Don Quixote Essay, Research Paper
In The Ingenious Gentleman Don Quixote De La Mancha, Miguel de Cervantes contrasted the way that Sancho P governed his island to the way that the Duke and Duchess governed their land. This theme was developed over the entirety of Part Two. The first reference to government can be seen when the curate and barber visit Don Quixote, who has been at home recuperating for a number of weeks. They all make observations of statecraft and abuses and how they can be remedied or ?…correcting this abuse, condemning that one, reforming one custom and banishing another…? (page 375) In this conversation Cervantes compares them to Lycurgus and Solon, both of whom were well known lawmakers from ancient civilizations.
Later on in the second part of the novel the Duke and Duchess make Sancho the governor of his own island. Their purpose for doing this seems to be solely for their own entertainment. However, Sancho took this task very seriously, and he asked Don Quixote for advice concerning how he should best run his new government. Topics that he explained to Sancho included fairness in administration, appropriate behavior for himself and his wife, pride in his lineage, fear in God, and most importantly to know thyself. Don Quixote writes this all down for Sancho, but he loses it and it eventually ends up in the hands of the Duke and Duchess.
Sancho took Don Quixote?s advice and he used it wisely to guide him through an initiation that the Duke and Duchess had set up for him. This consisted of three cases that he had to pass judgement on. The first one dealt with a tailor and an unsatisfied customer. The man who brought the cloth indirectly accused the tailor of cheating him out of fabric. In response to this, the tailor says that he will be able to make 5 caps out of the single piece of cloth. However, the customer was not happy when the tailor gave him back five caps that fit snugly one each of his fingers. The man wanted Sancho to grant him his goods back, while the tailor wanted the fee that he earned. Sancho concludes that both men were being unreasonable and he tells them both they will loose their time and fabric.
The second case consists of two men, one of whom owes money to the other. The man in debt says that he paid his loan off in full. When Sancho puts him under oath to say this, he hands the other man his walking stick and proceeds to say that he gave the man back the money that he was due. Upon hearing this, the other man gives back the staff and says that he must have been mistaken. On their way out Sancho calls them back and breaks the staff over his knee. At this time the money falls to the floor and the man is paid the money that is due to him.
The third and final case was the only one not conjured up by the Duke and Duchess. It dealt with a woman accusing a man of raping her. Upon hearing from both sides, Sancho awarded the woman the purse that belonged to the man. The lady was quite excited by this and she proceeded to take it and leave the hall. Sancho then told the man to go after her and to take his purse. A few minutes later, woman returned saying that now the man tried stealing from her. Upon hearing this, Sancho asked the man if he was able to take it from her, and he remarked that he was unable to. Realizing that the woman was indeed stronger that the man, and that she was able to defend herself well enough to prevent an attack against her, he gave the man back his wallet and banished the woman from the island. In all of these cases, Sancho used logic and reasoning to determine the best solution for the problem that was laid before him.
Another sign that Sancho took his role of governor seriously were the laws and regulations that he put into affect. Some of them were: the reduced cost of stocking and shoes, a fine for singing lewd and lascivious songs, outlawing peddlers, and specific legislation concerning the importing of wine. Contrary to this, Cervantes never mentions and legislation that