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"More Knave Than Fool"

(Magill's Quotations in Context)

Context: The question of whether a person is acting through craft or stupidity has been a puzzle with many fictional characters. One, in The Jew of Malta (1633) by Christopher Marlowe (1564-1593), declared: "Now will I show myself to have more of the serpent than the dove, that is, more knave than fool." Andrew's master spoke similarly in Don Quixote's first knightly adventure. Riding home after having been dubbed knight, the Don hears cries. Hurrying to the rescue, he finds a fifteen-year-old boy tied to an oak tree, being flogged by his master. This is in Part I, Book I, Chapter IV. Later, in Book IV, Chapter 4, he tells Sancho about the episode and how he:

. . . demanded the cause of his severe chastisement? The rude fellow answered, that he had liberty to punish his own servant, whom he thus used for some faults that argued him more knave than fool.