Practice English Speaking&Listening with: 4. Don Quixote, Part I: Chapters XI-XX

Difficulty: 0

Prof: As I said in my last lecture,

and as you have already--I'm sure--seen,

the Quixote has two overarching plots.

One is the story of the mad hidalgo and his squire,

and the story about the writing of the novel.

The one about the insane Don Quixote will acquire coherence

after the fight with the Biscainer,

as Jarvis calls it in your translation,

because he and his squire will now be pursued by the Holy

Brotherhood-- I'll explain what the Holy

Brotherhood is-- and by the priest and the


His neighbors, the priest and the barber,

want to return Alonso Quijano to his home in that unnamed

village in La Mancha.

The episode about the lost manuscript and the search for

the balance of the story, the manuscript found and its

translation, follow themes mentioned in the

prologue about the book's authorship.

You will also have noticed how Cervantes plays with the

divisions of the chapters; they seem to be arbitrary,

they seem to be very whimsical.

These are all winks at the reader, telling him that this is

a very artful, artificial and fictional work.

Obviously, also many of these divisions were made after the

manuscript was finished; scholars have worked on this

and come to that conclusion.

In the context of the business of finding the manuscript,

and the balance of the story and all of that,

one could ask, who is the second most

important character in the Quixote?

Is it Sancho?

I think that it is the narrator, the narrator and his

various agents who appear throughout the novel.

That would be, to my mind, the second most

important character in the Quixote.

Now, in this playing with the manuscript,

and the lost manuscript, and all of that,

Cervantes is parodying the romances of chivalry,

where such devices appear: Oh!

This manuscript of this novel was found in a vault somewhere,

it was written by some sage, and so forth,

and Cervantes is parodying that.

Remember, a parody is a mocking imitation of the style of a

literary work or works ridiculing stylistic practices

by exaggerated mimicry.

In that sense, a parody is both a criticism

and an homage because it is a copy of something;

it is a distorted copy, but it is still a copy.

So the business of the unfinished manuscript and its

translation rekindles questions and issues that the narrator

opened in the prologue, that prologue that we discussed

a number of classes ago.

I will talk a little bit today about why all of these games of


But let us sort of recapitulate how many texts or virtual texts

we have so far.

We have the original text that was supposedly written in Arabic

by a lying Moorish historian called Cide Hamete Benengeli.

The second is the text of the translation that the narrator

pays for.

Then, a further text is the one that this narrator presumably

corrects and copies and rewrites and comments upon in the

margins, as you will see in several

episodes in the future.

But what about the manuscript up to chapter VIII and that


We have no idea how the narrator came about that

manuscript, so the text of those first eight chapters it is not

explained where it came from.

Now, this whole collection of manuscripts do not make a

coherent system; you can't reduce it to a

coherent system.

Yes, we have the first one, the second one,

the third one; it all remains vague and a

mystery, and besides,

we know that the whole thing is a joke beginning with the name

Cide Hamete Benengeli or berenjena.

What's a berenjena?

Student: Eggplant.

Prof: Eggplant.

That is to say, his last name could be


So it is a joke.

Now, why are Cervantes and his narrator establishing this

distance from their own text?

How does this distancing mesh with the authorial willfulness

we found in that first sentence, where the narrator says

"de cuyo nombre quiero acordarme,"

the name of which I purposefully omit,

referring to the village in La Mancha,

where Don Quixote or Alonso Quijano lives.

It is as if this modern author, Cervantes,

could not posit his own existence without radical

reservations, self doubts,

self doubts about himself as creator.

I have emphasized that this kind of ironic distancing has

echoes of Montaigne's self deprecatory irony,

also echoes of Erasmus's irony--I have only mentioned

Erasmus in passing, the great humanist Erasmus of

Rotterdam, who had many followers in Spain

and who wrote a book that may be one of the sources of the

Quixote, called In Praise of


It's a very, very ironic book,

it's not praising folly, it is doing so in a mocking

way, but it is that sort of mocking way that you find in


Now, it is as if Cervantes were removing the origin of the text,

were leaving it in a sort of cloud of mystery,

and that this is part both of the irony and of the joke.

Remember the quote from Lukács that I read in the

first lecture about this first modern novel emerging at a time

when the Christian God has abandoned the world.

You do not have the centeredness that you had in

the Divine Comedy, if you have read Dante.

In the Divine Comedy everything coheres because there

is a cosmological system and with the attendant symbolism

provided by the Catholic Church, by Catholic doctrine,

and so the self of Dante, the pilgrim is very much--even

though he's also like Don Quixote--

travelling within a coherent universe,

and, in fact, in the very middle of the

Divine Comedy the central verse of the Divine

Comedy alludes to Dante.

So Dante is at the center of this coherent universe.

This is not the case in the Quixote, and these authorial

games underscore that.

This is no longer the case.

Remember that this is, as I've been saying,

a post-Copernican world, a world in which the earth is

no longer at the center, therefore, "man,"

"mankind" is no longer at the center.

So this is what is at stake, as it were, in all of these


Again, these are very serious issues,

but Cervantes always presents them in a light humorous tone,

which is part of the irony itself, the humor,

the laughing at one self and the laughing at others.

So this is a very important element of the Quixote,

and one that it has in common with a very famous painting by

Diego Velázquez.

Diego Velázquez, the great Velázquez

about whom most of you must have heard.

And that painting--oh, oh, it's not very well

represented; it's kind of blurry--is Las

Meninas, The Maids of Honor.

Can we improve a little bit on the quality of that?

Maybe if we turn off the lights?

Well, that will help, too.

It's out of focus?

Is it better now?

It's better, but it's out of focus.

Can it be improved at all?

Student: I can see it clearly here,

so I don't know what to say...

Student: The lens of the projector might be out of


Prof: Oh, but it is way up there,

so we can't do anything with it, can we?

So I have brought both my pointer and, if you will excuse

me, this little flashlight so I can look at my notes.

I hope it's not distracting to you.

As I have perhaps mentioned before, I am a pilot,

and this is my pilot's flashlight.

You use it in the cockpit at night to look at charts and

stuff like that, and I thought that I could

improvise and use it for this.

Now, as you look at the painting--and I apologize for

the poor technology and I promise we will bring a better

one the next time or maybe I'll make a copy that I can


First of all, as you look at it,

think of what I mentioned before about Alberti's De

Pictura, the treatise on perspective.

Remember that I talked about Leon Alberti,

Leon Battista Alberti, 1404-1472, an Italian who wrote

this treatise on perspective.

He was an architect and wrote on architecture,

and I really encourage you to read this little treaty,

it's very brief, but it's very influential

because he laid down the basis for perspective in painting.

As you can see, we do have perspective here

because of the relative size of the figures as they move away

from the front.

So I just want you to take that into account.

Now, the relevance of Las Meninas to the

Quixote is essentially because of this issue of self


In both works, the creator has been given a

prominent place within the work and in both they appear in their

function as creators of the very work in question.

That is Velázquez.

And he is, obviously, in the act of painting,

as Cervantes appears within the Quixote in the act of

writing the novel.

Now, we look at Velázquez who looks a

little quizzical-- We will speak a little bit more

about his figure–and you can recall the words of

Cervantes in the prologue, when he wrote:

"I often took pen in hand and as often laid it down not

knowing what to say, and once upon a time,

being in deep suspense with the paper before me,

the pen behind my ear, my elbow on the table,

and my cheek on my hand thinking what I should


And you can think of Velázquez poised in a

similar way, as if thinking of what to paint

next, and also actually comparing his

models-- I'll speak about who the models

are-- to what he's painting,

but it's the same moment of doubt that we have in Cervantes.

It is kind of a visual aporia--Aporia is

a rhetorical figure to express doubt.

A-P-O-R-I-A--and a visual aporia in that

Velázquez seems to be hesitating what the next brush

stroke will be.

Now, Las Meninas seems to capture a moment,

and not a very significant moment, and that is significant

in itself.

How do we know that it's not a very significant moment?

Well, there are certain gestures, like this little girl

that just put a foot on the dog; these figures back here,

if we could see them more clearly you could see they're

engaged in a trivial conversation.

The princess is being offered, I think,

a glass of water of something by this maid,

and this man in the back is about to leave the room,

so it's an insignificant moment, it's a moment like those

in the Quixote, those many moments that are

contingent, serendipitous,

things just happened, not in a sequence,

but just caught, like a snapshot,

and that is what is important about this moment in which

Velázquez and all of these other people in the

painting are caught up.

Now, of the painting, we see only the back of the

painting, and we see the easel, the paints, the brush.

That is, we see the instruments to create the painting,

and, in fact, we are in Velázquez's

studio, his workshop,

so Velázquez is painting the inside of the workshop

within which the work of art is being created,

as we read about the manuscript being copied,

translated, and so forth, given the details about the

composition and the creation of the novel that we are reading.

This studio of Velázquez would be akin to Don Quixote's

library where he keeps the books that have turned him mad.

Now, the other important element, and perhaps the most,

is that the line between reality and fiction,

between life and art, has been abolished.

How so?

Well, who is the model of the painting?

Well, presumably the king and queen,

who are reflected on the back on that mirror,

but the models are truly ourselves as we position

ourselves in front of the painting.

In fact, the first time I saw this painting many years ago in

1969 to be exact-- now it's in a large room and

you can barely get to see the painting there are so many

tourists looking at it and guides talking about it and so

forth-- but when I saw it in 1969 at El

Prado Museum it was in a room-- the painting is much larger

than what you see here-- it was in a room for itself,

and the dimensions of the room and the way that the painting

was positioned the moment you walked in,

you walked into the painting, you became the model.

It was really uncanny the sensation that you had,

you really had the sense that you had walked into the painting

and you had become the painter's model,

you had become that which he was in the process of painting.

So here we are, becoming the model and there is

Velázquez within his own painting.

He was a genius, vain, a little lazy,


He's wearing the cross--I think it's of Calatrava--one of the

military orders.

You didn't become a member of the Calatrava just like that,

so he's a bit boastful, and there he is.

Now, all of the self-reflexive moves that we've seen in the

Quixote are the same here.

We see the painting as it were from behind, we see the

preparation of the painting but not the painting itself.

My late friend Severo Sarduy said that Las Meninas was

within Las Meninas but backwards,

the same way that in the Arabic manuscript of the Quixote,

presumably the Quixote is backwards,

because of course you write Arabic the other way--

It's a little bit too clever, perhaps,

but you get the idea that the painting is within the painting,

but you're not seeing the painting but how the painting

comes about.

We also have the issue of the multiple perspectives,

none of them complete.

That is, Velázquez can see us, can see the model,

he can see the rest of his studio.

The man in the back is the one with the most complete view,

because he can see the painting and he can see the model,

if indeed the models are the king and queen.

So, ironically, it is that man who is at that

point who has the most complete view.

I say ironically because I detect a pun on

Velázquez's part in that figure because that,

in terms of perspective, is more or less about the

point de fuite, in French, the vanishing point,

the punto de fuga in Spanish,

that is, point at the center and the depth of the

perspective, that is, the vanishing point,

and, ironically, in that punto de fuga is

a man about to leave, there is, I think,

a pun involved there-- or perhaps I am being just too

clever like my friend Sarduy.

But the idea is that no one has a complete perspective;

everything, everybody has a partial, incomplete perspective,

including the artist.

And this is fundamental because it makes for this ironic

incomplete view.

Remember, the greatest part of the irony in Cervantes is that

we only have a partial view of this infinite world,

this post-Copernican, now Galileo world--

Galileo who wrote around the same time,

and Galileo discovered the use of the telescope,

he discovered the infinite spaces--So our perspective is

always limited.

So in The Meninas the perspectives are all

limited, partial, and in that,

too, the painting and the novel are alike.

Now, Galileo--I think, I quoted him in an earlier

lecture, if not I'll quote him again.

He said: "The more we know,

the less we know," because he was discovering more

stars, more space, and he knew then

that it would be impossible to get to know all of space.

We're still in that situation although we have improved our


So what is the significance of all of this?

What I have just said, I mean the limits of human

knowledge, the limits of self knowledge, and what else?

We are the models, we are the models of the

painting, and Velázquez has given

himself a prominent position in a painting that should be a

painting of the king and queen, so he has usurped the place of

the king and queen.

He has given himself a more prominent position.

He has, as it were, erased them to put himself.

This is this ambivalent position of the modern writer,

or author, or painter, or artist, about his own

creative powers.

But he has put himself in the painting instead of those who

should be the models, the king and queen.

Furthermore, he has opened the space of the

model so that we, as we see the painting,

actually occupy the position of the king and queen.

This has all kinds of political implications,

you see, the king and queen have been removed,

and we, who are commoners, can occupy instead that

position, so in that sense this is a very

revolutionary painting.

This painting is saying: anybody can be king and queen;

by just stepping in front of my painting and becoming my model,

you become king and queen for that moment--

Remember, there was a show called 'Queen for a Day,' you

become queen for a day or king for a day,

you understand--So there has been a displacement of power

here, in Velázquez's painting,

by omitting the king and queen or by relegating them to the

back, to a reflection,

a very kind of blurry reflection made more blurry by

our poor copy here, of the king and queen.

So now, historically, if you will read your Elliott,

you will see that this reflects a real political situation in

Spain, meaning that,

in fact, the power of the monarchy has been diminished.

This painting is from 1656.

Remember, it's later than the Quixote,

but history didn't move that fast in the period,

so 1605 first Quixote, 1656,

fifty years give or take, but by the seventeenth century

the Spanish monarchy has been weakened.

It is in the hands of validos,

noblemen who occupied positions of power,

and the Hapsburgs were very disinterested in governance and

more in luxury, and all of that.

Velázquez painted the Hapsburgs in some of those

activities, hunting, and stuff like that,

but here, in this painting he has

eliminated them from the position of power,

he has placed himself at the center,

and he has allowed us commoners to occupy that position.

So this is the significance.

Now, the most important parallel to this will come in

Part II of the Quixote, but I will anticipate it here,

when Sancho Panza is made governor of a mock island,

and Sancho, by the way, performs well as a ruler.

So he, the commoner, has come to occupy the position

of ruler, and this is something similar to what is happening

here in Las Meninas.

So this is why this painting is so important in relation to

the Quixote.

But I also want you too, in anticipation,

look at this figure, here.

The kings of Spain, like many others,

including Aztec emperors, kept freaks in their court for

entertainment and for amusement midgets,

people deformed, and all of that.

Of course, this is, from our perspective,

horrendous, but it was practiced all over,

and Velázquez was fascinated by people who had

peculiar features, irregular features.

He painted midgets and so forth, and this is obviously a

deformed woman.

I think that she is important because Cervantes too was very

much interested in depicting strange individuals,

individuals who are not beautiful, but who have been

scarred by time and by life, and by bad luck, and so forth.

So when you get to the chapter in the inn,

and you read the descriptions of Maritornes,

the wenchy prostitute who creates that whole fracas at

night in the inn think of the face of this figure here flat

faced, deformed, and so forth,

because it's another correspondence,

a very important correspondence,

between Velázquez's aesthetics and Cervantes's


So much for now for Las Meninas.

We will go back to Velázquez later,

quite soon, as a matter of fact, to look at another one of

his masterpieces, but for now,

so much for Las Meninas, so we will go back to having


both artificial and a little bit of natural light.

The one thing that I failed to mention is that,

as you notice, in looking at the painting,

Velázquez has given himself an important position

within the painting, but it's not a central

position, he is in an oblique position,

as it were, a lateral position.

This emphasizes his ambiguity of the power of creation of the

modern author and at the same time the self doubt,

the self doubt that the self reflexivity expresses.

So it is, I think, noteworthy that he is on the

side as it were, and the creator is looking

obliquely at the model, in the same way that Cervantes

says that he is father or stepfather of his work.

Remember, what he said in the 1605 prologue that we talked

about in one of the first classes,

the obliqueness of Velázquez's position

within the painting is similar to that obliqueness of whether

he's father or stepfather, and so forth.

So we go back now to the Quixote.

Now, after the episode with the Biscainer, the Basque,

when Don Quixote injures this man in this fight,

Sancho is very apprehensive.

He is sure that they're now going to be pursued by the Holy


They, Don Quixote and Sancho, move in a world of alienation,

of madness, of unsociability and how can society deal with

Don Quixote's madness, real society.

Now, this issue is highlighted by the presence of civil law in

the book.

Sancho knows that they're being pursued by the Santa Hermandad,

and who was the Santa Hermandad or Holy Brotherhood?

This was a vigilante police force that the Catholic kings

had created, Ferdinand and Isabella, if you remember your



Remember they invested a lot of effort in trying to unify the

Spanish peninsula, but, as I've mentioned,

Spain is divided in several regions with different cultures

and languages and exemptions from the law,

where royal authority, just like the federal law in

this country, could not reach because of

those exemptions that these regions had.

Therefore, the Catholic kings created a police that could go

through those regional boundaries and apprehend


The Holy Brotherhood was in charge of the roads because the

roads were under the purview of the crown,

and they were parallel to another institution that the

Catholic kings created, that also could police all of

the peninsula; the Holy Inquisition.

The Inquisition could police regions other than Castile;

that is Galicia, the Basque countries,

and so forth, and so could the Holy


The Holy Brotherhood were feared because they could not

only apprehend you, but try you and execute you on

the spot, and Sancho says that he all

ready hears their arrows buzzing in his ears.


Because Sancho is vulnerable to the Holy Brotherhood,

whereas Don Quixote, as an hidalgo,

feels that he's protected from the law.

So Sancho is the one, if you will notice,

who insists that they are being pursued by the Holy Brotherhood,

and that they have to hide in the hills,

and so forth.

The Holy Brotherhood--sorry to give away the plot--will

eventually apprehend them but let them go at the end of Part


Now, the members of the Holy Brotherhood were just ordinary

people who were engaged in this police force.

So we move now to the adventure with the goat herds and the

speech on the golden age, that is one of the more famous

episodes of Part I.

Now, this is an episode like others,

in which a contrast is established between what Don

Quixote has in his head from having read so many books and

the real world around him.

He thinks that these goatherds are like shepherds of the

classical tradition, and this is what makes him

think of the golden age when there is now mine or thou,

there is no private property, there is only goodness,

and man lives at one with nature, and he delivers this

beautiful speech which is filled with all kinds of clichés

from the classical tradition to these goatherds,

who don't understand what he is talking about at all.

What is the connecting thread between that idealized reality,

that idealized world in Don Quixote's head,

and the reality of these goatherds who are listening to

the speech and not understanding a thing that Don Quixote is


The one thing that connects the two--and it goes back to one of

the points that I've made before--is the goatherds'


They are kind.

That is, that which has not changed from those classical

idealized times and the present, is the kindness of people.

And remember that I said that Cervantes likes to depict people

from the lowest classes being kind to each other and to Don


They have not reacted to Don Quixote's appearance,

which is striking, to say the least,

for this man to suddenly show up dressed in armor and speaking

this way, and they have allowed him to

sit with them, to share their food and their

drink, and to be involved in their

life; so there is a sharp contrast,

but also a commonality here, the people, the goatherds are

kind to Don Quixote and allow him to be what he wants,

even if they did not understand what it is that he is talking


Now, this is the first of several post-prandial speeches

in the Quixote.

This is another one of these words that I'm going to teach

you in this class so that you can be very pedantic Yalies in

the present and in the future, post-prandial simply means an

after dinner speech.

So, what is the significance of these post-prandial speeches and

what do they have to do with the theme of Don Quixote's speech?

Well, after dinner speeches celebrate the defeat of the

world, that is, of animals and plants,

and end of work, and there having been turned,

plants and animals, into food.

Here they're eating some meet, they're drinking some wine,

which is like the blood of the earth,

they're passing the wine around, and they are enjoying

the fruits of their labor at the end of the day,

they're celebrating the end of work and rest.

And there is a connection, of course,

between the eating, and the talking,

and the speech, oral activities,

both pleasurable activities, so this is the connection

between these post-prandial speeches,

between the food and the speaking, in others there will

be much more merriment and so forth,

but this is a reoccurring theme in the Quixote.

There is a great deal about food in Don Quixote,

and in some cases food and language actually coalesce,

most memorably when Don Quixote and Sancho vomit on each other

after the episode of the sheep, when they vomit on each other,

and it is as if food and language have come one and they

have a dialogue between them: I vomit on you,

and you vomit on me, and that is a form of

dialogue-- I know it's not very palatable

to think about that, especially if you just had

lunch--but this is the significance here of speech and


But the most significant part, of course,

is the contrast between Don Quixote's ideas and

clichés drawn from the classical tradition and the real

every day life of these goatherds,

who also serve as a transition towards the Marcela and

Grisóstomo episode, in which the whole theme of the

pastoral will be taken up at, you could say,

a higher literary level.

The stakes are much higher in the Grisóstomo and

Marcela episode because, of course, the death has

occurred and there is a real conflict.

So I think that the transition here is smooth.

The transition is made smoother by the figure of Vivaldo,

who--I'm sure you remember--who's the man with

whom Don Quixote engages in conversation about the nature of

knighthood, and so forth,

and they all anticipate, because they have been told by

the goatherds, and so forth,

about this conflict involving the death of Grisóstomo.

So we move to that episode in which the main theme appears to

be that of free will.

The theme of free will is the main theme,

but unattendant, a very important theme is also

that, again, of literature,

literature and its effects, because Marcela and

Grisóstomo are figures that are counterparts to Don

Quixote in their relationship to literature,

because both Marcela and Grisóstomo--

but mostly Marcela--want to play act a literary role.

She wants to be a shepherdess and take to the hills,

and of course, Grisóstomo does the same

to pursue her, but also Grisóstomo,

and in this he is also like Don Quixote, is a reader;

not only a reader, he's a student from the

University of Salamanca, a former student,

a graduate, and a poet.

So the stakes here, as I say, I repeat are much

higher, and it is almost as if literature were on trial.

We can remember what the scene is.

Grisóstomo has committed suicide.

It is not said straight forwardly because suicide is a

mortal sin, and Cervantes is writing within

the context of very Catholic Spain and he can't just write it

directly that Grisóstomo committed suicide,

but the words used in the text, 'desesperado,' he became

desperate, he was desperate,

all point out to the fact that he committed suicide,

he committed suicide because Marcela spurned him.

But what is amazing here is the very detailed socioeconomic

context of the episode.

In this sense, Cervantes is anticipating

Balzac, the great nineteenth century

French novelist who gave very, very specific details about the

economic situation of his characters.

And here we have that, because we learn that Marcela

is very rich; she's the daughter of William

the Rich, her mother died giving birth to

her, and then William the Rich died

and left Marcela entrusted to an uncle--

to a brother, I guess, of his--who's a

priest, and who will administer her

estate until she gets married.

Women could not hold property out right, and the moment that

she married the estate would pass over to her husband.

In the case of Grisóstomo,

who is no longer a youth, as we will meet later in the

book; he's all ready thirty years old

when he dies because, when Don Quixote leans over to

look at the cadaver he says, "I saw a man of about


Grisóstomo is also rich.

He has inherited a great deal of property and lands and

animals and so forth, and so it seems as if this were

a perfect match.

He is of noble lineage.

She's not, but this would not be an impediment and it would

not bring down the line as it were because nobility was passed

on in Castilian laws through the male.

So Cervantes has created a situation here for a perfect

marriage in a small village, these two rich young people

would marry and create a larger even estate.

It could become a mayorazgo--a word that

you will learn about a little more later--an entailed state.

Now, what intervenes?

What intervenes is Marcela's desire to become a shepherd,

to spurn all of her many suitors, and Grisóstomo's

mad pursuit of her.

Grisóstomo is a poet.

We learn that because his poem is read at the funeral,

a typical Petrarchan canzone.

He is also the one who writes the autos sacramentales,

the allegorical plays on Corpus Christi day,

so he did a religious play that relates about the Eucharist.

He's a cosmographer, he can tell what the weather is

going to be or the future and all of that.

He's a kind of a budding Faust--Goethe Faust,

in the nineteenth century--in that he wants to foretell the


He's madly in love, he's a poet,

he has all of these qualities, all of these sort-of-demonic

qualities that lead him to desperation and to suicide.

In fact, he wants to be so much in control that he has prepared

his burial in such a way that it is almost like a play.

He wants to be buried where he met Marcela, not in consecrated

ground, all of this raises the eyebrows of the church in the

town, the narrator says.

His whole burial and funeral is going to be like an auto

sacramental, like one of these plays that he

wrote, and his body would be the main

prop and the protagonist.

So we see other characteristics of these characters.

Meanwhile, Marcela appears at the funeral and delivers a very

spirited defense of herself, using very precise forensic

rhetoric, that is legal rhetoric and

legal terms to defend herself, and the issue becomes who is

right at the end.

The women characters in Cervantes are very active and

want to take their own destiny in their own hands,

and Marcela is an example.

So one could say Marcela is right, and this is what Don

Quixote determines, Don Quixote acts as a judge and

he says: Wait, because when she leaves and

runs into the hills people want to pursue her,

he says, no, no, no, no; he says:

I will defend her right to be free.,

she has proven beyond any doubt that she had no culpability

whatsoever in the fate of Grisóstomo,

and so she should be free.

So, is she right?

Is she right, or has Marcela also acted with

a somewhat selfishness by wanting to become a literary


To go around in the woods and playing at being a shepherdess,

not marrying, these two have squandered--

their estates--have squandered this possibility...

Well, it is not as clear as it would seem.

The question, I think, remains open.

Grisóstomo has died, he has killed himself.

Marcela has sort of suffered a civil death,

a civil death in the sense that she has run into the woods,

into the hills, into the thickest parts of the

hills, the text says,

and we don't know what's going to become of her there separated

from society, playing this literary role.

And so, I think, the end of the episode leaves

us with a sense of ambiguity, we have to decide,

as we did in the Andres episode,

before but it's not clear as it seems.

It also seems that the episode is inviting us to consider the

effects of literature.

That is, literature has given Marcela,

and also in a sense Grisóstomo,

the idea that absolute freedom is possible,

that you can live your dreams, that you can live out your

desires, and obviously this is a

dangerous proposition which can lead to the kind of conflict

that we have here.

Remember, the one passing judgment at the end is a madman.

Don Quixote has passed judgment because, in a way,

he is like Marcela and he defends Marcela's right to be

insane like him and to act out.

Now, this whole episode, in a way,

concludes on a very hilarious note which is the next episode,

the next episode in which they're going to the woods,

where Marcela has escaped, and they find a locus

amoenus, which is a common place in

literary art and literature, a very pleasant place that is

with grass, with shade, with water,

a running brook making a pleasant sound,

and so forth.

And what do we have, what happens here?

We have here the translation sort of this amorous episode

into animal love, when poor Rocinante,

who doesn't seem to be strong enough to harbor such desires,

meets some mares that are being also put there to graze,

and have water by some men from Yanguas--

these are Galicians.

We've met now people from various regions in Spain--and

what happens?

When poor Rocinante approaches the mares,

as the text says, to communicate his desires to

them, they meet him with hoofs,

they kick him, and then their keepers come and

beat the daylights out of poor Rocinante,

and Don Quixote and Sancho try to intervene,

and they are also beaten up by these people.

This is the conclusion in a way of the Grisóstomo and

Marcela episode, but in a humorous key.

Cervantes likes to work with this contrast and with this

transposition of something that was very serious and even somber

in the Grisóstomo and Marcela episode into this

slapstick comedy episode of poor Rocinante trying to seduce the

mares and being kicked viciously.

So I think that this is the end of the Marcela and

Grisóstomo episode.

The last comment on it as it were.

Now, the knight and his squire themselves are about to enter

into the thick of the novel, which will be a counterpoint

between the Sierra Morena-- that is, these hills into which

they go-- fleeing from the Holy

Brotherhood, and also because Don Quixote wants to do penance

for Dulcinea, a wilderness like the one in

which Marcela was lost, a counterpoint between that and

Juan Palomeque's inn, the inn where the fracas

happened before with Maritornes, and so forth,

which will become a temple, a courthouse,

and where the complicated love stories in Part I,

and you will see how many complicated love stories ensue

will be resolved in that inn, and so that is what we are

going to move into in the next classes.

The Description of 4. Don Quixote, Part I: Chapters XI-XX