Don Quixote In England

by Henry Fielding
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"As Sober As A Judge"

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Last Updated on May 17, 2016, by eNotes Editorial. Word Count: 321

Context: Fielding began this comedy in 1728, then was dissuaded from completing it by his actor friends Booth and Cibber. However, when Drury Lane actors needed a play in a hurry, he resurrected it, completed it, and saw it performed at the New Theatre. Sancho Panza and Don Quixote enter an English inn where they find people as mad as they are. Each scene ends with a song by one of the actors. As in the Cervantes' novel, Don Quixote believes that since he is a knight-errant, the world owes him a living. The point of the play is expressed in one of its songs: "The more we see of human kind, The more deceits and tricks we find, In every land as well as Spain." Squire Badger is important in the coming elections; also being rich, he is sought as husband for Dorothea, the daughter of Sir Thomas Loveland, though she in turn loves Fairlove. Don Quixote also loves her. In this scene of Act III, Sir Thomas goes to Badger to arrange a marriage, but the squire reveals himself as such a bore that Dorothea's father agrees to let his daughter marry her true love, Fairlove. "Oons" and "'sbud" are euphemisms for the oaths "God's Wounds," and "God's Blood!" A bewigged judge sitting in court certainly gives the impression of being sober.

Oons! what's the matter with you all? Is the devil in the inn, that you won't let a man sleep? I was as fast on the table, as if I had been in a feather bed. 'Sbud, what's the matter? Where's my Lord Slang?
Dear squire, let me entreat you would go to bed; you are a little heated with wine.
Oons, sir, do you say that I am drunk? I say, sir, that I am as sober as a judge; and if any man say that I am drunk, sir, he's a liar.

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