Book Notes

Volume 2, Chapter 8 Notes from Don Quixote

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Don Quixote Volume 2, Chapter 8

As master and squire continue on, both the horse and donkey whinny and bray -- which they both take as good omens. The donkey is louder than Rocinante which Sancho takes to mean that this trip will be luckier for him than for his master. Their first stop is to be the Toboso, so that Don Quijote can get Dulcinea's blessing and smile which will give him courage. Sancho refers to his visit with her (a lie) and tells Don Quijote that she'll have to throw her blessing over the courtyard wall. Don Quijote says he must be referring to the balconies of the palace, but it's not important as long as he sees her. He compares her beauty to the rays of the sun; the sight of which will give him unparalleled "wisdom and courage" (pg. 398).

Topic Tracking: Idealized Women 23

Sancho says he must have missed catching these rays because they must have been blocked by the dust from the wheat she was sifting. Don Quijote expresses disbelief that Sancho is sticking to his story that the grand person of Dulcinea was sifting wheat! It must be the work of a very jealous enchanter who altered Sancho's perception of what his eyes saw. Sancho quickly agrees with this -- although, he can't think for the life of him -- what would cause an enchanter to be jealous of him:

"[A]lthough it's true I'm pretty clever, and I'm something of a rascal, but all that's well hidden under this always easy and natural disguise of behaving like a fool." Volume 2, Chapter 8, pg. 399

Don Quijote and Sancho discuss how the need to be someone -- to be famous and remembered -- is a very strong urge. Also, that the motivation behind many great feats is the reward of fame -- although "Christians, Catholics, and knights errant" are more interested in attaining glory in heaven rather than earth. Sancho asks Don Quijote many questions about the various tombs that great men are buried in, including whether they receive commemorative offerings like locks of hair, wax eyes and crutches and if lamps are kept burning by their tombs. Don Quijote, says no, those things are reserved for saints and martyrs. Sancho points out that they should try to become saints or martyrs because it'll take less time to become famous. For an example, he tells how just recently two friars got canonized after torturing themselves by wrapping iron chains about their bodies. Don Quijote admits this is true, but not everyone can be a friar. He also feels that Knighthood is a religion and saintly knights go to heaven.

After a few days they arrive at the city of Toboso and decide to wait till night to enter the city. Sancho is nervous that Don Quijote will find out that he lied about delivering his master's message to Dulcinea and that he made up her reply since he has no idea where she lives.

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