Don Quixote

Don Quixote

Don Quixote Part 2, Chapter 54 Summary & Analysis

Summary
Analysis
The Duke and Duchess decide that a lackey should take the place of the seducer in the duel. Meanwhile, Sancho is travelling to the Duke’s palace on his donkey. He comes across six pilgrims, who begin singing for alms in a foreign language; one of them recognizes Sancho – it is his old neighbor Ricote. The company sits down to eat lunch and Ricote describes everything that’s happened to him since the king of Spain expelled Spanish Moors (Moriscos) from the kingdom. After the law was passed, Ricote left Spain to look for a new home for him and his family while they stayed in Algiers.
In this episode, Quixote alludes to a historical event called the Expulsion of the Moriscos: between 1609 and 1914, just before the second part of the novel was published, King Phillip III of Spain forced the Moriscos to leave Spain. Moriscos were descendants of the Muslim population of Spain that had converted to Christianity. By including this recent historical event, Cervantes further politicizes the novel.
Themes
Self-Invention, Class Identity, and Social Change Theme Icon
Though he is sad to be exiled, Ricote thinks that the king’s decision is wise. He travelled to France, Italy, and Germany, where he decided to settle. He came back to Spain with a group of pilgrims to dig up his hidden treasure and collect his family from Algiers. Sancho tells him that his treasure might not be there, because many jewels were confiscated from his family at the border. Ricote says the treasure must be intact, since he never told anyone its location, and offers Sancho a lot of money to help him dig it up, but Sancho politely refuses. He tells Ricote that a Christian man named Don Gaspar fell in love with his daughter and followed her abroad.
Scholars disagree about Cervantes’ attitude toward the Expulsion. On the one hand, Cervantes seems to blame the edict for creating needless tragedy. On the other hand, Ricote himself admits that there is some sense in the edict – that the political fears behind it have some legitimacy. We should also note that the formerly greedy Sancho refuses money, just as he refused the governorship and its implicit financial rewards.
Themes
Literature, Realism, and Idealism Theme Icon
Self-Invention, Class Identity, and Social Change Theme Icon