What is the context in which the prologue before the second half of the book is written? Who is the speaker? Who is the speaker addressing? Why?  

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ecofan74 eNotes educator| Certified Educator

 

The prologue to the second part of Don Quixote was written in 1615, a decade after the publication of the first part. Unlike the prologue to the first part, Cervantes, the speaker in the second prologue, assumes a more combative tone. Responding to the publication of a second Don Quixote, Cervantes dismisses the publication of the text itself, but he does briefly addresses the author’s comment that Cervantes was “old and one-handed.” While the unnamed author clearly means this as an insult against Cervantes, Cervantes responds that he would rather be the way he is (old and one-handed) than not. What Cervantes takes the greatest issue with, however, is the quality of the work the imposter produced and the idea that the author will profit from its publication. Cervantes tells this imposter a story, in which a madman goes around town dropping weights on animals. Clearly an attack on what Cervantes sees as the author’s overbearing style, it also serves as Cervantes’s warning to the author to take care should he dare to “set his great talents loose among books,” especially when they are bad.