After being welcomed into the Duke and Duchess’s castle, don Quixote makes no secret of the fact that he is embarrassed by Sancho Panza’s behavior and social status. Without realizing that he too is a source of amusement for the Duke and Duchess, don Quixote repeatedly insults the intelligence and class of his loyal squire. This is due to the fact that don Quixote is obsessively concerned with the impression he makes on the Duke and Duchess. It seems that don Quixote craves their approval and participation in his antics in order for him to feel validated as a knight-errant. When they are all seated at dinner together, Sancho offers to tell a story and “Scarcely had Sancho said this when don Quixote began to tremble, believing without any doubt that he was about to say something foolish” (736). Despite Sancho’s earnest dedication to him, don Quixote assumes the worst and has little faith in Sancho’s ability not to embarrass him in front of these nobles.
Don Quixote even goes so far as to say, “It’d be a good idea…for Your Highnesses to have this idiot ejected from here, because he’s going to say a thousand stupid things” (736). He completely betrays Sancho by advising that he be expelled from the castle due to his low intelligence and lack of manners. This is a selfish suggestion, especially given Sancho’s undying loyalty and selfless support throughout don Quixote’s adventures, and is pointless because the Duke and Duchess are already well aware of the events of Volume One. At this point, kicking Sancho out will not spare don Quixote’s sense of dignity. Yet, don Quixote persists, saying, “In the name of God, Sancho, restrain yourself, and don’t show your true character so they’ll see that you’re woven of course country stuff. Look, you sinner, a master is held in greater respect the more he has honored and well-mannered servants, and one of the advantages that princes have over other men is that they have servants who are as good as they are” (734). Don Quixote mercilessly name-calls Sancho, insulting his character, origins, and manners.
What don Quixote fails to see is that he has already made a fool out of himself, without any contribution from Sancho, through his own actions in Volume One and his continued gullibility. Still, he says to Sancho, “If they see that you’re a course bumpkin or an amusing idiot, they’ll think I’m some charlatan or some fraudulent knight” (734). Instead of recognizing the effect of his own behavior on his reputation, he focuses on the potential of Sancho’s mistakes reflecting poorly on him. No matter how much don Quixote mentally lifts himself up above Sancho, they are both “amusing [idiots]” to the Duke and Duchess (734).