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Discussion - Don Quixote > Week 7 - Book 2 through chapter 33

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message 1: by Everyman (new)

Everyman | 7718 comments Moving onward, deeper into Book 2.

It seems to me that in the first 17 chapters, and now into these chapters, DQ meets a lot more "normal" people than he met in Book 1. He is entertained in what seems to be a fairly traditional fashion by several couples.

Furthermore, he seems to exhibit more sensible bravery in these chapters than in Book 1.

I'm not sure what's going on, but the difference between Book 1 and Book 2 seems fairly striking to me. Does it to anybody else?


thewanderingjew | 184 comments Everyman wrote: "Moving onward, deeper into Book 2.

It seems to me that in the first 17 chapters, and now into these chapters, DQ meets a lot more "normal" people than he met in Book 1. He is entertained in wha..."


I find part 2 is more intense. The dialogue between SP and DQ seems more confrontational. DQ's madness seems more well known. He is received well by the Duke and Duchess but they are fully aware of his foolish behavior and although they seem to enjoy entertaining them both, they mock them, as well. I find that behavior odd. Weaker people appear to be sport for stronger citizens or those who have more control. Perhaps this book is really a commentary on the human condition, as you mentioned in another post. Although the citizens he meets appear more normal, they simply seem to exercise the same behavior in a "finer manner". So...who or what is normal?


message 3: by Everyman (new)

Everyman | 7718 comments thewanderingjew wrote: "I find part 2 is more intense....DQ's madness seems more well known."

Based, it seems to me, on Cervantes's assumption that some of the characters Quixote meets have either read Part 1 and know about his madness, or have heard about him from people who have read him.

This convoluted process of having a character in a novel discussed by people who have read about him in an earlier novel fascinates me. I haven't totally wrapped my mind around it.

It's different from but also somewhat on the same level as having Odysseus meet the shades of characters from the Iliad in the underworld, and discuss their stories with them. Of course, for Homere these were real people and real events they were talking about, but it still smacks of the same sort of approach, later adopted by Virgil and then, of course, taken to extremes by Dante.




message 4: by Thomas (new)

Thomas | 4409 comments Everyman wrote: "It's different from but also somewhat on the same level as having Odysseus meet the shades of characters from the Iliad in the underworld, and discuss their stories with them. Of course, for Homere these were real people and real events they were talking about, but it still smacks of the same sort of approach, later adopted by Virgil and then, of course, taken to extremes by Dante."

Which leads quite nicely into a discussion of the Cave of Montesinos. I love this scene, but I'm not sure if it's meant to be taken seriously. Is it just a parody of classical underworld journeys, like those of Odysseus or Orpheus? Or does it tell us something new about DQ? He seems to emerge from the cave a different man -- or at least sincerely affected by the experience. Does anyone want to take a stab at the symbolism?




message 5: by Dianna (new)

Dianna | 393 comments I think things are starting to pull together for me. There is so much going through my head I want to write a thesis. Stuff about eternity, class, virtue, etc. I think, from reading as far as I have read and reading notes that other people have written that the first part may be a picture of common people in general while the second part may be a picture of people who have obtained value in the eyes of the world. I think maybe, though I haven't read past chapter vi yet, DQ is saying that it doesn't matter how much money or material things you possess, it is how you act and what you do with what you have.


thewanderingjew | 184 comments Dianna wrote: "I think things are starting to pull together for me. There is so much going through my head I want to write a thesis. Stuff about eternity, class, virtue, etc. I think, from reading as far as I ..."

Might it not also be showing how money or greed corrupts and how position blinds a person to the humanity of others? I think it says a lot about how people behave and feel in all levels of society.


message 7: by Peregrine (last edited Aug 21, 2009 10:19AM) (new)

Peregrine There's a level of deception in Book 2, from the duke and duchess, subtle and sophisticated because it layers on top of the self-deception of Don Quixote and Sancho. People aren't beating the two up so much anymore; they're messing with their minds. I worry more about Sancho, if and when the nobles' deception is discovered, because he has fewer options to deal with humiliation than does Don Quixote, both societally and internally.

I am enjoying Book 2 more than I did Book 1. Some of this is because there's much less blood and violence now, but most of it is because I'm getting to know the thoughts and feelings of the two main characters. They're closer to being three-dimensional than they were as the cartoon characters of Book 1. Don Quixote is thoughtful, intelligent, learned, and enjoys solitude. Sancho has great affection for his donkey, a different human/animal relationship than most in the book, and he is starting to exercise his own brain.


thewanderingjew | 184 comments Peregrine wrote: "There's a level of deception in Book 2, from the duke and duchess, subtle and sophisticated because it layers on top of the self-deception of Don Quixote and Sancho. People aren't beating the two u..."

As I near the end I am having a not too pleasant revelation. Nothing has changed. It seems like beauty, wealth and power (possibly in that order) were worshiped above all, during Cervantes time, over all things intellectual. When I think of the world today, I am horrified. It seems like we have not moved very far along. Letters are not revered as much as strength of arms, beautiful actresses, strong athletes and those in power, regardless of whether or not they are the best examples for the civilized world, are honored far more often by the masses than those who actually create the technology that saves their lives and religion continues to be a divisive force.


message 9: by Laurel (new)

Laurel Hicks (goodreadscomlaurele) | 2438 comments thewanderingjew wrote: "Peregrine wrote: "There's a level of deception in Book 2, from the duke and duchess, subtle and sophisticated because it layers on top of the self-deception of Don Quixote and Sancho. People aren't..."

Human nature stays the same.




message 10: by thewanderingjew (new)

thewanderingjew | 184 comments Laurele wrote: "thewanderingjew wrote: "Peregrine wrote: "There's a level of deception in Book 2, from the duke and duchess, subtle and sophisticated because it layers on top of the self-deception of Don Quixote a..."

Yes it does, and isn't it sad? We worship the frivolous.


message 11: by thewanderingjew (new)

thewanderingjew | 184 comments Patrice wrote: "I've finally re-read the Cave of Montesinos. I keep wishing I could organize my posts but maybe it is the nature of the book that prevents me from having a clear, organized understanding. At leas..."

well done, you are head and shoulders above me!


message 12: by Peregrine (new)

Peregrine I took it as two things. The first is as another bit of variety used for readers' entertainment. The other is to be able to show that the great villain whom DQ had released from heavy chains had used his second chance well.


message 13: by Peregrine (new)

Peregrine I mean, Gines is a fake fortuneteller as well as a pretty good puppeteer, it seems, but as a fortuneteller he uses people's own credulity against them. A much lower level of scam. I'm thinking, too, that as many people would probably think the character of Gines real as people nowadays identify actors with their characters. Cervantes may have been saying, slyly, that people don't need to watch out for a vicious criminal on the loose, but they should watch out for fortunetellers.


message 14: by Thomas (new)

Thomas | 4409 comments Patrice wrote: "Now I know why I missed it. It's in the next chapter that the puppetmaster is revealed as Gines. Now it all makes sense to me. I believe Gines is Cervantes. He mentions that he wrote a very lon..."

Pedro's performance is the "true history" of Don Gaiferos as he frees Melisendra from the Moors -- not unlike the "true history" of Don Quixote as he attempts to free Dulcinea from the clutches of enchantment, and in that respect I think you're right!

What I find especially funny is how DQ criticizes the performance -- he tells the narrator to tell his story "in a straight line and do not become invovled in curves or transverse lines, for to get a clear idea of the turth, one must have proofs and more proofs." DQ requiring proofs is ironic in itself, of course, but it's also interesting that Book 2 seems to take this advice to heart when compared to Book 1.

A few paragraphs later DQ tells master Pedro that he is "incorrect in the matter of the bells, for the Moors do not use bells..." to which Pedro's response is that it doesn't matter, "as long as I fill my purse there can be more errors than atoms in the sun." Interesting, in that Pedro (Gines) seems to have been responsible for the "error" in Book I regarding the missing donkey.

These seem to be reflections on the art and the problems of narration, so it seems natural that they reflect back on Cervantes as well. Perhaps they are a response to criticisms of the first book?




message 15: by Dianna (new)

Dianna | 393 comments Wow! That is very interesting. I just got done reading about how he "fights" the lion. I'm way behind but I will catch up.


message 16: by Dianna (new)

Dianna | 393 comments I am not sure what to make of the lion "fight" Patrice. Now he just came up out of the cave and he is telling them all about what happened down there.
I still think it all might be some kind of attack on Christian dogma. The lion is one of the symbols of Jesus in the Bible.


message 17: by thewanderingjew (last edited Aug 26, 2009 07:33PM) (new)

thewanderingjew | 184 comments Dianna wrote: "I am not sure what to make of the lion "fight" Patrice. Now he just came up out of the cave and he is telling them all about what happened down there.
I still think it all might be some kind of ..."


Yet he symbolically defeats the lion so perhaps it has other meanings besides that of an attack. For instance, Christians used to be fed to the lions so perhaps it was indicative of Christianity's ultimate success or if he is supposed to be a converso, perhaps it means he is reasserting his Jewish heritage.


message 18: by Thomas (new)

Thomas | 4409 comments The word that is repeated over and over again in the lion episode is "reckless." It reminded me of the "Man Who Was Recklessly Curious" in Book One. Anselmo needlessly tempts fate, as does DQ with the lions. I'm not sure what the lions symbolize, but I thought it was funny that the lion "turned his back, and showed his hindquarters to Don Quixote." Maybe that's Cervantes' version of "turning the other cheek." :)


message 19: by Laurel (new)

Laurel Hicks (goodreadscomlaurele) | 2438 comments Dianna wrote: "I am not sure what to make of the lion "fight" Patrice. Now he just came up out of the cave and he is telling them all about what happened down there.
I still think it all might be some kind of attack on Christian dogma. The lion is one of the symbols of Jesus in the Bible."


Be sober, be vigilant; because your adversary the devil, as a roaring lion, walketh about, seeking whom he may devour: 1 Peter 5:8


message 20: by Thomas (new)

Thomas | 4409 comments Patrice wrote: "Thomas or anyone else who's brave, have yo u tried to decipher the Descartes/Cave article I mentioned? I just read it for the second time and while I have a feeling he's saying something really go..."

Ultimately I think the author is just contrasting DQ's unquestioning faith with Descartes' system of doubt. It's not a very fruitful comparison in my opinion, since as the author admits at the end, "Thus it would not, for me, do any good to object that Cervantes in Don Quixote seems to refute an argument which he could not have known."

That said, the Cave of Montesinos episode almost begs for Descartes' dream argument to be referenced, even though I don't find it at all helpful in understanding the episode. Just my 2 maravedis.




message 21: by Dianna (new)

Dianna | 393 comments Thanks Laurelle.

You made me think. I looked up "Jesus symolized as a lion" and found this interesting article. I would like to paste it for others to read. It is written by someone named Nikola Dimitrov:

Jesus lion of Judah. The reason Jesus identifies Himself as the lion of the tribe of Judah is manifold:

1. The Lion is first of all a symbol of God (Hosea 5:14; 11:10; 13:7-8). Of course, satan being an imitator of God, also is symbolized by the lion in 1 Peter 5:8, but first and foremost, the lion as the “king of animals” and strongest among beasts (Proverbs 30:30) remains God’s choice.

2. The Lion is also a symbol of Israel (Numbers 23:24; 24:9). Again, because of imitator-devil, the lion is used as a symbol of Babylon too (Daniel 7:4).

3. The Lion is a symbol of Judah (Genesis 49:9) and hereby, the famous Bible scripture from Revelation 5:5 Then one of the elders said to me, "Do not weep! See, the Lion of the tribe of Judah, the Root of David, has triumphed. He is able to open the scroll and its seven seals."

4. The Lion is a symbol of the Kings of Israel (Ezekiel 19) and of course, Jesus is the King of kings. By the way, again the demonic imitation of this would be the lion as a symbol of the Pharaoh – King of Egypt and the world system (Ezekiel 32:2).

Can you see by these how the devil is trying to rival God always – first in His Person, then in His chosen nation of people (spiritual and natural Israel as contrasted by spiritual and natural Babylon), then in God’s tribe of Praise and war (spiritually) and finally in the area of rulership and kingship.

That’s why Jesus the Lion of Judah and Israel, King and God is THE ORIGINAL, while the devil lion of Babylon and Pharaoh is the poor, poor IMITATION.

God Bless You!

Nikola




message 22: by Dianna (new)

Dianna | 393 comments I found it interesting that she says the devil is a poor imitation. Maybe Cervantes is telling us that the words in a book are a mirror of life and we can see in them whatever we want to see.


message 23: by Dianna (new)

Dianna | 393 comments Maybe they had been declawed and didn't have any teeth lol I don't know.

Maybe it is a symbol of the powerful church that loses its power in the face of reason. Just thoughts off the top of my head.


message 24: by Laurel (new)

Laurel Hicks (goodreadscomlaurele) | 2438 comments Dianna wrote: "Thanks Laurelle.

You made me think. I looked up "Jesus symolized as a lion" and found this interesting article. I would like to paste it for others to read. It is written by someone named Nik..."


Excellent, Dianna!


message 25: by Eliza (new)

Eliza (elizac) | 94 comments Patrice wrote: "Thomas, my very first impression of that lion episode was that it was about being irrational and reckless. the discussions of recklessness, I believe come straight from Aristotle,. Virtue is the ..."

I think there is probably a connection to the story of Daniel and the lions den. Bear with me through a short recap:

Daniel is given the gift of knowledge by God he uses that gift to interpret dreams for King Nebuchadnezzer and the writing on the wall for King Belshazzar,so when king Darius takes the throne Daniel is highly favored. Other jealous of him try to find some charge against him and when they can't find a legitimate one they convince the king to make a decree that no one can petition any god or man for thirty days except the king. Daniel who had true faith in God continues to pray three times daily and is caught and sentenced to death in the lion's den. Because of his faith God send an angel to shut the lion's mouth and Daniel emerges the next day unharmed

I felt that the adventure of DQ and the lions was about standing up for what you believe in, that if you have faith in something you are compelled to act in a certain way regardless of the consequences. Dq says after he "vanquishes the lion"

"I, then, since it is my fortune to be counted in the number of knights errant, cannot help but attack all things that seem to me to fall within the jurisdiction of my endeavors; and so, it is my rightful place to attack the lions which I now attacked although I knew it was exceedingly reckless, because I know what valor means; it is a virtue that occupies a place between two wicked extremes, which are cowardice and temerity, but it is better for the valient man to touch on and climb to the heights of temerity then to touch on and fall to the depths of cowardice; ..." (p566 Grossman)



message 26: by thewanderingjew (new)

thewanderingjew | 184 comments Eliza wrote: "Patrice wrote: "Thomas, my very first impression of that lion episode was that it was about being irrational and reckless. the discussions of recklessness, I believe come straight from Aristotle,...."

Wouldn't it be nice if we all lived our lives with such principles? So, was he really mad or simply a righteous man?


message 27: by Thomas (new)

Thomas | 4409 comments thewanderingjew wrote: "Wouldn't it be nice if we all lived our lives with such principles? So, was he really mad or simply a righteous man? "

I think we touched on this at the beginning of the book -- the question of first principles. Is loyalty to faulty principles a virtue? Could we get behind and cheer for a person who insists in the most honest and heartfelt way that the earth is flat? Or someone who denies documented historical facts like the moon landing or the holocaust? No, we could not. Or at least I certainly can't. But we do cheer for Don Quixote, whose beliefs are also quite deranged, but are also essentially good. Why do we do this, knowing that there is no substantial basis for his core belief? Is it the principle of his belief (which is delusional) or his heartfelt and sincere defense of it?


message 28: by thewanderingjew (new)

thewanderingjew | 184 comments Thomas wrote: "thewanderingjew wrote: "Wouldn't it be nice if we all lived our lives with such principles? So, was he really mad or simply a righteous man? "
I think we touched on this at the beginning of the bo..."

Patrice wrote: "Isn't the answer that his "beliefs are essentially good"?
"


Perhaps in his madness we find DQ a symptathetic figure and therefore we are more supportive of him but I think if one is not mad and follows principles of ethics and morality rather than personal greed and desire, that is still a good thing and far better than someone who sacrifices principles, just to bring greater pleasure to themselves at the expense of others, i.e. Madoff.
DQ's beliefs were more about protecting people from sources beyond their control. Perhaps that is why some of us identified sympathetically with his efforts even though, in truth, he brought harm to others through them because his behavior was deranged. He apologized and often made recompense, but he still caused damage and pain.
The way the book was written, however, his efforts almost seemed justified, since the so called "sane" people seemed to make sport of hurting others and he only hurt others in an effort to protect not "play" with them. He did not think that because he was of a higher class or stronger or more powerful, that he was entitled to mistreat and abuse others. I can surely support those types of principles.
Although perhaps DQ made up the causes he fought for and they were based on delusions rather than reality or scientific right and wrong, which seems more open to contention anyway, we could say today that some people are delusional fighting for or against universal health care since it is a moral imperative perhaps, but is it a universal "right" for others to provide?
DQ touches on so many philosophical issues that have occurred throughout history that it must create amazing possibilities for far reaching discussion of other topics, in a different setting than this. Ours tends to restrict us because our comments are not subject to immediate intense scrutiny and exploration so they can therefore be misinterpreted or viewed as offensive, taking on a life of their own, when they are merely meant to invite discussion to explore all sides of an issue.
I have, however, enjoyed this discussion and I thank Everyman for providing all of us with the opportunity to do so.



message 29: by Thomas (new)

Thomas | 4409 comments thewanderingjew wrote: "Perhaps in his madness we find DQ a symptathetic figure and therefore we are more supportive of him but I think if one is not mad and follows principles of ethics and morality rather than personal greed and desire, that is still a good thing..."

Perhaps what we mean by belief in this context is really intention. One could argue that DQ's intentions are always good, insofar as chivalry is devoted to benevolence and the protection of the innocent. But his practice of chivalry ignores certain realities, and this is where good intentions can go off the road.

I think the health care debate is a good example (without getting political about it, I hope.) We can all agree that universal health care is a good thing in itself, and that those who propose it have every good intention. But while opponents agree that it is a good thing and agree that the current system needs reform, they say that it will fail for practical reasons. They don't object to the idea, they object to the way it would be implemented, and by whom.

Maybe what it boils down to is idealism vs. reality, or in broad philosophic terms, Plato vs. Aristotle, (as Patrice noted early in our discussion.) In some respects you can't have one without the other! Finding the right balance is the key...



message 30: by thewanderingjew (new)

thewanderingjew | 184 comments Thomas wrote: "thewanderingjew wrote: "Perhaps in his madness we find DQ a symptathetic figure and therefore we are more supportive of him but I think if one is not mad and follows principles of ethics and morali..."

SPOT ON!


message 31: by Eliza (last edited Sep 02, 2009 05:09PM) (new)

Eliza (elizac) | 94 comments Patrice wrote: "The more I read this book the more it morphs.
I've read the wedding scene twice now, the one with Basillio. As I read it I had a hard time picturing the scene. How could Sancho have "skimmed" tw..."


I never really thought about it at the time, but you're right the whole thing seems a little exaggerated. I did a search and found a site selling medevil cauldrons and they called 17.5in massive. I don't think you could have fit half of what's desribed in there.

I think Cervantes is probably making some sort of point about wealth and security vs true love and exxagerating intentionally to show the vast difference in station between Quiteria's suitors.




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