Don Quixote

Don Quixote


Miguel de Cervantes

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Don Quixote: Part 2, Chapter 8 Summary & Analysis

Quixote tells Sancho that he wants to receive Dulcinea’s blessing before beginning any new quests, and asks Sancho to direct them to her house when they reach El Toboso the following day. Quixote imagines Dulcinea shining her light from a castle balcony, but Sancho says that when he last saw her she was shouting over a yard wall, and her light was clouded by dust from sieving wheat. Quixote explains impatiently that Dulcinea does not sieve anything, but pursues only activities appropriate to her station, so an enchanter must have created the illusion Sancho describes.
Quixote and Sancho have several conversational dynamics. They make a certain kind of joke over and over again: Quixote says a word that he means metaphorically, and Sancho interprets it literally. Sancho’s misinterpretation of the word “light” may seem naïve and goofy, but it is an important correction to Quixote’s one-sided perspective.
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Quixote talks about the harmful effects of fame, and is moved to reflect that knight-errantry accords well with Christianity, since a knight must battle not only villains but also the seven deadly sins within and without him. Sancho asks him whether it would not be easier become famous and secure a spot in heaven by becoming a saint, rather than a knight, but Quixote explains that “chivalry is a religion,” and knights can become saints as well. They approach El Toboso just as it becomes dark.
The book has made several tentative comparisons between Quixote’s belief in knight-errantry and religious belief. The comparison is especially significant because the novel was written just before the beginning of the Enlightenment, a period that emphasized reason and self-sufficiency over mysticism and faith.
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