A question I have been asking myself while reading the chapters this week is, “If you are around a mad person for long enough, do you become mad?”. Throughout the novel I have noticed an increasing similarity between Don Quixote and Sancho. Sancho seems to be becoming more and more like the ‘mad’ Don Quixote, especially in part two of the novel. This blog post will explore what I believe to be the source of this madness in Sancho as well as different ways in which it manifests itself.
To begin with, we need to study the relationship between Sancho and Don Quixote. At the beginning of the novel we saw a superficial attachment, with Sancho there for the money and fame, and Don Quixote ‘fulfilling’ the requirements to be a knight errant. As the novel progresses however, a real friendship begins to build between the two as we especially see in Sancho a keen loyalty to Don Quixote. Despite Don Quixote often leaving Sancho in perilous situations or at the mercy of evil men, Sancho, though mad at Quixote, always returns to his side. Towards the end of Part one especially, we see that Sancho really does care for Don Quixote as he cries over what he believes to be Don Quixote’s corpse.
In part two of the novel we see a change. The friendship between the two is often quite rocky and sometimes even toxic.
“Don Quixote turned a thousand colors, and his tanned skin looked quite mottled.”
The above quote speaks to Quixote’s clear shame and anger at Sancho when the later has just made somewhat of a fool of himself in front of the Duke and Duchess.
“And then he began to cry so bitterly that Don Quixote annoyed and angry, said to him: “What are you afraid of, cowardly creature? What are you crying about, heart of butter? Who is pursuing you, you who have the courage of a mouse?”
This passage is from during the water mills episode in which Sancho almost loses his life because of Don Quixote’s actions. In part two, as Sancho gains more of a voice and starts to imitate Don Quixote in speech and manner, we see an increases in the discourse between the two as well as a question about Sancho’s sanity in remaining with Don Quixote despite this. Although this situation is clearly not beneficial to Sancho, he seems unable to leave.
“If I were wise I should have left my master days ago…I can’t help it…I have to follow him.
In conclusion, I truly believe that Sancho continues to stay with Don Quixote despite the ‘abuse’ because he has a real affection for and fascination with his master. Sancho has become so enamored with the ideas Don Quixote has put forward, that he himself has started to believe some (such as Dulcinea’s enchantment) as adopted the mad qualities Don Quixote has.