Study Guide

Don Quixote Part 2 (Chapters 51-60)

By Miguel de Cervantes Saavedra

Part 2 (Chapters 51-60)

Part 2, Book 1, Chapter 51

  • When Sancho arises the next day as governor of Barataria, the doctor gives him another measly meal for his breakfast. Sancho is starting to feel weak with hunger, but he makes the best of it.
  • The first order of business for the new day is for Sancho to help his town solve a moral riddle, which he does fairly quickly by saying that in a case where a person's guilt is unclear, you always need to presume their innocence.
  • At lunch, Sancho is finally given a big, hearty meal that helps him regain his strength. During this meal, he also receives an important message from Don Quixote, which one of his servants reads aloud.
  • The letter basically says that Don Quixote has been pleasantly surprised to hear about how well Sancho is doing in his role as governor. With that, he takes the opportunity to bestow more wisdom on the good man.
  • Don Quixote closes the letter by saying that his time with the Duke and Duchess will soon come to an end, and he's worried that he's going to fall out of favor with them. He doesn't say why, but only suggests that duty is duty after all, and it can't be helped. We can probably assume that he's going to go against the Duke's wishes and try to wrestle the rich farmer's son into marrying Doña Rodriguez's daughter.
  • Sancho immediately goes into an office to dictate an answer to Don Quixote's letter. He says that since becoming governor, he has barely had time to scratch his head or trim his nails. He also talks about how some spies are apparently trying to kill him.
  • Sancho advises Don Quixote not to fall out of favor with the Duke and Duchess, because Sancho is afraid of losing his position if the Duke turns on him. He also has little explanation to offer for the weird cat attack that Don Quixote recently experienced.
  • Once this letter is sent off, the servants conspiring to joke with Sancho Panza decide to play their biggest prank yet.
  • While they're conspiring, Sancho hands down some orders that he wants carried out in his town. The narrator informs us that many of these rules are so good that the town ends up using them even after Sancho is gone, calling them "The Constitutions of the great governor Sancho Panza."

Part 2, Book 1, Chapter 52

  • Now that Don Quixote's cat scratches are healed, he feels that life in the Duke's castle isn't suitable for him. He's a knight-errant after all, and knights-errant like to live life on the road. He decides to take his leave of the Duke and Duchess and set out for Zaragoza.
  • Don Quixote has just started to explain this to the Duke and Duchess at the dinner table when two women clad in mourning clothes come in and throw themselves at his feet.
  • It turns out that the women are Doña Rodriguez and her daughter. The Doña asks the Don in front of her boss, the Duke, to force the rich farmer's son to marry her daughter.
  • Don Quixote, however, feels that as a guest of the Duke's, he should ask the Duke's permission.
  • The Duke is one step ahead. He says that he has already arranged for the farmer's son to come to his castle and to meet Don Quixote in combat. They decide that the fight will be done with lances on horseback six days later.
  • After this, the Duke and Duchess retreat into privacy and are overjoyed to see the return of the young servant they sent to Sancho Panza's wife. There are two letters: one for the Duchess, and one for Sancho.
  • The Duchess decides to read the one addressed to her first. The letter is full of thanks and has many errors in language, which tend to entertain the Duchess more than anything else.
  • The Duchess then asks Don Quixote to open the letter addressed to Sancho from his wife. Don Quixote opens the thing without a second thought, which is pretty jerky of him.
  • The letter basically contains a bunch of exclamations about how happy Teresa is to find out she's stinking rich. She also sends Sancho some totally mundane news about who's getting married in their village as well as some other local gossip.
  • The Duke and Duchess (along with their servants) are greatly entertained by these letters and all the manipulation they've managed to pull on Don Quixote and Sancho.

Part 2, Book 1, Chapter 53

  • On the seventh night of Sancho's governorship, a bunch of servants burst into his room while he's sleeping and tell him it has finally happened: his kingdom's enemies have finally attacked, and they're storming the castle in hopes of killing Sancho.
  • With this, the servants encase Sancho in a suit of armor so big that Sancho can't move in it. His first attempt to step forward simply makes him fall, and he's trapped like a turtle inside its shell. Meanwhile, all kinds of fighting seems to be going on around him.
  • While he's lying on the ground waiting to die, Sancho curses the day he ever received the role of governor. He wishes that he could just go back to being ordinary Sancho.
  • But just as he's saying this, Sancho hears people crying "Victory!" and feels someone pick him back up. The servants tell him that the enemies have been defeated, thanks to Sancho's brave leadership.
  • When the next morning comes, Sancho saddles up his beloved donkey Dapple and rides away, thus ending the brief and glorious reign of Governor Sancho Panza.
  • As Sancho leaves, he makes a speech about the importance of knowing his place. The servants give him a nice block of cheese and a loaf of bread for his journey back to the Duke's castle, where he plans to go.
  • Before leaving, he hugs everyone with tears in his eyes. It's all so sweet.

Part 2, Book 1, Chapter 54

  • It turns out that the Duke can't make good on his promise of letting Don Quixote fight the rich farmer's son. The young man has already fled Spain to avoid marrying Doña Rodriguez's daughter. For that reason, the Duke and Duchess get one of their lackeys, named Tosilos, to fight Don Quixote in the young man's place.
  • With this settled, the narrator takes us back to Sancho, who is riding on his way back to the Duke's castle. He is feeling a mixture of sadness and joy after getting away from the governorship.
  • As he rides, Sancho comes across six pilgrims who are looking for charity. All he can give them is his cheese and bread, which shows how generous he is. He's still giving charity when he's just gone back to a life of poverty himself.
  • The six people aren't satisfied with just the food, though. Sancho doesn't understand what more they want.
  • Sancho says he doesn't have any money. And as he rides away, one of the pilgrims throws his arms around Sancho's waist and hugs him. It turns out that the guy is named Ricote the Morisco. He used to own a shop in Sancho's hometown.
  • Ricote, you see, is of Moorish (African) descent. And recently in Spain's history, all of the Moors have been banished from the country. Spain wasn't the most tolerant of places back then.
  • Ricote invites Sancho to join him and his group in a nearby grove so they can have some lunch. As they have lunch, they talk more about how unfortunate it is that the Moors have been exiled from Spain. But seeing how writing this could have got Cervantes in big trouble with the Spanish government in his day, he makes sure to have Ricote say, "Now even though I'm not a treacherous Moor, it's true that many of us are; so the Spanish are right for kicking all the black people out of Spain." Cervantes is willing to go far enough to critique the government's decision, but not willing to be an all-out rebel.
  • Ricote explains how he has wandered around Spain illegally with his band of pilgrims, keeping himself covered with his robes to avoid detection.
  • The thing is that when Ricote's family left Spain, he didn't have time to pack up all the money he made from his shop. So he has returned to dig up all the money he buried before leaving. He offers Sancho a ton of money to help him dig up the treasure.
  • Sancho says he's not interested, for he no longer considers getting rich to be one of his goals. He informs Ricote that he has just quit being the governor of an island. Ricote swears there are no islands nearby, but Sancho doesn't believe him.
  • Sancho says that when he saw the rest of Ricote's family leaving the town, there was a rich local man named Don Gregorio who was overcome with sadness at seeing Ricote's daughter leave, since he was in love with her. Ricote assumes that nothing will come of this, since it is very rare for a Moorish woman to marry a Christian man out of sheer love's sake.
  • With that, the men go their separate ways.

Part 2, Book 1, Chapter 55

  • Sancho continues riding toward the Duke's castle. But as night falls, he and Dapple slide into a very deep pit that they aren't able to get out of. Feeling his way around, Sancho realizes that there's a little cave in the pit that he can walk through.
  • As he walks through the darkness, Sancho prays that he won't die down in the pit.
  • At this point, the narrator breaks off and leaves Sancho where he is, bringing our attention back to Don Quixote.
  • The Don is sitting around and feeling pumped about his upcoming duel with the rich farmer's son. He's getting anxious to do something worthy of a valiant knight, and this looks like a good chance.
  • As Don Quixote is riding around and practicing for the duel, he nearly falls into a large pit. And after curiously inspecting it, he hears someone calling for help. It turns out that it's Sancho Panza, who fell into the thing just before reaching the Duke's castle.
  • Don Quixote rushes back to the castle to fetch the Duke, and they return with a rope to get Sancho and Dapple out of the pit.
  • Sancho tells the Duke and Duchess his story about resigning as governor of Barataria. They aren't disappointed, of course, since their secret plan was always to drive Sancho voluntarily out of the role.
  • When Sancho is finished telling his story, the Duke hugs him and promises him a new job that'll be just as good, but not so stressful.

Part 2, Book 1, Chapter 56

  • The day of Don Quixote's battle with the Duke's lackey has arrived. But the Duke recalls that he hasn't taken the time to teach the lackey everything he should know for defeating the Don. So before the battle, he orders that the metal tips be taken off the lances so that no one will die in the fight.
  • Tons of people from all the neighboring villages show up to watch the fight, since no one has ever seen a full-blown medieval jousting match before.
  • While they're getting ready, the lackey Tosilos casts a glance at Doña Rodriguez's daughter and immediately falls in love with her incredible beauty. With this in mind, he decides to throw the fight so he can marry her, not fully realizing that she thinks he's somebody else underneath his helmet.
  • In any case, the dude doesn't even put up a fight. Don Quixote is about to charge him when Tosilos trots over to Doña Rodriguez and says he'd love to marry her daughter.
  • When Don Quixote hears this, he figures that there's no need to fight.
  • When Tosilos takes off his helmet, though, everyone sees that the Duke planned on cheating Doña Rodriguez's daughter all along. Don Quixote, however, tells the Duke that the young man has clearly had his appearance changed by some wizard.
  • With this, the Duke forgets how angry he is with his lackey and can't help but laugh. He says they should all wait for two weeks to see if the "transformation" shifts again.
  • But as things wind down, the crowd leaves disappointed—they wanted to see a bloody battle. Tosilos, though, is happy to think that one way or another, Doña Rodriguez's daughter will agree to marry him.

Part 2, Book 1, Chapter 57

  • Don Quixote has truly had enough of the cushy castle lifestyle. He decides that it is finally time to pull up stakes and seek adventure somewhere else.
  • When he and Sancho have saddled up, the Duke, Duchess, and all their servants gather outside to say goodbye. The young lady Altisidora, not quite finished with her joke, sings a song begging the knight not to leave.
  • Once more, Don Quixote rejects Altisidora's advances and renews his vows to Dulcinea.

Part 2, Book 1, Chapter 58

  • As they ride away, Don Quixote talks to Sancho about how great liberty is, even if it comes at the cost of comfort and security.
  • As they ride on, Don Quixote and Sancho come across a dozen or so men sitting around and eating with a bunch of objects around them covered in sheets. They claim that they are sculptors and carvers who've created a bunch of images for a local church altar.
  • Don Quixote says he'd like to check them out, so one by one, they reveal their creations to him. While the Don talks about how great the work is, the men just stare at him and think he's really weird.
  • The whole time, though, Sancho admires Don Quixote because he knows pretty much everything about all of the saints the men have sculpted. That's what you get for spending most of your life reading.
  • At this point, Sancho changes the subject and tells Don that he can't imagine how the young, beautiful Altisidora could ever have been obsessed with him like she was.
  • As they ride on, Don Quixote finds himself entangled in a bunch of green thread that's hanging between the trees. He cries out and assumes that he's under some spell. He pulls out his sword and starts to cut the nets, but just then, two beautiful shepherdesses jump out from behind the trees.
  • It turns out that the women belong to a sort of cult from the nearby town. The people are sick of town life and have decided to move out into nature to create a sort of pastoral paradise for themselves. They set up the nets to amuse themselves, but also ended up catching a bunch of tiny birds in them.
  • To show his valor, Don Quixote rides out to the nearby road and shouts out a challenge to the world, saying that if anyone dares say that the group of shepherds and shepherdesses isn't the most beautiful group in the world, they'll have to fight him.
  • Don Quixote shouts this twice, but there's no one around.
  • As luck would have it, though, a bunch of people on horseback eventually start riding toward him.
  • The first horseman yells for Don Quixote to get out of the way, since the horsemen are leading a bunch of stampeding bulls toward the nearby town. Don Quixote, though, isn't scared. He should be.
  • Don Quixote stands his ground and gets served by a huge group of stampeding bulls. Unfortunately, Sancho gets caught up in the stampede, too, and the two of them are lucky to live through it.

Part 2, Book 1, Chapter 59

  • After getting owned by the bulls, Don Quixote finds a nearby fountain to wash up in. He and Sancho are both feeling pretty dejected.
  • Don Quixote won't eat a bite of lunch, but Sancho is more than happy to go nuts on his own.
  • In a speech, Don Quixote reveals that he's starting to lose confidence in himself as a knight. He claims that he's going to starve himself to death out of shame.
  • Sancho, however, says that there is no worse way for a person to act than to give in to despair.
  • Don Quixote says the only thing that'll cheer him up is for Sancho to give himself some of the lashes on the bum that they'll need to lift the curse from Dulcinea.
  • Sancho promises to get around to it sooner or later, and Don Quixote has to be satisfied with this.
  • As night approaches, Don Quixote and Sancho come to an inn.
  • As they get their dinner and get ready for the evening, Don Quixote can hear someone speaking on the opposite side of a wall. These people are supposedly reading from the Second Part of the History of Don Quixote. This, mind you, is the same false sequel that Cervantes was criticizing in real life when he wrote his own Part Two to Don Quixote. It looks like he hates this forged version so much that he has actually put it into his novel.
  • As the two men talk, Don Quixote hears them say that according to the Second Part of Don Quixote, he is no longer in love with Dulcinea. At this, Don Quixote can't stay silent. He cries out that this is a huge lie.
  • The men shout, asking to know who's talking, and Sancho answers that it's none other than the great Don Quixote.
  • The characters spend the next few pages talking about what a brutal lie and terrible piece of writing the false Second Part of Don Quixote actually is.
  • Don Quixote tells the men that he is on his way to Zaragoza, at which point the men mention that this is where Don Quixote supposedly goes in the fraudulent Part 2 of his story. For this reason alone, Don Quixote vows to never, ever set foot in the city of Zaragoza, thereby making the bad Part Two of Don Quixote completely wrong. It's like Cervantes specifically has Don Quixote avoid the city to spite the guy who knocked off his book.

Part 2, Book 1, Chapter 60

  • The next morning, Don Quixote decides to head to Barcelona. For six days, he travels without finding any adventures.
  • As Sancho sleeps, Don Quixote starts thinking obsessively about Merlin's curse on Dulcinea. He eventually gets really angry with Sancho, until he attacks the little dude in his sleep and tries to pull down his pants to start whipping him.
  • Sancho throws Don Quixote off of him and pins him to the ground.
  • When Don Quixote and Sancho have agreed to a truce, Sancho stands up and backs away until he bumps into something hanging from a tree. Turning, he gasps and sees that there are dozens of dead men hanging by the neck from the tree.
  • But that's not all, because hiding among these bodies are a bunch of live robbers, who descend from the trees and surround Don Quixote and Sancho.
  • The robbers start going through all of Don Quixote and Sancho's things. They're about to discover all the gold on Sancho when their leader shows up. Seeing that his men are about to strip search Sancho, he tells them to back off.
  • The man tells Don Quixote and Sancho not to be afraid, because he is not just any robber, but Roque Guinart.
  • Guinart quickly decides that Don Quixote must be crazy based on the way he talks. But because he's compassionate, he decides to humor him, and calls him a great knight.
  • While Guinart and Don Quixote are talking, a well-dressed young lady rides up to them and says she's been looking for Roque. She claims she is the daughter of his friend and the sworn foe of his enemy, Claquel Torrellas. Apparently, this Torrellas guy has a son called Don Vicente. He has seduced her and had a relationship with her, but on this very day, he is going to marry another girl (gee, haven't we heard that one before?).
  • Basically, the girl has taken justice into her own hands and shot Vicente through the stomach. He'll be dead soon, and she has come to Roque to seek his protection from the law.
  • Roque says it's best if they first find out whether Vicente is actually dead.
  • Don Quixote says that he is the man for the job, not Roque. But Roque simply orders his robbers to give Don Quixote and Sancho back everything they've stolen.
  • Roque and the young lady eventually overtake the people carrying Vicente back to the nearby town.
  • Vicente sees Claudia (the young woman) and tells her that there was never any plan for him to marry another woman. With his last dying breath, he pledges his love and forgiveness to her. She faints with grief on his chest, and he passes out and dies. It's a much sadder ending most of the love stories in this book have. Claudia decides to spend the rest of her days as a nun.
  • Roque Guinart returns to find his band of merry men just as he'd left them.
  • Now that he's back, Roque orders his men again to give back everything they took from Don Quixote and Sancho. He takes all of the booty they've stolen from the past month and splits it up evenly between them.
  • Sancho makes a little comment about robbers being unruly people. One of the bandits cocks his pistol and aims it at Sancho's head, but Roque tells him to stand down.
  • At this, one of the robbers brings word that there's a large group of people traveling toward Barcelona. Roque sends his goons after the group while he waits with Don Quixote and Sancho.
  • While the goons are gone, Roque tries to explain to Don Quixote that he's only a robber because of the terrible wrongs the world has inflicted on him.
  • Shortly thereafter, Roque's robbers bring back two rich-looking gentlemen on horseback and two pilgrims on foot. All of them are hoping to leave the port of Barcelona on their way to various places.
  • Roque is generous, though, and only takes some of the people's money instead of all. He asks them to consider it a fee for passing safely along "his" road. The people thank him and move on.
  • Roque then gives some of their money to the poor people traveling with the group and writes out a note for them to deliver to the next people they see, talking about what a generous and good man Roque Guinart is.
  • One of the robbers, though, isn't so happy about Roque's charitable ways. He mutters about how Roque should pay charity out of his own pocket and not the pockets of the other robbers. Overhearing this, Roque spins around and puts his sword halfway through the guy's head, killing him. Everyone totally backs off when they see this.
  • Then Roque writes a brief letter to a friend of his in Barcelona telling him to expect the arrival of the great Don Quixote.