Book Notes

Volume 2, Chapter 35 Notes from Don Quixote

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Don Quixote Volume 2, Chapter 35

A huge chariot approaches carrying a veiled nymph draped in a gross of silver veils sitting upon a throne with a black robed, and veiled figure beside her. He flashes his robe and shows a ghastly view of his rotting skin and bones -- he is none other than the figure of Death. In a slow monotone he also identifies himself as Merlin, who has heard the pitiful enchanted cries of Dulcinea and has come to instruct Don Quijote on how to break her enchantment. The cure must come through Sancho who must whip his own bare behind ("bared to the passing breeze" pg. 549) 3,300 times to undo the magic. Sancho queries, "What the hell has my ass got to do with magic?" Volume 2, Chapter 35, pg. 549

Breaking with his usual manner of speaking in proverbs, Sancho quite clearly states that he is not going to flagellate his buttocks for Dulcinea. Don Quijote, says Sancho better or Don Quijote will whip him himself and he'll double the number. Merlin explains that this must be a voluntary sacrifice or it won't work, though if Sancho tires of whipping himself after the first 1,650, he can ask for someone else to help. Also, there is no expiration date on this offer -- the squire may take his time meeting the quota. In spite of these generous terms, Sancho says no to being a sacrificial lamb and starts misquoting Jesus "...Get thee beside me, Satan." (pg. 549) and says this is a job for Don Quijote -- Dulcinea is his gal!

Topic Tracking: Scapegoat 20

The nymph, who it turns out is Dulcinea (allowed to be beautiful for the day to soften hard hearts) gives Sancho a good tongue lashing and pretty much calls him a selfish whimp to deny her this small favor. He asks her where she has learned to ask for favors; for, generally gifts and sweet talk are the usual bait (he mentions that Don Quijote leaves out these traditional niceties, too). He then reminds them that this request is being made of a governor of an island -- not a squire. The Duke points out that he is not going to send mean, cold-hearted, stubborn man to be governor. Sancho (wavering now) is told by Merlin that he must make up his mind now. Stalling, or perhaps hoping for a better offer down the road, he asks: where is Montesino since the Devil said he was supposed to be the giver of the enchantment breaking instructions? Merlin explains that the Devil is an idiot and messed up the message -- how can Montesino come when he is under enchantment in his own cave?

Sancho resigns himself and agrees to the task on the condition that he is not required to draw blood with these whippings and that gentle lashes count too. He also stipulates that Merlin must keep track of the count so that Sancho doesn't give himself any past the required number. Merlin assures him that as he administers the last required lash, Lady Dulcinea will instantly appear before him thanking him. The dawn arrives revealing a beautiful day, lovely music starts to play, Don Quijote hugs his squire and Dulcinea curtsies to him and it is time to return to the castle.

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