January 28, 2023

Camacho the Rich

Camacho’s Wealth:

After Don Quixote leaves Don Diego’s village he meets two student who invite him to witness one of the finest and most sumptuous weddings that has ever taken place in La Mancha. This union is between a wealthy farmer named Camacho the Rich, and a farmer’s daughter named Quiteria the Fair. During Don Quixote’s conversation with these two students, we learn that Camacho is one of the wealthiest farmer’s in all of the land. He is so affluent, in fact, that even though his soon-to-be spouse has a more distinguished bloodline, all the gold he possesses brings a certain cachet to his name, thus, soldering the lineal division between them.

Don Quixote
Don Quixote Novel

Moreover, we are told that Camacho the Rich is such a big spender that he spares no expense on his wedding. From “roofing over [a] field with a great canopy of branches” to arranging a spirited trope of sword-dancers to hiring great hordes of bell-dancers and flamenco dancers to hiring musicians of all kinds (i.e. flute players, tabor players, psalteries players, shawms players, tambourine players, and timbrels players) Camacho the Rich spares no expense to arrange a spectacular wedding. His vast wealth is also shown by the great amount and variety of food and drink that is served at his wedding. For example, “a whole ox is spitted on an elm trunk with twelve little juicy little suckling pigs sown into its belly” to make it juicy and tender. Moreover, six, vast, cooking pots stew everything from whole sheeps to skinned hares to plucked hens to shorn geese to exotic birds to other game of all kind. In addition, vast heaps of the whitest loaves of bread “lie like little piles of grain by the side of a threshing floor.” Furthermore, there are so many cheese wheels stacked together interlocked like bricks that they form a solid wall. What’s more, we are told that “two cauldrons of olive oil, bigger than dyer’s vats, [are used to] fry a great abundance of doughnuts, which are later dunked into a cauldron full of warm honey.” In addition, there is such a great amount of different spices that they are “not brought by the pound but by the bushel to be displayed in a great, big, wooden, chest.” Indeed there is so much fine, old, wine that Sancho Panza counts more than sixty wineskins each holding a good fifty pints of alcohol. In short, since the cornucopia of food and drink and spices at Camacho’s wedding is enough to feed a small army, he is supremely wealthy. A line cook even emphasizes Camacho the Rich’s opulence when he says that Camacho is so rich that he can afford to buy replacements for everything. As such, he gives Sancho Panza a great stew pan full of three hens and two geese, along with a great ladle, instantaneously, without worrying about the loss of his kitchen implements. Moreover, Sancho speculates that Camacho the Rich has so much money that he can not only “bury Basilio in reals, and other golden coins,” but also he can afford to give his wife jewels and furs and other lavish tokens of his affection. The affluence of Camacho’s friends also shows that he moves in prosperous country circles. For example, a dozen farmers, riding twelve handsome steeds, decked out in the splendor of “showy rustic trappings,” appear at Camacho’s wedding, in an orderly troop, joyfully crying, at the top of their voices, “Long live Camacho and Quiteria, since he is as rich as she is fair, and she is the fairest maiden in the world!” In brief, Camacho’s great heaps of gold, his expensive wedding arrangements, and his wealthy friends, prove that he is a stupendously rich farmer.

Camacho’s Wedding Arrangements:

As Don Quixote and Sancho Panza approach Quiteria’s home village they learn that Camacho has hired a great number of travelling musicians—flute players, 3tabor players, psalterie players, shawm players, tambourine players, and timbrel players—who all wander about the wedding scene, some dancing, others singing, and others playing their instruments. Upon visiting the wedding venue, Don Quixote and Sancho Panza see that Camacho the Rich has ordered the erection of a great canopy of branches to roof over a field next to the village, which, incidentally, is full of little lanterns that sway back-and-forth in the breeze. One more preparation Camacho makes for his betrothal is to have various “platforms and stages raised so that wedding guests can watch the plays and dances that [are] going to be performed in that place in comfort.”

Camacho’s Age:

Camacho is twenty-two.

Camacho’s Friends:

A dozen of Camacho’s friends attend his wedding wearing their best party clothes. They arrive on “twelve handsome mares decked out in splendid, showy, rustic trappings with many little bells on their breast straps.” Galloping on their steeds in an orderly troop, they ride up and down the wedding field joyfully crying at the top of their voices: “Long live Camacho and Quiteria, he is as rich as she is fair, and she is the fairest maid in all the world!” Galloping and whooping to meet the groom and bride, Camacho’s friends cause quite a ruckus for all to see.

When Camacho’s friends learn that Basilio resorts to trickery and deception to steal their best friend’s bride they feel so humiliated that “entrusting their vengeance to their own hands they unsheathe their swords and fall upon Basilio ready to tear him to pieces.” If Basilio’s friends did not rush to his aid with their swords drawn—and had not Don Quixote intervened by saying that “it is not right to take revenge for wrongs done to us by love”—perhaps Camacho’s friends would have run Basilio through. But they do not because Don Quixote brandishes his sword with such vigor that he strikes fear into their hearts. Another reason why Camacho’s friends do not attack Basilio’s friends is because an officiating priest convinces them, with many wise and well meaning words, to return their swords to their proper places. One more reason why Camacho’s friends are pacified by the preist’s words is because they think Quiteria’s fickleness is more to blame then Basilio’s ingenuity.

Camacho The Rich Lets Quiteria The Fair Marry Basilio the Poor Since He Realizes That She Loves Basilio Not Him:

Evidently, Quiteria’s rejection of Camacho for Basilio makes such a mark on Camacho’s mind that he realizes that if Quiteria had been in love with Basilio before their marriage she would have continued to love him afterwards. Thus, he says that “more thanks are due to heaven for having taken [Quiteria] from him than for having given her to him.”



Originally posted 2019-12-25 14:00:54.

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Originally posted 2020-02-17 22:06:43.