Don Quixote Book II

Don Quixote Book II Summary and Analysis of Book II, Chapters 59

Book II: Chapter LIX Summaries

Chapter LIX

Continuing on the road, Quixote refuses to eat though Sancho encourages him to do otherwise. Quixote has been humiliated and he is resolved "to suffer myself to die with hunger, the cruelest of all deaths." Sancho insists that the knight's argument is nonsense. Changing the subject, Quixote reminds Sancho of Dulcinea's condition and he asks the squire to give himself a few hundred lashes. Sancho puts Quixote off and the two arrive at an inn (which Quixote does not mistake as a castle). Sancho is hungry but he ends up eating a bowl of calves' hooves. Don Quixote is invited to dine with two gentlemen, Señor Don Jerónimo and Señor Don Juan. Both men have read the first part of the History of Don Quixote de la Mancha. They are now discussing the Second Part of Don Quixote de la Mancha. Don Jerónimo expresses his disapproval with the Second Part, which is full of lies.

The gentlemen are excited to meet Don Quixote and Sancho Panza in the flesh because the knight and squire can answer the gentlemen's questions. Quixote is enraged because the Second Part argues that the knight is no longer in love with Dulcinea. Quixote looks at the first few pages and says that the new book is wrong and false. It is written in a poor dialect, the Preface is base, and the book alleges that Sancho is married to a woman called Mari Gutierrez. Because the Second Part says that Quixote will go to Saragossa, which is where he was headed, Quixote decides to go to Barcelona instead. Quixote wants to "expose to the world, the falsity of this modern historiographer." Don Juan and Don Jerónimo are impressed by Quixote's unique combination of wit and madness.


It is ironic that Quixote insists that his "motto is constancy," as Quixote has been consistently mad. But consistency and constancy are not the same. Quixote argues that he has always been the same person, albeit an erratic and unstable one. Quixote rarely changes his mind and he takes pleasure in the swearing and fulfilling his vows. In Book II, Quixote has enjoyed fame and the literate population seems to be familiar with his name. Now, Avellaneda's Second Part has reached from the real world and into Quixote's own universe.

We find humor and irony when we consider the grounds upon which Quixote attacks the false Second Part. First, Quixote says he is displeased by "some words I have read in the preface." Avellaneda's preface was an ad hominen attack on Miguel de Cervantes - the preface had very little to do with the actual story. In his preface, Avellaneda was unnecessarily savage, mocking Cervantes as a jealous and impoverished old man who had been imprisoned, excommunicated, and humiliated. Second, Quixote's reference to Avellaneda's "Aragonian" language is amusing when we consider that the "true" history was written by Cid Hamet, an Arab. Indeed, much of the "historiography" involving Cid Hamet's supposed book has focused on translation. Third, Quixote exposes the ignorance of the author of the Second Part, as evidenced by the fact that Sancho's wife is called Mari Gutierrez. The reader should recall the error of Book I, in which Teresa Panza is alternately referred to as Juana. Finally, Don Quixote refuses to read any more of the Second Part, beyond its Preface. This is because Quixote "was unwilling its author should have the pleasure of thinking [Quixote] had read itŠ the thoughts, and much more the eyes, ought to be turned from everything filthy and obscure." The following chapters indicate that Cervantes did indeed read Avellaneda's book. In contrast to Quixote's response, Book II engages with the Second Part using parody and satire to erase the Second Part's details.