The Work: Part 2
Responding to criticism of part 1 and stung by the spurious sequel to Don Quixote by Alonso Fernández de Avellaneda, Cervantes restricts this novel more to the protagonists, with fewer interpolations and digressions. Don Quixote and Sancho are never lost to view, and the bonds between them are kept strong, even when they are separated.
In part 2, there is a refinement of the character of Don Quixote and a development of his saner nature, including moments of sanity when he comments on society in a mixed picture of madness and idealism. There is a corresponding refinement in the character of Sancho, as his understanding of and sympathy for Don Quixote develop. The world of part 2 is a much expanded world in which Don Quixote travels much farther from his native village, as far as Barcelona and the Mediterranean coast. It has a wider range of characters: peasants, bandits, traveling actors, shepherds, country squires, dukes, and Moriscos. Part 2 begins about a month after the end of part 1. Two new characters are introduced: Cid Hamete Benengeli, the Moorish author of Don Quixote, whom Cervantes frequently pretends to cite, and Sansón Carrasco, recent graduate of the University of Salamanca.
To cure Don Quixote’s madness, the curate and barber consult frequently with the niece and housekeeper. Finally satisfied that he has come to his senses, they come to the house and begin a discussion of statecraft, in which Don Quixote impresses them with his good sense, until the subject turns to chivalry and he again defends the old knightly virtues found in the romances against the sloth, arrogance, and theory over practice of the present age, persuading his auditors of a return of his madness. When Don Quixote asks Sancho’s opinions regarding criticisms of him, Sancho refers him to a book by Cid Hamete Benengeli, then mentions Sansón Carrasco, the student, who knows all about the book. Thus, Quixote and Sancho meet Sansón, who wins them over with flattery, although he is secretly allied with the curate and the barber, plotting stratagems to discourage Quixote as a knight.
The first concern of Don Quixote is to see his lady Dulcinea, so they set out for Toboso, Dulcinea’s hometown. Stopping just outside, Quixote sends Sancho into town to find her. Sancho, however, has no idea what she looks like, so Quixote decides on a trick of his own: He (Quixote) will approach the first farm girl he meets. Don Quixote sees only a farm girl and is bewildered. Sancho is hard pressed to convince him. The girl, annoyed, rides off. Sancho explains the snub nose, mole on lip, and the odor of garlic as enchantments, an explanation that satisfies Quixote.
Arriving at a woods, the two meet...
(The entire section is 1115 words.)