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What is the relationship between Don Quixote and Sancho Panza in Don Quixote de la Mancha?

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tamster13 | Student, Undergraduate | eNotes Newbie

Posted July 22, 2011 at 12:19 AM via web

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What is the relationship between Don Quixote and Sancho Panza in Don Quixote de la Mancha?

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mahmood786 | College Teacher | (Level 1) Honors

Posted July 22, 2011 at 12:51 AM (Answer #1)

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Don Quixote is searching for love and beauty, but unfortunately, all his attempts to make world better do only harm to those he meets. Until his final illness, Don Quixote remains true to his chivalric conception of right and wrong. Even though his mind clears enough to see that the inns he sees are just inns, not the castles as he used to believe, and windmills are not the dragons as he previously imagined, he never stopped thinking that Dulcinea can save him from misfortune.  Despite his delusions, Don Quixote is intelligent and from time to time seemingly sane.

Don Quixote’s split between his madness and his common sense. Don Quixote’s character remains versatile throughout the whole story.

Despite all his madness, he leaves absolutely positive impression. Of course, character of Don Quixote would be not as colorful as it is without his companion Sancho Panza. He is a simple peasant who follows Don Quixote out of greed and curiosity. Sancho lives somewhere in between Don Quixote’s imaginable world and the world of his contemporaries, he is able to co-exist in both of them. Sancho Panza represents the good and the bad features of the current era of chivalry, he has the negative side, but he also possesses the honorable features that the other sane characters largely lack. At the beginning of the novel Sancho appears like the contemporaries against whom Don Quixote rebels, he eventually becomes the character with the most varied perspective and the most wisdom, learning from the world around him thanks to his constant curiosity. Sancho observes and thinks about Don Quixote enabling us to judge him, he is a link that connects us with Don Quixote’s imaginary world. Sancho Panza is the hero who humanizes story, who brings humor and compassion as well as dignity and devotion. Though Sancho is ignorant, foolish, illiterate, and cowardly, ha also proves himself as a wise and compassionate, being a better companion than aristocratic and educated Duke. Through Sancho Panza Cervantes critiques the ill-conceived education of class and worth. Sancho gains confidence in himself and ability to solve problems despite his lower-class status. Sancho, as opposed to Don Quixote , usually symbolizes realism. Sancho is also comic relief throughout the novel. He finally returns to his wife and kids at the end, after Quixote has resigned as a knight-errant.

The struggle between imaginary world and real one is illustrated in  Cervantes’ novel, Don Quixote. Through the characters of Don Quixote and Sancho Panza, Cervantes illustrates the challenges one faces while balancing between idealism and rationalism. His portrayal of Don Quixote’s foolishness in his knightly adventures also illustrates a kind of futility. Depicting both Quixote’s and Panza’s characters, Cervantes reveals that it is worthless to only adopt a single way of thinking. The two ends of idealism and rationalism must co-exist in person’s life.

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lsumner | High School Teacher | (Level 2) Senior Educator

Posted July 22, 2011 at 1:25 AM (Answer #2)

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Don Quixote is a character who has read so many books on chivalry until he imagines that he is indeed a knight-errant. He is determined to solve problems in the world, but he often makes things worse. He has a neighbor who becomes his squire or personal attendant. His name is Sancho Panza.

Sancho Panza is a neighbor of Don Quixote. He is an illiterate laborer who signs on to be Don Quixote's squire in hopes of becoming governor of an island as a reward for some adventure. At first Sancho is a timid character. Gradually, however, Sancho becomes more loquacious, full of proverbs, and a believer in Don Quixote's madness. He also functions as the jester, or the gracioso (the buffoon character of Spanish comedy) archetype.

Sancho is illiterate and proud of the fact. He adds humor to the novel, Don Quixote. Sancho is a realist. He is a rude peasant who serves as a faithful companion to Don Quixote. Another term for Sancho would be sidekick. He travels with Don Quixote and is the voice of reason to Quixote's idealistic thinking.

Initially, Quixote and Sancho are opposites. Sancho only plays the part of sidekick in hopes of becoming wealthy. Quixote is caught up in the romance of his chivalric readings:

He longs to resurrect this world he has long read of: chivalry, battles with giants and evil knights, the rescue of virtuous maidens. Instead, Don Quixote deals with windmills, bedclothes, and much disappointment. Along the way, he acquires a sidekick, Sancho, who helps Don Quixote in hopes of getting rich. This dynamic duo has provided readers throughout the centuries with humorous, yet poignant, chivalric tales.

By the end of the novel, Sancho has become quite fond of his companion, Quixote. Initially, Sancho was willing to be the squire or personal attendant to Quixote in hopes of a reward that would make him rich. By the end of the story, Sancho has served Quixote faithfully with nothing in return. The two of them become very close. In the end, when Quixote comes to his senses, Sancho wishes to have his imaginative companion back. When Quixote takes to his deathbed, Sancho tries to cheer him.

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