One chapter in Don Quixote that has readily grabbed my attention is the very last one before the end of part one; chapter fifty- two. The scene where Sancho throws himself over Don Quixote’s limp after the former has just received a most severe beating. To me, this is the perfect stopping point before part two begins. It shows that the friendship of Don Quixote and Sancho has culminated in a close bond and leaves the reader ‘feeling’ as though these two are really some exceptional men who deserve to be appreciated by the reader.
“,and they heard Sancho Panza, with tears in his eyes, saying: “Oh flower of knighthood, with only one blow from a club you ended the course of your so well-spent years! Oh, honor of your lineage, honor and glory, of all of La Mancha, and even the whole world, which with you missing from it, will be filled with evildoers who wont fear being punished for their wicked deeds.”
These ‘feelings’ that the reader will have upon reading this passage, I find quite tie into what John Jay Allen has to say in his book, “Don Quixote: Hero or fool?”, about the ‘fixed positions’ a reader is supposed to take while perusing the novel. According to Ruth El Saffer in her book review, Allen considers the reactions of a reader to be the author’s handiwork. In this way he suggests that Cervantes guided how we see Don Quixote and other characters .
“, Allen frees his study for consideration only of the relationship between reader, and character, showing how the author shapes the reader’s reactions and how a study of these reactions reveals the essential traits of the main character.”
In the scene I mentioned above, through sentiments invoked by the touching moment where Sancho grieves over Don Quixote’s fallen body. we are clearly directed to see Don Quixote in a different light. We visualize an old, yet upstanding man, who we simply cannot bear the thought of losing from our reading. Like it or not, he is our hero.
I think this was a very clever tool used by Cervantes. By promoting these sentiments he automatically creates a fan base who will be willing, if not longing, for a sequel to the first part. Despite all the ‘crazy’, even somewhat illegal things Don Quixote has done, we are left with warm feelings towards our main character.