Did Sancho Panza really believe in Don Quixote's fantasies?

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Ashley Kannan eNotes educator| Certified Educator

I don't think that Sancho believed in Quixote's dreams as much as Quixote did, but there is some level of adherence to Quixote's notion of reality.  When Quixote sees monsters, Sancho sees them as windmills, but also understands that his place on this journey is to adhere to Quixote's conception of reality.  In this, Sancho does believe in the ideals of Quixote.  Yet, Cervantes might be trying to forge a statement about human consciousness in the modern setting with the way in which Sancho accepts Quixote's construction of reality.  As human beings, we live in the world of both Sancho and Quixote.  The dreams, ideals, and yearning that Quixote possesses is matched by our banal, mind- numbing existence that is predicated upon boredom and routine, as represented by Sancho.  Both conceptions are needed in human consciousness, as one cannot live as fully either.  It is here where Sancho is evident, seeking to make some level of permutation and integration to Quixote's notion of the good as the play develops.  He is loyal to Quixote, and throughout the narrative, acts in a manner towards Quixote with authenticity and sincerity.  I think that it is here where Sancho does accept, at least with some hesitation, what Quixote suggests, indicating that by the end, Sancho's absorption has proven Quixote's value.