Monday, September 12, 2005

Woo Hoo!

I finished Don Quixote last night. I am pleased, the book turned out to be wonderful in spite of many long trudges in part one. Completing the book has left a gap on my bedside table and in my reading. Since January when I considered which book to read out of the many I was in the middle of there was always Don Quixote. I comfort myself knowing that in about two weeks I plan to start reading Clarissa. That will fill the gap! I'm going to digest DQ for a day or two, but I wanted to post a few final quotes and scenes that tickled my fancy, so please bear with me. After leaving the Duke and Duchess, DQ tells Sancho upon their reaching the open countryside:

Freedom, Sancho, is one of the most precious gifts heaven gave to men; the treasures under the earth and beneath the sea cannot compare to it; for freedom, as well as for honor, one can and should risk one's life, while captivity, on the other hand, is the greatest evil that can befall men.
In captivity DQ includes obligations to others. It strikes me that this might be, besides boredom, why he decided to become a knight in the first place. As they ride along DQ ponders on the Alitisdora's wooing of him and is bewildered by her boldness and persistance. So is Sancho but for differnet reasons:
Whoreson, what a heart of marble you have, and a will of bronze, and a soul of mortar! But I can't think what this maiden saw in your grace that made her surrender and submit like that: what grace, what elegance, what charm, what face, each thing by itself or all of them together, made her fall in love? Because to tell you the truth, I often stop to look at your grace from the tips of your toes to the last hair on your head, and I see more things to drive her away than to make her fall in love; I've also heard that beauty is the first and principal quality that makes people love, and since your grace doesn't have any, I don't know what the poor maiden fell in love with.
Good ol' Sancho! And finally, Sancho catches Don Quixote, who berates him for his use of proverbs, tossing out proverbs himself:
"No more proverbs, Sancho," sad Don Quixote, "for any one of those you have said is enough to explain your thoughts; I have often advised you not to be so prodigal in your proverbs and to restrain yourself from saying them, but it seems that is like preaching in the desert, and 'My mother punishes me, and I deceive her.' " "It seems to me," responded Sancho, "that your grace is like the pot calling the kettle black. You reprove me for saying proverbs, and your grace strings them together two at a time." "Look, Sancho," responded Don Quixote, "I say proverbs when they are appropriate, and when I say them they fit like the rings on your fingers, but you drag them in by the hair, and pull them along, and do not guide them, and if I remember correctly, I have already told you that proverbs are brief maxims derived from the experience and speculation of wise men in the past, and if the proverb is not to the point, it is not a maxim, it is nonsense."
I'm going to miss Sancho's proverbs. I enjoyed his character and role in the book immensely.