Don Quixote

Don Quixote

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Don Quixote Part 2, Chapter 49 Summary & Analysis

Summary
Analysis
Sancho realizes that the job of governor and judge is difficult and exhausting. He finally eats some dinner, and requests simple and hearty food from then on. He also tells his servants his general plans for the island: he wants to kick out the lazy and idle people, protect farmers, and respect religion. Everyone admires his good sense.
Sancho is weighted with many responsibilities, but many of them are self-imposed. He surprises himself with his own idealism and selflessness. He believed Quixote when he said Sancho could be anything he pleased.
Themes
Literature, Realism, and Idealism Theme Icon
Self-Invention, Class Identity, and Social Change Theme Icon
After he finishes his dinner, Sancho and his servants go out to make the nightly rounds. They hear two people fighting and go to investigate. Man 1 won a large sum in a gambling house, and man 2 helped him by ruling a dispute in his favor. Man 2 asked man 1 for a large tip, but he gave him only a small one, so they began fighting. Sancho orders #1 to give #2 one tenth of his winnings, and then a little more for charity; he also orders #2 to take the money and leave the island the next day. Sancho decides to close the gambling houses, but his clerk suggests that some of the houses are run by wealthy and powerful people, and shouldn’t be tampered with.
Sancho has begun thinking on a grand, idealistic scale about social welfare. He immediately puts his thinking into action by taking money from the rich and giving it to the poor, like Robin Hood. He wants to use his power to lessen suffering and drive out corruption. Right away, he runs into a familiar problem: wealthy people are the ones who truly hold the power, or, as the other barber said, “the lords make the laws.”
Themes
Literature, Realism, and Idealism Theme Icon
Self-Invention, Class Identity, and Social Change Theme Icon
Just then, they see a constable dragging a young man. The constable says that the young man began running as soon as he saw the police, so they assumed he was doing something illegal. The curt young man cleverly avoids answering Sancho’s questions, and Sancho threatens to make him sleep in jail. The young man swears that they can’t make him sleep in jail – no matter what, he can keep himself awake. Sancho lets him go with a warning.
Sancho has a soft spot for cleverness and wit – in this case, it is the innocent version of deceit, because it twists the truth for pleasure and not for gain. Quixote had advised him to be merciful when possible, and here Sancho takes his advice.
Themes
Truth and Lies Theme Icon
Soon two constables appear with a beautiful young woman in man’s clothes. She explains that she is the daughter of a wealthy hidalgo, who forbid her from ever leaving the house. She was so tormented by curiosity about the world that she convinced her brother to switch clothes with her so that they could sneak out. When they saw the police, they decided to run away. A few more constables come by with her brother, who is dressed in woman’s clothes. Sancho chastises the girl for her melodramatic speeches and escorts them both home.
Here, Sancho is clearly going above and beyond his basic duties as governor, since there is no question of legality in this situation. He assumes the role of a kind of public sage and advice-giver; he also seems to be able to tell bad people from good instinctively. It is Sancho’s moment to shine, to display his intuitive wisdom in contrast to Quixote’s more bookish intelligence.
Themes
Madness and Sanity Theme Icon
Self-Invention, Class Identity, and Social Change Theme Icon
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