Book II: Chapter LX - Chapter LXII Summaries
Don Quixote and Sancho head for Barcelona. Quixote remains anxious about Dulcinea's enchantment and because Sancho has not begun to whip himself, Quixote decides that he will do the whipping - even though the prophecy required that Sancho whip himself. When Sancho is asleep, Quixote tries to undo Sancho's pants, intending to whip him with Rosinante's reins. Sancho defends himself and pins Quixote to the ground. He releases Quixote only when the knight agrees to behave peaceably. Soon after, Sancho is frightened by legs and feet that are dangling from the trees. In the morning, it is clear that a band of robbers had been apprehended and hanged. Quixote and Sancho are corralled by a band of thieves soon after. These thieves are under the direction of Roque Guinart, who turns out to be a dignified man with a well-intentioned, albeit warped, ethical sense. Quixote and Sancho travel with Guinart and his men.
A young woman named Claudia approaches Guinart, on horseback. She is dressed in men's clothes having escaped town. She heard that her fiancé, Don Vicente, was planning to marry another woman and so she has shot him with the full rounds of two pistols, perhaps fatally. She worries that his family will take revenge against her father. Heading to town, Claudia discovers that that Don Vicente has been true and that she has killed him because of a false and vicious rumor. Don Vicente marries Claudia in his dying minutes, and Claudia joins a convent. Continuing on, Guinart escorts Quixote and Panza to the outer boundaries of the city of Barcelona. Roque Guinart has sent word of Don Quixote and Sancho Panza's arrival; the knight and squire are greeted in a friendly manner, though two boys play a prank causing Quixote and Panza to be thrown to the ground.
Quixote lodges with a wealthy gentleman named Don Antonio Moreno, who intends to play jokes on Quixote with care not to harm the knight. Don Antonio and his friends enjoy Sancho's witty remarks, as well. Later that night, Don Antonio speaks to Quixote privately, swearing him to secrecy. Don Antonio tells Quixote that he has a bronze head that was created by a Polish man who was "one of the greatest enchanters and wizards the world ever had," having been taught by the famous Escotillo. The head is mute on Fridays, but on all other days, it answers every question asked to its ear. Quixote is dressed and taken for a walk around town, but Don Antonio's men have pinned a parchment to Quixote's back reading: "This is Don Quixote de la Mancha." Quixote marvels at how everyone who walks past him says out loud "This is Don Quixote de la Mancha." Returning to Don Antonio's home, Don Quixote is the main amusement at a ball that is thrown by Don Antonio's wife. Don Quixote dances for a time, but then he sits down on the floor in the center of the dance hall. Sancho puts Quixote to bed.
The next morning, Don Antonio decides to experiment with the talking enchanted head. Don Antonio has told two of his friends about the ruse and they join him, along with Don Antonio's wife, two of her friends, Quixote and Sancho Panza. The group is marveled by the head's ability to answer various questions. The talking head is a machine of course, hollowed with an inner pipe, through which a man in another room answers the questions he has heard. Don Antonio keeps the head for a little more than a week, destroying it before he comes under the suspicions of the Inquisition.
Walking around the town, Quixote sees a sign that says "Here books are printed," and so he enters. Quixote spends some time with a translator. The printers are correcting a version of the Second Part of the Ingenious Gentleman Don Quixote de la Mancha, written by an inhabitant of Tordesillas. Quixote says that he is surprised that the book has not already been burned for its impertinence.
Don Quixote alludes to the story of the Gordian knot: When faced with the puzzle of untying this famed knot, Alexander the Great simply used his sword to unravel the riddle. Likewise, Quixote intends to take the direct route and whip Sancho, as opposed to waiting for Sancho to inflict the wounds upon himself. In Book I, Don Quixote was orthodox in his adherence to the chivalric narratives. Here, Quixote has become disillusioned and desperate. He argues that "the essence lies in [Sancho's] receiving [the lashes], come they from what hand they will." Don Quixote is hasty and self-serving in his reading of the prophecy. He seeks to read and interpret a message that is contrary to what was originally expressed. Sancho defends himself physically, but rhetorically as well. He appeals to the original reading of the prophecy: it was agreed that Sancho would whip himself.
This is interesting when we remember that when Quixote and Panza enter Barcelona, they are greeted as "not the spurious, the fictitious, the apocryphal, lately exhibited among us in lying histories but the true, the legitimate, the genuine, described to us by Cid Hamet Ben Engeli, the flower of historians." When Quixote strays outside of the original and "true" reading of his own history, he makes his own identity all the more vulnerable.
In the printing-house of Chapter LXII, Quixote sees the text of the Second Part of the Ingenious Gentleman Don Quixote de la Mancha, and he says that: "all fabulous histories are so far good and entertaining, as they come near the truth, or the resemblance of it; and true histories themselves are so much the better, by how much the truer." There are multiple deceptions taking place: the deception of the duke and duchess, the deception of Don Antonio and his friends, the deception of the Second Part.
Much like the horse, Clavileño, the talking head is a modern "machine" that becomes the instrument of deception. Like the "modern historiographer," the talking head tries to subvert and topple the pre-established truth. The talking head resembles a Classical statue, and according to Don Antonio's story, the talking head is "enchanted" - the work of a wizard. The talking head is false on two counts then: it is a fake antique, and it is a fake enchantment. Like Clavileño, the talking head is just another toy of the wealthy. At least, Don Antonio, in contrast to the Duke and Duchess, is careful not to harm or injure Don Quixote with any of his jests. Of course, Sancho is the only character in these chapters who seems to truly care about Don Quixote as an actual person. Sancho physically overpowers Quixote when the deranged knight tries to "untruss" Sancho's pants. It is clear at this point that Quixote's "natural order" of "master and man" is no longer applicable. Sancho is a squire only of his voluntary will. Of course, this has been true for some time now, but when Sancho pins Quixote to the ground, he makes this explicit. At the same time, Sancho physically dominates Quixote when he carries him from the dance floor (where Quixote, exhausted and confused, has been sitting) and puts him in bed. Sancho gives Quixote extra blankets so that Quixote "might sweat out the cold he might have got by his dancing." Sancho has become paternal.