Thursday, May 12, 2005

Great Comedic Partners

Laurel and Hardy. Abbot and Costello. Don Quixote and Sancho Panza. You read that right. As I made my way through part one of Don Quixote I couldn't help but think of DQ and Sancho as a great comedic duo and would not have been surprised if they had a round or two of "Who's on First?" Despite DQ's shenanigans, he's the straight man to Sancho who just doesn't get it. But Sancho isn't being dragged along, he's a willing participant, he wants his insula. While DQ plays straight man, he is also the object of comedy. But because of his serious dedication to knight errantry, DQ is able to spin all of the outrageous things that happen so that windmills and wineskins are giants and the inn is an enchanted castle. He keeps his dignity however fabricated it may be. Sancho, on the other hand, is not a knight nor is he clever enough to put a spin on things. He gets tossed in a blanket, beaten, duped and he gets his donkey stolen. While DQ has the facade of knighthood to make him brave, Sancho is free to be a coward. Through all their misadventures the two of them stay together. At first I just thought it was because Sancho was a fat, greedy man. Then I began to wonder. After the first visit to the inn, the violent vomiting from DQ's potion and the blanket tossing, if I were Sancho I would have called it quits and gone back home. So why didn't he? There had to be something more to keep him by DQ's side. I suspect it was boredom that sent DQ into knight errantry. I think Sancho went in order to escape the daily grind of peasant work and in hope of a rich reward. Somewhere in there they became friends.