Don Quixote

Don Quixote


Miguel de Cervantes

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Don Quixote: Part 2, Chapter 38 Summary & Analysis

A dozen veiled duennas in mourning enter, followed by the veiled Countess Trifaldi and the messenger Trifaldin. In very lengthy and hyperbolic terms, she explains her problem. She once served as governess to the Princess Antonomasia of the kingdom of Kandy, a beautiful and clever girl of fourteen. Many men fell in love with her, including one very talented, musical, intelligent knight named Don Clavijo. He won the heart of the princess and his promises of marriage persuaded the duenna to allow him to visit the princess’s bedroom. Soon the princess became pregnant, so Don Clavijo promised to ask for the princess’s hand in front of the Vicar-General.
This episode echoes several earlier ones. Like the bedecked soldier Vincente de la Rosa, Don Clavijo is talented and irresponsible. Once again, the low-born and talented person is the villain: the story has a kind of anti-egalitarian moral, since it negatively stereotypes people whose rise by personal merit and not by birth. The story neatly appeals to Quixote’s knightly sensibility, since he believes knights should defend innocent, wronged ladies.
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