Sancho Panza has a short body, a plump paunch, long shanks, and a thick, unkept, beard.
Sancho Panza is in his mid-thirties.
Sancho Panza is a poor country farmer who was a swineherd then a geese keeper later a steward and finally a country beadle. Before he squires for Don Quixote, Sancho Panza is a farm laborer.
Sancho Panza comes from a medium sized family consisting of an older brother who is a priest, a wife who runs his house, his two children (Sanchico 15, Sanchita 14) his maternal grandmother, who he often quotes, as well as two wine-connoisseur forebears on his father’s side. Thus, his nuclear family consists of four people, and his extended family consists of 3 people.
Sancho Panza Personality:
Evidently, Sancho Panza can identify where a wine comes from, along with its’ vintage, just by tasting it. For example, when he drinks a bottle of wine with the Squire of the Forest, he determines that it is Ciudad Real wine. In fact, Sancho Panza has such a great flair for spotting wines that he only has to “smell one and [he] can tell the place, pedigree, the taste, the vintage, and how it’s going to mature.”
Sancho Panza is prone to excessive eating and drinking binges. From devouring pies by flowing rivers to stuffing himself with geese and hens at Basilio’s wedding, Sancho Panza “eats like there is no tomorrow.” Sancho Panza also likes to drink a lot, since he takes swigs of wine from his leather bottle, sometimes drinking before breakfast. Though he likes to eat and drink to excess, the Duchess puts Sancho Panza on a restraint enhancing diet, during his governorship of Barataria, by assigning him a severe doctor to limit his food and liquid consumption. Before taking office, Sancho Panza says that he has never drunk wine, just for the sake of a tipple, but rather drinks intoxicating beverages “to not seem choosy, or rude, because, asks Sancho Panza, what can be more hard hearted, if a friend drinks to your health and [you do] not drink to his back?”
Sancho Panza has a practical sense of what it takes to live in hard-reality. This is why he: eats out of his saddle-bags to avoid starvation; treats his injuries by mixing poultices; heals his wounds by fastening bandages; avoids jail by paying at inns; and earns money to take care of himself and his family. Whether through a system of fixed wages from Don Quixote or by his desire to sell a hunting outfit to the highest bidder, Sancho Panza is always looking for ways to make money. This, in turn, signals Sancho Panza’s practicality, since earning money is required to maintain his house, provide food and clothing for his family, and pay for his children’s education, too. Sancho Panza even says that he is practical.
Though Sancho Panza never fully learns to read or write, when he is a Church steward he is taught to sign his name. This, in turn, signals Sancho Panza’s growing literacy. Despite his semi-illiteracy, though, Don Quixote teaches Sancho Panza to use the correct words in their correct context: Like when he swaps proportion for abortion, resolve for dissolve, palfrey for poultry, critic for cricket, and longinquity for longdrinkity. Also, when Sancho Panza uses the word belch, instead of eructate, Don Quixote tries to elevate his speech patterns by insisting that he enrich the language by saying eructate. By the end of the novel, Sancho Panza learns new words—along with their proper pronunciation—thus widening his speaking ability.
Throughout the book, Sancho Panza crams his speech full of proverbs that are irrelevant and off-point. Exasperated by his constant string of aphorisms, Don Quixote urges Sancho Panza to either develop a straightforward, coherent, argument without using proverbs, or, alternatively, to use proverbs sparingly, when he must, in a timely and eloquent manner.
A Member of the Folk:
Sancho Panza often resorts to “the lore [he] learned as a little shepherd.” For example, to calculate when day will break, Sancho Panza plots the sun’s position relative to the stars. Since Sancho Panza comes from a tradition where oral wisdom is passed down from generation to generation, he transmits inherited knowledge through short, witty, sayings that capture basic truths.
Don Quixote’s Neighbor:
Sancho Panza is first introduced as Don Quixote neighbor, a poor, honorable farmer who is not too bright. Before his second sally, Don Quixote reasons with Sancho Panza and promises him so much ? like great riches, or a governorship, or an earldom ? that his neighbor decides to leave his wife and children and go into service as his neighbor’s squire.
Apparently, Sancho Panza can stamp his feet with a wooden pair of clogs as if he were an angel.
Hunting does not sit easy on Sancho Panza’s conscience, since, to him, Lords and Kings should not put themselves at unnecessary risk for the sake of killing innocent animals that have committed no crimes. Since Sancho Panza thinks that hunting is more a pastime for loafers and idlers and less a sport of physical dexterity, he says that as governor he would better serve his constituents if he remained at home to listen to people coming to him on state business, not out in the woods in search of wild game.
Sancho Panza sleeps whenever he can, wherever he can. Whether it is on his donkey, or under a tree, or lying down around a campfire, Sancho Panza is born to sleep. Typically, he naps in the afternoons for four or five hours, especially during the midday heat. Regarded as lazy by some, idle by most, eventually he is prodded to perk-up before he becomes Governor of Barataria. When the Duchess of Aragon sees Sancho Panza retire for his daily siesta, she begs him, if he is not too sleepy, to come and spend an afternoon with her in a lovely cool room discussing his Governorship of Barataria. In reply, Sancho Panza says that he will try not to sleep for a single hour that particular afternoon. True to his word, Sancho Panza does not siesta that day but keeps his promise to see the Duchess instead.
Though adamantly opposed to tearing his skin to shreds for Dulcinea’s sake, Sancho Panza finally yields to the Duke’s promise that he will only be governor if he self-flagellates. Sancho Panza also self-flagellates because Don Quixote promises to give him money.
Sancho Panza’s Attitude Towards Duennas:
Since Sancho thinks that all duennas, of every kind and description, are pests and nuisances, he tells the Duchess of Aragon that it is more right and proper for them to “feed asses than to stand around castles halls decorating” the premises with their idleness. In fact Sancho says that he does not “‘care a fig for all of the Duennas in the world,’” since they give squires, like him, great headaches with their constant nagging.
Sancho Panza Likes The Good Life:
When Sancho is invited to stay at the Duke and Duchess’s country home, he is quick to take the opportunity to indulge himself, in every way possible, at his host’s expense, especially since he thinks he is going to discover good living, and easy merriment, in their home.
Sancho Panza is Simpleminded:
Always natural, never affected, Sancho covers-up his misbehavior with the “broad-cloak of his simplemindedness.” By disguising his intelligence with a veneer of naiveté, he can say, and do, and think what serious others cannot. The pitfall of Sancho’s simplemindedness is that he can be led to believe what is not true.
Sancho Panza’s Simplemindedness:
The Duchess makes Sancho believe, as absolute truth, that Dulcinea Del Toboso is enchanted, when indeed she is not. At another time, Don Quixote makes Sancho believe that he will become an earl of some vast estate, or the governor of a great island kingdom, even though such a prospect is unlikely. Luckily, for Sancho, the Duke makes him a quasi-pretend governor for 10 days.
Sancho Panza Character:
A Character of Contradictions:
Don Quixote says that Sancho doubts everything and believes everything.
Sancho Panza’s Funniness and Intelligence:
Sancho Panza’s light-hearted humor eases the tensions created by the Holy Inquisition. This is why Sancho Panza functions, at times, as a court jester, or royal entertainer, by amusing the Duke, the Duchess, and others, with a frolicsome attitude characterized by a series of witty comments. In this way, Sancho Panza decreases the pressures of his times by saying and doing what others can not. On the other hand, Sancho’s intelligence comes through when he says that he is “a sly old fox who covers up his wit with the broad cloak of his simplemindedness.” Though Sancho operates in a joke disguised style, which hides his shrewd brain, he has a mature understanding of tricky character types, which makes him hard to catch off-guard, since he can stir himself to action, when needed, at a moment’s notice. In fact, Sancho’s sly cunning prevents “the wool from being pulled over [his] eyes” so that he knows what is really going on, even when others try to trick him. Don Quixote confirms this admixture of cleverness and foolishness by saying that Sancho is both “one of the most foolish squires in the world, whose stupidity brings him crashing to the ground, and one of the most intelligent squires in the world whose sound sense raises him to the skies.”
Sancho Panza’s Stories:
When Sancho discourses, at length, about how a rich hidalgo, and a prosperous farmer, from his home village, argue over who should sit where at the head of the table, a grave churchmen, frustrated at the length of his story, asks Sancho Panza to get a move on with his tale by coming to the point. Later, when Sancho recites how a fisherman ferries 300 goats across a river, one-by-one, explaining that “the fisherman [first] climbed into his boat and took one goat across; then he came back and took another goat across; and he came back again and took another goat across, and another goat, and another goat,” a frustrated Don Quixote tells Sancho to not “keep coming and going” like that—and to “just assume that he ferried them all across, [otherwise] he won’t get them to the other side in a year.”
Sancho Panza Thinks A Peasant Girl Is Dulcinea:
Sancho tells the Duchess of Aragon that a peasant he pretends is Dulcinea is not ugly at all. On the contrary, Sancho thinks she is quite beautiful, since she has other characteristics that make up for her lack of physical beauty—like the fact that “she can leap from the ground on to the back of a donkey as if she were a cat,” and can thus match the jumping prowess of any world-class tumbler.
Sancho Panza’s Surprise At A Beard Washing Ceremony:
Baffled when a group of damsels wash and clean Don Quixote’s beard at the Duke and Duchess’s dinner table, Sancho wonders if it is an Argonese custom to wash squire’s whiskers as well. Indeed, he soliloquizes that his beard could do with a clean wash, or better yet, a refreshing shave, since venture questing, along the highways and byways of La Mancha, can be a hot, unhygienic, business.
Sancho Panza’s Governorship:
To get Sancho to serve as his squire, Don Quixote promises to make him governor of some Mediterranean island, or earl of some great township, where he will be able to collect great revenue, as lord of the lands. Indeed, Don Quixote promises Sancho that squires are rewarded for their services when they least expect it, by being given a title and an estate of some sort, along with the address of Lord Governor. Excited by this promise, Sancho Panza continuously reminds Don Quixote of his promise to make him a governor of the best island that the sea ever found—for only eight months of service. When doubt is cast upon Sancho’s ability to govern the island promised by his master, Don Quixote says that as Sancho matures so, too, will his judgement, so that as the years pass, Sancho will become better suited, and more qualified, for civilian leadership.
When Panza is on the verge of being dubbed a quasi-pretend governor for ten days, he promises the Duchess of Aragon that her faith in his gubernatorial abilities is well placed since he cannot be corrupted by money, bribes, loans, or other gifts, since he is kind and compassionate by nature and feels sorry for the poor. Indeed, Panza says that he will “be a good governor, despite all the rogues standing in his way,” since nobody is going to bamboozle him, since he is “a sly old fox,” who can rouse himself to act quickly and decisively when needed. To reassure the Duchess of Aragon that he is the man for the job, Sancho Panza promises her that as governor he will “attend to the needs of all the good folks, but the baddies won’t even get a foot in the door,” since he will rebuff them at once. Finally, Panza ends his little speech by saying that he who has been a good squire will be a good governor, too.
Sancho Panza’s Christianity:
After Sancho admits that he made-up the story of a simple farm girl being Don Quixote’s Dulcinea, he acknowledges that if his projection has turned out topsy-turvy, there is a God in heaven who judges men’s hearts.
Sancho Panza’s Charity:
Since Panza is kind and compassionate by nature, he gives alms to the needy, multiple times. For example, when a poor farm laborer named Andres complains that his paymaster whipped him for demanding his back wages, Sancho Panza takes a hunk of bread, and a lump of cheese, from his saddlebags, and gives it to Andres. Again, when Panza encounters six Morisco pilgrims wandering the high-ways and by-ways of Spain, he donates half a cheese and half a loaf of bread, to feed the needy pilgrims. Later, when Panza sees a poor old man being flogged because he is convicted of pimpery, he gives him a golden real to ease his suffering a bit. Thus, being “an old Christian of good Catholic stock,” Panza shows readers that he is generous and charitable as a God loving man should be.
Sancho Panza’s Income:
Don Quixote pays Panza with treasure; with donkeys; with a bequest; and with a fixed salary. This is why when they find a dead donkey lying in a stream with saddle-bags stuffed with 100 “gold escudos Don Quixote [tells him] to take the money and keep it for himself” in payment for his many services. In another instance, when Panza protests that he has not received a fixed wage for his services, Don Quixote says that since he is “carrying [his] money [he should] work out how long it is since [they] left [their home] village and how much [he] can and should earn per month, and [to] calculate pro-rata [what he is] owe[d]” so that he can be his “own paymaster.” Likewise, when Sancho Panza’s donkey is stolen by a picaroon named Gines de Pasamonte, Don Quixote promises to give him three of his own donkeys in recompense. Also when Don Quixote composes his last will-and-testament he stipulates that: “it is [his wish] that in respect to certain monies in Panza’s possession if anything remains after he has paid himself what [he is] owe[d] it should all be his.” Furthermore, when Panza is given a green hunting outfit by the Duke of Aragon, he talks about selling it to make money.
Sancho Panza — A Metafictional Character:
Panza says that he is above the malicious gossip of people who mistake him for the spurious Sancho Panza touted by Avellaneda.
Originally posted 2019-12-19 14:22:07.
Originally posted 2020-01-27 03:33:27.