Don Quixote

Don Quixote


Miguel de Cervantes

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Don Quixote: Part 2, Chapter 16 Summary & Analysis

Quixote is overjoyed by his recent victory. He and Sancho discuss whether the knight and squire were really Carrasco and Tomé Cecial, as they appeared to be. Quixote explains that since the graduate has no good reason to challenge him to fights, he must be a stranger transformed by enchanters to resemble Carrasco. An older man in green riding a grey horse comes up behind them. Quixote notices the surprise in the stranger’s eyes and explains that he is a knight errant. The man is glad to learn that knights errant still roam the world, though he’d assumed such knights had never truly existed.
Once again, Quixote’s preconceived ideas about people override his observations. He believes that Carrasco is a well-meaning friend, and he seems almost incapable of suspecting him of foul play. Ordinary people do not transform themselves deceitfully – only enchanters playact in this malicious way. For Quixote there are good people, and evil enchanters, and little in between.
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He tells the friends that his name is Don Diego de Miranda; he is a wealthy, virtuous, generous hidalgo. His son is a student and poet, which the man considers a frivolous pursuit. Quixote responds that poetry is an honorable, delicate pursuit, not for the vulgar-minded (which, he points out, refers to ignorant people of any social class). He also declares that “poets are born not made.” The man is impressed by his reasoning and good sense, but just as the conversation comes to a close they see a cart with royal flags coming toward them.
This conversation highlights the complications in Quixote’s ideas about class and self-making. On the one hand, he says, both rich and poor can have vulgar minds. On the other hand, one is born a poet: a person can’t become a poet by learning and hard work. He believes that people have destinies, but that glorious destinies fall to both rich and poor.
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