Summary and Analysis Part 2: Chapter XLI



When the horse arrives, Sancho remains adamant in his refusal to join his master. The duke then demands that the squire participate as a condition to become a governor of his island, and Sancho, trembling with fear, mounts blindfolded behind Don Quixote, who is also blindfolded. The company shouts that they are riding in the air, and knight and squire feel a rush of wind (from bellows strongly pumped behind them) and are sure they have reached the "middle region of the air." The tail of Clavileno is now fired by one of the duke's servants, and, being filled with firecrackers, the horse explodes and its riders are tossed to the ground. A scroll is placed near Don Quixote, and it says that the knight has accomplished the adventure of the Disconsolate Matron. The giant Malambruno is satisfied; the lovers Antonomasia and Don Clavijo are disenchanted, and the Countess Trifaldi and her waiting-women are de-bearded. Now Sancho spins a long story of the sights he had seen while riding in the skies, but nobody believes him although he insists that a powerful enchantment has enabled him to witness all these wonders. As they leave the garden, Don Quixote whispers: "Sancho, since thou would'st have us believe what thou hast seen in Heaven, I desire thee to believe what I saw in Montesinos' Cave."


Sancho is depicted here as the fearful, cowardly, common man who saves face by imitating his master's Montesinos Cave adventure. Unlike Sancho, Don Quixote actually saw visions in the cave, for he had voluntarily descended into the strange sphere to investigate into another world. Sancho, bribed by the duke's promise of a governship to ride on Clavileno, merely made up lies but unlike his master is unable to believe in visions sufficiently to make them come true. Thus valor is the source of the Don's visions, and cowardice the cause of Sancho's lies. Always tolerant for other people's perceptions, Don Quixote whispers the golden rule of human relationships: If you would have me believe you, you must believe me. This statement serves as a gentle reprimand to all the Sancho Panzas of the world who judge others by their own crookedness, reminding these cowards that communication between human beings must be based on mutual trust.