throws himself onto his bed. He barely sleeps at all.
  • At the break of day, he gets nicely dressed and greets the Duke and Duchess in one of the castle's main rooms.
  • As he walks through a hallway, he spies Altisidora, who pretends to throw a fainting spell at the sight of him.
  • Altisidora and her accomplice go to tell the Duchess what they've been up to. The Duchess wants in on the gag. Meanwhile, she also sends someone to find Sancho Panza's wife Teresa and deliver a letter to her.
  • When Don Quixote returns to his bedroom later that night, he finds a lute waiting for him on his bed. He picks it up, opens his window, and starts singing toward someone he sees out in the garden. He plays a song about how he'll never betray his loyalty to his beloved Dulcinea, so the young maiden Altisidora should stop trying to court him.
  • When Don Quixote is finished, the pranksters let down a rope with a hundred tinkling bells hanging from it outside his window. After that, they shower him with a bunch of cats, which they pour out of a huge sack.
  • Two cats get so scared by their fall (and by the tinkling bells) that they leap into Don Quixote's room and start running around like maniacs. Eventually, though, they realize that there's no way out of the room besides the window. They try to jump through it, but one lands right on Don Quixote's face and scratches him brutally. The attack is so bad that Don Quixote needs to stay in bed for five days afterwards. The Duke and Duchess actually feel pretty bad about how this one plays out.

Part 2, Book 1, Chapter 47

  • The narrator brings us back to Sancho Panza, who's still enjoying a position as governor of the "island" of Barataria.
  • After a long day of judging, Sancho is overjoyed to sit down at a huge dinner table. There's some nice music playing. Standing beside him is his official doctor, or physician.
  • The problem is that every time Sancho is ready to take a bite out of one of the beautiful meals, the doctor tells him that as governor, he's not allowed to have that dish because he has to stay in good shape. One by one, sumptuous dishes are brought before Sancho and then taken away.
  • Eventually, the doctor allows Sancho to eat a very unsatisfying meal of berries and a few other measly bits of food.
  • Sancho gets upset and tells the doctor to go away.
  • At this point, an important message from the Duke arrives. One of his stewards reads the note and tells Sancho he should only read it to him privately.
  • It sounds like there is a big conspiracy to murder Sancho, but the conspirators could be anybody, even Sancho's closest servants.
  • This, of course, is all a big trick by the Duke and the servants. But Sancho is already starting to think that being a governor is way more trouble than it's worth. He just wants to ride around on his mule and eat whatever he wants. He can't be bothered with assassination attempts and doctors telling him what to eat.
  • At this point, Sancho is finally going to eat when in jumps a dude who claims to have important business to discuss. Sancho wonders if he'll ever be able to eat at this rate.
  • Basically, the guy wants Sancho to give him 300 or 600 ducats (a type of money) to send his son to university. Sancho gets mad and says he's not a charity. He boots the guy out.

Part 2, Book 1, Chapter 48

  • We return to Don Quixote, who's still recovering from his cat scratches. As he lies in bed one night with his face all wrapped up, he senses someone opening his bedroom door. He decides it must be the young Altisidora trying to make an attempt on his chastity and yells out for her to go away.
  • A woman enters, and when she sees his face, she drops her candle and makes the room completely dark.
  • The lady then tells Don Quixote that she is actually the lady-in-waiting, Doña Rodriguez. She says that she has encountered some misfortunes that she hopes the Don might be able to make right for her.
  • Doña Rodriguez gives the Don a rundown of her life, of how she was born into a good family but had to become a high-ranking servant when her parents both died.
  • As a servant, Doña Rodriguez met and married a man and had a daughter with him. Shortly after the daughter's birth, though, the father died.
  • In any case, a rich farmer's son fell in love with the Doña's daughter and convinced her to have sex with him after promising to marry her (that old trick again). Doña Rodriguez wants to force the young man to make good on his promise, but the boy's father lends a lot of money to the Duke, and the Duke won't allow Doña Rodriguez to mess with this kid or his father in any way.
  • So that's that. Doña Rodriguez wants Don Quixote to force this young man to make good on his promise to her daughter.
  • Doña Rodriguez then starts talking some smack about Altisidora and the Duchess. But before she can go on for long, the door of Don Quixote's bedroom flies open, and Doña Rodriguez lets her candle drop again.
  • Someone grabs Doña Rodriguez by the throat and starts spanking her with a slipper. Don Quixote feels bad about what's happening but won't get out of bed to stop it. Jerk.
  • Next, the assailants (for there seems to be more than one) come to Don Quixote's bed and start pinching him unmercifully.
  • Don Quixote tries to fight back, and the battle rages on for nearly half an hour before the attackers flee.

Part 2, Book 1, Chapter 49

  • We return to the story of Sancho Panza, who still isn't getting much of a chance to enjoy his role as governor of the fictional island of Barataria.
  • Sancho says he's not willing to meet with any more of his subjects for the rest of the night.
  • Sancho waits until his next meal before he gets a chance to eat. When he finally does, he feels a lot less cranky.
  • Next, Sancho has to go out with the night watchmen and make the "rounds" of the city, which is to say that he goes on patrol with the cops.
  • As they walk, they come upon two dudes fighting in the street. One shouts that he's being robbed by the other. Sancho demands to know the cause of the fight.
  • One guy says that he has been giving good advice the entire night to the other guy, who has used this advice to make a lot of money at one of the nearby gambling houses. Now traditionally, the second guy would give the first guy a nice chunk of money for all his good advice. But in this case, the second guy has been a cheapskate. In other words, they're arguing over the fact that the second guy is a bad tipper.
  • The second guy says he only gave the first guy a tiny bit of money because he's given him a bunch of money in the past as well.
  • Sancho orders the second guy to give the first guy a ton of his winnings, but then he tells the second guy to take this money and leave the town immediately and never return, because the guy is basically jobless, and Sancho has no time for people who can't contribute to his town.
  • Sancho remarks that he'd gladly shut down all the gaming houses in the town if they weren't owned by wealthy Lords.
  • Next, a soldier comes up to Sancho holding a boy by the arm. He claims that the boy bolted when he saw the soldier.
  • Sancho demands that the boy tell him what he's been doing wandering the streets at night. The boy gives him some saucy backtalk that annoys him, though.
  • Eventually, the boy says a few clever things that amuse Sancho, so Sancho lets him go.
  • A few more officers bring Sancho a young woman who is dressed up like a man. She is actually a very beautiful young lady who is nearly sixteen years old.
  • The young lady claims that she is the daughter of a rich farmer who never lets her out of the house to go see the world. He knows how beautiful she is and wants to keep her away from the eyes of lusty men. But she doesn't want to spend her life cooped up in a house, so with the help of her brother, she broke out to explore the town. Sancho lets her go to do more exploring and basically tells her not to get caught by her dad when she returns home.
  • During these conversations, the dude who's serving as Sancho's right-hand man falls in love with the young lady and resolves to marry her somehow. Meanwhile, Sancho has already begun to think about marrying this same man to his daughter, Sanchica.
  • But the narrator ends the chapter by saying that Sancho's government wouldn't last long enough for Sancho to marry off his daughter. And that's what they call foreshadowing.

Part 2, Book 1, Chapter 50

  • At the beginning of this chapter, we learn that is was actually the Duchess and Altisidora who attacked Don Quixote and Doña Rodriguez the previous night. After all, they were the ones Donna was smack-talking to Don Quixote, and they overheard her when they listened at the door.
  • By this time, we also get to follow the young servant whom the Duke has sent to Teresa Panza, Sancho's wife.
  • The young man finds three young maidens when he first reaches Sancho Panza's village and asks for Teresa. One of the girls says that Teresa is her mother. She eagerly leads the young man to her mother, calling out that there has been news from him.
  • When the young man gives Teresa Sancho's letter, along with a coral necklace and a fine suit of clothes to make into a dress for Sanchica (his daughter), Teresa doesn't know what to think. All of the evidence definitely suggests that her husband is actually the governor of an island.
  • To seal the deal, the man reads to Teresa another letter from the Duchess. Teresa can't believe how humble and kind the Duchess is, and she eventually comes around to believing that her husband has truly become a governor.
  • Teresa instantly decides to tell her friends, Mr. Nicolás the barber and the local curate (remember them?), all about it.
  • The people she meets, though, are the curate and the university student Sansón Carrasco, and neither of them can believe her story. At the same time, they have to acknowledge that the coral necklace she's wearing has definitely come from a very rich person. They scratch their heads and can't decide what to think.
  • At the same time, Sansón and the curate realize that the servant who has brought the news is secretly laughing at Teresa and her daughter's excitement.
  • Teresa decides that she and Sanchica must join Sancho in his rich castle ASAP. But she wants to wait for Sancho to send a coach for them, since it wouldn't be proper for distinguished ladies like themselves to ride on horseback anymore.
  • Teresa ends the chapter by getting a local young man to take down what she says in a letter to Sancho Panza.