Don Quixote

Don Quixote

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Don Quixote Part 2, Prologue Summary & Analysis

Summary
Analysis
The author does not want to begin the prologue by badmouthing the author of the spurious second Don Quixote, though he resents that this fellow called him old, one-handed, and envious. In fact, he is grateful that this author complimented his Exemplary Tales.
Someone really did publish a spurious second part of the History, in 1614 – a man writing under the pseudonym of Avellaneda. Cervantes rushed to finish his own second part, because he wanted to reclaim his inventions.
Themes
Truth and Lies Theme Icon
Literature, Realism, and Idealism Theme Icon
Instead, the author wants to begin the prologue with some parables. The first one describes a madman from Seville who would inflate dogs’ bellies by blowing into them through a little tube. “Do you think it’s easy to inflate a dog?” he would ask. Do you think it’s easy to write a book? asks the author. The second parable describes a madman who would drop rocks on dogs’ heads for fun. Once he dropped a rock on a man’s beloved pet, and the man beat him badly, saying: “Couldn’t you see, you monster, that my dog’s a whippet?” The madman hid away for a month and then came back out onto the streets with his rocks, but he never dared drop any on any dog’s head, saying each time to himself: “This one’s a whippet; stay clear!” The author compares the rocks to his books.
Parables are didactic tales that clearly illustrate a moral or principle, like “The Tale of Inappropriate Curiosity.” But these parables are none too clear. The sly author claims that he doesn’t want to badmouth Avellaneda, the author of the spurious history, but mostly likely the parables are doing just that. Avellaneda thinks writing a good book is easy as inflating a dog, says Cervantes; Avellaneda’s terrible, silly book is a rock dropped on readers’ heads.
Themes
Literature, Realism, and Idealism Theme Icon
Madness and Sanity Theme Icon
The author repeats that he does not resent the author of the false Quixote but emphasizes that this second part was written by the same author as the first, and is generally continuous with the first. This is the final, conclusive history that takes us to the end of Quixote’s life.
The question of authorial authenticity is complicated. The narrator claims that the true author of both parts is Cide Hamete Benengeli (everything except the first section of the first part); then there is the anonymous translator; and the narrator merely edits and transcribes.
Themes
Truth and Lies Theme Icon
Literature, Realism, and Idealism Theme Icon