January 28, 2023

Don Quixote and Dulcinea

Brave Knight Projects an Ideal Lady

Don Quixote Describes Dulcinea To The Duchess: When the Duchess of Aragon asks Don Quixote to describe Dulcinea in detail, our knight says that delineating and depicting her, aspect by aspect, and feature by feature, is an undertaking better entrusted to the “brushes of Parrhasius, Timanthus and Appelles, or to the Chisels of Lysippus,” since, a painting of her on wood and canvas, or a sculpture of her in marble and bronze, would portray her image more realistically than his “clumsy tongue” could ever describe her. When pressed to draw a rough verbal sketch of Dulcinea, Don Quixote says that he would do so if “her image had not been erased from his mind by a misfortune that fell upon her not long ago, which disposes him to mourn for her more than to describe her.”

Don Quixote Dulcinea
Don Quixote Novel

Don Quixote And The Enchanted Dulcinea:

Don Quixote tells the Duke and Duchess of Aragon that when he went to receive Dulcinea’s blessing for his third sally, he found a woman quite different than the one he was seeking. Instead of receiving Dulcinea’s consent for his third round of adventures, Don Quixote finds what he thinks is an enchanted Dulcinea: a woman turned from “a princess into a peasant, from a beauty into a scarecrow, from an angel into a devil, from a fragrance into a stench, from a model of eloquence into a rustic, from a sedate young lady into a jack-in-the-box, from light into darkness and, in short, from Dulcinea del Toboso into some country bumpkin from Sayago.” When asked by the Duke who it is that has denied such a valiant knight errant his lady love, Don Quixote responds that it must have been “one of the many malicious and envious enchanters who seek to obscure and obliterate his many exploits,” by wounding him where it hurts most, since “a knight errant without a lady love is like a tree without leaves, a building without foundations, a shadow without the body that throws it.” When the Duchess of Aragon presses Don Quixote to explain the reasoning behind Dulcinea’s enchantment, Don Quixote says that since he is immune from evil spells, a set of wicked enchanters take their revenge on him by spoiling the appearance of Dulcinea. This is why, when Sancho Panza, his squire, takes Dulcinea a message from Don Quixote, a group of wicked magicians, according to Don Quixote, purposefully turn her into a lowly peasant girl, engaged in the diminutive task of sieving wheat. Yet, Don Quixote contends that the wheat that Dulcinea sifts is not buckwheat at all, but “pearls of the orient,” and that her true form, as Sancho Panza can attest, is the most beautiful form that there is in the world. Therefore, to Don Quixote, Dulcinea is not an “uncouth, ill-spoken, ugly village yokel, but grace and eloquence and beauty personified.” Since Don Quixote claims he was not enchanted when he saw Dulcinea in the guise of a common peasant wench, she was, according to him, enchanted, smitten, altered, changed and transformed, into a gauche, ugly, bumbling, farm woman. In brief, Don Quixote claims that since a set of wicked enchanters have the ability to transmogrify Dulcinea at will, it is no wonder that that they can also transform a common peasant girl into a refined and elegant woman for Sancho Panza.

Don Quixote Defends Dulcinea’s Lineage:

When the Duke of Aragon casts doubt on Dulcinea’s lineage by saying that she does not descend from the aristocratic families of El Toboso, Don Quixote replies that since Dulcinea is the “daughter of her own works, she has virtues that ennoble the blood.” Therefore, says Don Quixote, Dulcinea, to him, has a self-made soul. Thus, she is worthier of regard and esteem than a depraved aristocrat. In Don Quixote’s view, Dulcinea has qualities that make her a queen, complete with a crown and scepter, for “the merits of a beautiful and virtuous woman, extend as far as her ambition takes her.”


Originally posted 2019-12-22 20:41:50.

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Originally posted 2020-02-11 11:53:17.