January 31, 2023

Cardenio (The Ragged Knight of the Miserable Face)

Cardenio’s Rank and Background: Cardenio is from a noble family from one of the finest cities in Andalusia.

A Goatherd Tells Cardenio’s Backstory: According to a local goatherd, six-months ago a good-looking young man appeared at a nearby goat-fold, asking what part of the Sierra was the most rugged and most remote. When the shepherds point to an interior part of the mountains without any roads or paths going into or out of it, the young man turns his mule towards the direction they indicate, “leaving them amazed at the speed with which he rides away.” A few days later the shepherds see Cardenio again, when, weak from starvation, he comes down from the hills, waylays one of their companions, goes over to his supply donkey, and takes all of the bread and cheese he can find in the beast’s saddle bags. After vanishing into the Sierra at an incredible rate of speed, three goatherds go looking for Cardenio in the remotest part of the mountains, where, after almost two days of searching, they find him hiding in the hollow of a stout cork-oak tree. When beckoned, Cardenio comes out very quietly, with his clothes so ripped and his face so sunburned that they can hardly recognize him. After greeting the goatherds courteously, Cardenio explains that they should not be surprised at his current condition since he has to go about like that to fulfill a penance imposed on him for his many sins. But when the conversation turns to who this young man is and what made him take shelter in the wilderness, Cardenio lunges at the nearest man, only to run away and hide among the brambles and thickets of the countryside. Cardenio’s sudden flight causes a goatherd and two of his servants to search for him so they can take him to the town of Almodovar where either he will be cured of his illness, if there is a cure, or to find out who he is and whether he has any relatives to care for him.

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Cardenio’s Reaction to Luscinda’s Marriage: On the night of Don Fernando and Luscinda’s marriage, “the sun of Cardenio’s happiness sets.” Hence, there is “no light left in his eyes and no sense left in his brain.” As such, when Cardenio sees Don Fernando slip a wedding ring on Luscinda’s finger, he almost rushes out of his hiding place to enact revenge on his greatest enemy. But, at that moment, he is able to overmaster himself by recovering the full use of his reason, which enables him to restrain his violent impulses, before he kills Don Fernando. Therefore, Cardenio flees into the black mountains, with disordered thoughts and emotional flutters.

Cardenio’s Sanity/Insanity: Once in the hinterlands of the Sierra Morena, Cardenio is found by some goatherds raving in such a way that it is clear that he has lost his reason. Sometime later, when Cardenio tells a group of goatherds about why he hides in the Sierra Morena, he “falls silent, stares down at the earth in trancelike fashion, and, without batting an eyelid, glares and glowers at the ground.” After the goatherds wait for a good while, in a puzzled hush, to see how Cardenio’s oblivion is going to end, suddenly he “shuts his eyes tight, clenches his lips, arches his eyebrows, and springs in full fury at the man nearest him with such wild determination, that if the goatherds had not torn him away he would have beaten and bitten him to death.” In the grips of his fit of madness, Cardenio calls an innocent shepherd a perfidious traitor named Don Fernando, who deserves to die for the trickery, deceit, and abuse he has done him. But before Cardenio tears this shepherd to shreds, the other goatherds manage to pull him off their companion. Without another word, Cardenio “runs away and hides among the brambles and thickets of the rugged countryside.” After observing this strange turn of events, the goatherds conclude that madness takes over Cardenio’s soul every so often, triggered, in part, by his memory of Don Fernando.

Cardenio, it seems, when in his right mind, realizes that he is not always in full possession of his reason, but rather is so deranged that he performs a thousand mad actions. These include, tearing at his clothes, bellowing curses at his ill-fortune, and vainly repeating Luscinda’s name, with no other thought or plan than to end his life in screams. And when Cardenio regains his senses he feels so weak and exhausted that he can hardly move.

Indeed, Cardenio proves he is “mad in streaks complete with lucid intervals” when sometimes he comes down from the hills and punches and kicks local goatherds for their food without so much as a word of warning, while at other times he asks them for their food in a courteous, restrained way that shows he is a real gentleman. This is why, when a fit of madness comes over Cardenio he will not let the goatherds give him food even if they do so willingly. However, when he is in his right mind he not only asks the goatherds for their food but also apologizes for his past attacks on them.

The Priest and the Barber Witness Cardenio’s Insanity: Sometime later, the priest and the barber hear Cardenio enjoying a spell of sanity—“free of the fury that often drives him out of his mind”—when they listen to him sing an intelligent courtier’s verse in the craggiest part of the Sierra Moreno. Intrigued by the skill of the singer, the Priest and the Barber walk around a boulder and see Cardenio with his head bowed over his breast like someone lost deep in thought. When the Priest urges Cardenio to abandon his wretched existence in the Sierra Moreno, Cardenio admits that when the recollection of his misfortunes becomes so intense that it has power to destroy him, he becomes void of all sense and awareness. Yet when he regains his sanity all he can do, says Cardenio, is to “express a futile regret for what has happened,” offering as an excuse for his mad deeds an account of their cause to anyone who will listen.

Cardenio and Luscinda’s Father: Luscinda’s father, thinking that he is obliged by good form to refuse Cardenio entry into his house, prohibits Cardenio from seeing his daughter. Though Luscinda’s father’s paternal authority silences their tongues for a while, it does not still their pens, since Cardenio reveals his feelings for Luscinda with verses of love and songs of passion. Eventually, Cardenio is so eager to see Luscinda that he gathers the courage to ask Luscinda’s father for his daughter’s hand in marriage. Though Luscinda’s father is grateful to Cardenio for wanting to honor him with his precious little treasure, he thinks that it is Cardenio’s father who by rights should make the request since Luscinda is not a woman to be taken, or given, in an underhanded way without his father’s approval. Agreeing with this sentiment, Cardenio hastens to tell his father about his wish to marry Luscinda. But when Cardenio discovers that Duke Ricardo has summoned him to be a friend and companion to his elder son, he begs Luscinda’s father to postpone settling their marriage for a few days. Luscinda’s father promises to do this. But when Don Fernando proposes to Luscinda, Luscinda’s father, persuaded that “Don Fernando would be a better match for his daughter,” gives his consent so eagerly that Cardenio faults him for not considering Luscinda’s happiness more fully when considering who she should, or should not marry, and why.

Cardenio and His Father Discuss Duke Ricardo’s Father’s Letter: When Cardenio asks his father for permission to marry Luscinda, he finds him in his room, with a letter from Duke Ricardo open in his hand, asking that he send his son to his estate in Andalusia so that he can become a companion to Duke Ricardo’s elder son. Until it becomes clear what Duke Ricardo has in store for him, Cardenio reserves judgment. After reading Duke Ricardo’s letter Cardenio is both happy and dismayed: Happy that Duke Ricardo may provide him with an opportunity to advance yet sad at the prospect of leaving Luscinda. Cardenio’s father, however, is overjoyed with this news since it is his “firm belief that Duke Ricardo will undertake to situate Cardenio in accordance with his high opinion of him.” After thanking God for opening a way for his son according to what he thinks Cardenio deserves, Cardenio’s father instructs his son to do as the Duke wishes by departing for his lands in two days. Obeying his father’s wishes, Cardenio travels to Duke Ricardo’s estate to find-out what he wants.

Cardenio’s Father’s Role In Approving His Son’s Marriage to Luscinda: Eventually, when Cardenio and Duke Ricardo’s younger son become friends, Cardenio confides to Don Fernando that he did not ask his father if he could marry Luscinda, out of fear that he would say no. In response, Don Fernando says that he will take it upon himself to persuade Cardenio’s father to speak to Luscinda’s father. Accepting Don Fernando’s offer to talk to his father, the pair travel back to Cardenio’s house where Cardenio’s parents “accord Don Fernando a fine reception worthy of his rank.”

Cardenio’s Parents Efforts to Cure and Locate Their Son: Although Cardenio’s parents are rich, they are unable, with all their wealth, to remedy their son’s great misfortune. Though, according to Cardenio, “they must weep and grieve over his” self-imposed exile, together with his “bouts of insanity,” neither can they locate him, nor can they cure him of his psychological disorder.

Cardenio’s Traveling Bag: When Don Quixote and Sancho Panza find Cardenio’s half-rotten traveling bag lying by a river bed in the Sierra Morena, Sancho Panza hastens to undo its’ padlock and unfurl its’ chain to see what is in it. But the travelling bag is so torn (from constant use) and so decayed (from wind and rain) that Sancho Panza can see that it contains: “four shirts of fine Holland cloth; a light, clean blanket of good linen; a richly bound leather notebook; and a pile of 100 gold escudos wrapped in a cloth handkerchief.”

Cardenio’s Leather Notebook: Inside Cardenio’s leather notebook, Don Quixote finds a sonnet about love being blind, and a love letter from Cardenio faulting Luscinda for her false marriage promises. Thumbing through the notebook, Don Quixote discovers other verses and letters containing complaints, laments, suspicions, longings, sorrows, favors, and slights, which convinces him that the man who wrote them is a spurned lover of some sort.

Cardenio Leaps From Rock to Rock Nimble and Naked: Shortly after Don Quixote and Sancho Panza find Cardenio’s travelling bag, they see him on a nearby hill top leaping from rock-to-rock and from bush-to-bush with unusual agility. Although Cardenio jumps from crag to crag at great speed, Don Quixote notes that he is “half-naked, with a thick black beard, long hair tied back in a pony tail, bare legs and feet, with short breeches that seem to be of light brown velvet, but that are so torn and tattered in patches that his skin shows through in spots.”

Cardenio’s Dead Mule: When Don Quixote and Sancho Panza find Cardenio’s hired mule lying dead in a shallow stream at the base of a ravine with its’ flesh “half devoured by dogs and its’ vitals mostly pecked by crows,” they believe that the animal has been lying in the deep, narrow, valley for a long time. As they contemplate the sight of Cardenio’s decomposing pack-animal, a herdsman, who rounds up his flock, confirms their suspicions by telling them that the jenny has been lying in the gulley for at least six months.

Cardenio Fights Don Quixote and Sancho Panza: Spurred by his curiosity to discover why Cardenio suffers from blotches of insanity, Don Quixote finds the Ragged Knight of the Miserable Face muttering incomprehensible words to himself in a gorge. Anxious to know who the unfortunate madman is, Don Quixote listens intently to Cardenio’s explanation of the enormity of his misfortune. When Don Quixote interrupts his tale at the mention of a chivalry book named Amadis of Gaul, a fit of madness overcomes Cardenio and he is in no state to continue his story. In fact, when Cardenio hears himself called a liar and a villain because he said that Master Elisabat was sleeping with Queen Madasima in Amadis of Gaul − he picks up a stone and strikes Don Quixote such a blow on the chest that he tumbles over backwards. When Sancho Panza tries to defend Don Quixote, the Ragged Knight uppercuts Sancho Panza leaving him spread-eagled on the ground. Then Cardenio jumps on Sancho Panza and tramples his ribs to his heart’s content. After a goatherd suffers a similar fate, the madman, having thrashed them all, withdraws with elegant composure into a stand of mountain thickets.

Cardenio’s Food Intake In The Sierra Morena: Moved by charity, the cowherds and the goatherds who roam over the Black Mountains provide Cardenio with sustenance by placing food by the paths and rocks where they think he might pass and find it. Therefore, when Cardenio stumbles across food left for him, his natural instinct sharpens his desire to go and fetch the food and hones his will to eat it. At other times, when Cardenio has lost his reason, he waylays herdsmen carrying food for him from their village folds and takes it from them by force, even though they are happy to give it to him. In fact, Cardenio is so hungry that when Don Quixote, Sancho Panza, and an unnamed goatherd try to discover who he is, what he wants, and why wonders around like a hobo, he responds by begging them to give him some food. In response, they immediately produce some food—Sancho from his saddle-bag and a goatherd from his pouch—and Cardenio eats what he is given like a man in a daze, so fast that “there isn’t a space between one mouthful and the next, because he doesn’t swallow bitefulls [of food; he] shovel[s] them down.”

Cardenio’s Home In The Sierra Morena: Though Cardenio’s usual dwelling in the Sierra Morena is the hollow of a cork oak, some nights he shelters wherever he can find cover.

Cardenio’s Residence in the Sierra Morena: Cardenio has no fixed residence in the Sierra Morena other than what chance offers him when night falls. For this reason, when Don Quixote asks a goatherd where he can find Cardenio, the goatherd replies that though he does not know exactly where Cardenio’s lair is, if Don Quixote keeps wandering about the area he is bound to come across him sooner or later.

Cardenio’s Primary Occupation In The Sierra Morena: During his days in the Sierra Morena, either Cardenio remembers Luscinda’s beauty with bitter-sweet pain or he contemplates the wrong done to him by Don Fernando. Such reflection torments his soul to the degree that either he wishes to have a selective case of amnesia so that he can forget the wrongs done to him or he wants nature to put an end to his life. But when Cardenio has hope for a better future he turns his thoughts to a better course: one that will allow him to feel the strength and vigor he needs to rescue his mind, and his body, from the desperate straits to which he has reduced them to.

Cardenio Comments On His Own Story Telling: 4During Cardenio’s tale of woe, sometimes he stops in full-flow to ask the gentlemen listening to it to not be bored by his digressions, since, according to Cardenio, his “sad tale is not one of those that can or should be told in a few words because each aspect of it seems to demand a full explanation.” At the conclusion of his narrative, Cardenio asks his listeners to tell him “whether it [is] possible to tell it with less emotion than he had shown.”

Casildea de Vandalia (The Knight of the Forest’s Lady Love)

Identity: When Sanson Carrasco pretends to be the Knight of the Forest (aka the Knight of the Spangles), he tells Don Quixote that he calls his lady love Casildea de Vandalia because her name is Casildea and she comes from Andalusia.”

Casildea de Vandalia Is Used As an Excuse: Thinking quickly on his feet, Sanson Carassco denies Don Quixote request to raise his visor by saying that “if [he doesn’t] satisfy [his] request it is because [he views such a request] as a grievous affront to the fair Casildea de Vandalia.”

Originally posted 2019-12-26 14:08:33.

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Originally posted 2020-02-18 21:02:16.