February 8, 2023

The Duke and Duchess’s Jokes on Don Quixote

and Sancho Panza

Joke 1: The Disenchantment of Dulcinea

The Duke and Duchess’s Jokes on Don Quixote
Don Quixote Novel

One of the jokes that the Duke and The Duchess play on Don Quixote and Sancho Panza is to convince them that Dulcinea Del Toboso needs to be disenchanted. To convince Master and Squire that Dulcinea’s fate lies in their hands, the Duke and the Duchess feign astonishment when a post boy, attired in the devil’s garb, rides out before them on a triumphal chariot, with six troops of enchanters, blowing a vast hollow horn, to announce to Don Quixote the appearance of Dulcinea. As part and parcel of this joke, countless bugles and other military instruments sound out in a fearful din, as if several troops of cavalry are riding through the woods. As clarions blare, drums boom, fifes shrill, and bugles sound, a group of fake Moors sound the war cry of ‘la ilaha ill’allah,’ or, there is no God but Allah. The hellish din created by marshal instruments sounding and men shouting, leaves Don Quixote dumbfounded and confused, and Sancho Panza trembling with fear. The goal of this ploy is to convince Don Quixote that a gallant Frenchmen named Montesinos rides in search of him, so that he can relate how Dulcinea is to be disenchanted. Upon recognizing Don Quixote by his symbols of heraldry, the fake Devil says that the valiant knight Montesinos has instructed him to tell Don Quixote that he brings tidings from Dulcinea Del Toboso, who sends instructions on what must be done to disenchant her. Having accomplished the purpose of his journey, the post-boy blows a sonorous blast on his enormous blow-horn, and rides off without awaiting reply. This spectacle produces further amazement in Sancho Panza and Don Quixote. In Sancho Panza, because he can see that people still insist that Dulcinea is enchanted in defiance of the truth; and in Don Quixote who wonders if the vision he saw of Dulcinea in the Cave of Montesinos was indeed real. After the duo ponders these thoughts for a long moment, the Duke asks Don Quixote if he intends to see what will happen. Don Quixote responds in the affirmative by saying that he will “wait in the garden, [strong-and-intrepid,] even if all hell comes charging at him.” With this, the night darkens, while the lights of torches begin to flit about the wood. Oxcarts begin to populate the forest with creaking wheels and groaning beasts of burden. To complete this ruckus, the fearsome sound of muskets fire, the bloodcurdling screams of Moors yelp, and the harsh racket of war drums beat. Eventually, four enormous oxen emerge—draped in black hangings, with wax torches tied to their horns—pull a venerable old man with a beard whiter than snow, and so long that it reaches below his waist. Driven by two ugly demons clad in black buckram, this cart rolls-up to where Don Quixote and Sancho Panza are seated, while its occupant rises to his feet and says that he is the sage Lirgandeo. In turn, a sequence of grating ox-carts pass by, with other sages and enchanters announcing themselves, one-by-one, to a stunned Don Quixote and a cowering Sancho Panza. Eventually, a triumphal chariot thunders towards Don Quixote and Sancho Panza drawn by six brown mules, on top of which are seated six surpliced penitents, with flaming wax torches in their hands. Since the chariot is three times as big as the oxcarts, there is room for another twelve penitents on its sides all bearing lighted torches. On a high throne atop the chariot is a beautiful seated nymph, “wearing a thousand pieces of silver cloth, with countless glittering spangles attached to them.” This striking sprit wears a gossamer veil on her face, which parts to show her tender, young, 19 year old face. Next to her rides Merlin, a mystical, chivalric, magician who is reputed to be the Devil’s offspring. When the Chariot stops before Don Quixote and Sancho Panza, the music of the shawms cease, the lutes and the harps stop, and the “figure in the robe comes to his feet, throws open his surplice, removes his veil, and stands there revealed as death itself, fleshless and hideous.” At this point, Merlin delivers a long speech in rhymed verse, claiming that he has learned of the enchantment and woes of Dulcinea, who was transformed by evil enchanters, from a high-born lady to a mere village wench. Then Merlin tells Don Quixote that to recover and restore Dulcinea to her natural form he must have his squire, Sancho Panza, lash himself three thousand three hundred times on his ample buttocks, to remove the magic spell. After much tooing and froughing between Don Quixote, Sancho Panza, and Merlin, about the propriety and administration of the punishment, the nymph asks Sancho Panza to free her from her enchantment. Pleased that they achieved their aims so cleverly and so successfully, the Duke and the Duchess return to their castle, determined to play more jests on Don Quixote and Sancho Panza.

Joke 2: Countess Trifaldi (Clavileno the Swift)

With the help of the Duke and Duchess of Aragon, their unnamed butler pretends to be an aggrieved Doyenna named the Countess of Trifaldi, from the Kingdom of Candy, who pretends that she is the most eminent and longest serving Doyenna of a regal personage named Queen Maguncia—the mother of a 14 year old girl named princess Antonomasia. According to the butler, princess Antonomasia is brought up under his direct guidance and instructive tutelage, until she happens to meet a bold inamorato at court named Don Clavijo, who wins over her mind, and opens her heart, by praising her understanding, writing her poems, playing his guitar, and trusting to his youth and dash and sharp and ready wit to appeal to her feminine sensibilities. The butler then narrates a tragic tale about how Don Clavijo, a private knight and gentlemen, and princess Antonomasia, the heiress to the Kingdom of Kandy, are tragically turned into a brass monkey and a metal crocodile, respectively, by an evil giant named Malambruno, to avenge the untimely death of his cousin Queen Maguncia. Then, to provoke Don Quixote to act as their savior, the butler says that on a column between their two metallic statues, stands a marble column chiseled with an inscription that says that “the two lovers will not regain their original form until the brave man of La Mancha fights the giant Malambruno in mortal combat.” To further stimulate Don Quixote into physical action, the butler claims that to punish Trifaldi for allowing a union between Don Clavijo and Princess Antonomasia, the necromancer Malambruno cast a wicked spell on her that leaves her, and her fellow maidens, “bristling with beards.” Then the butler says that to lift the curse of their ubiquitous beards, and thus to restore Don Clavijo and Princess Antonomasia to live animation, he must fly to the Kingdom of Kandy on the sage Merlin’s magical horse, and best the giant Malambruno in one-on-one mortal combat. On cue, four wild-men dressed in green ivy enter the garden bearing Merlin’s great wooden horse named Clavileno the Swift on their shoulders. At Trifaldi’s behest they lower the horse to the ground and encourage Don Quixote and Sancho Panza to climb aboard and fly to the Kingdom of Kandy. Before Don Quixote and Sancho Panza mount the supposed flying steed, the Butler’s helpers tell them that to prevent the high altitude from making them dizzy they must remain blindfolded until the horse neighs, which will be a sure sign that their journey has reached its end. As soon as the Dolorous Duenna sees Merlin’s magical horse he begs Don Quixote and Sancho Panza to make a happy start on their novel journey so that her smooth and silky beardless complexion is restored to her right away. After drawing a handkerchief from his waist-pouch and having the Dolorous Doyenne tie it around his eyes, Don Quixote mounts Clavileno the Swift without any further arguments, since he feels that “concern for his safety will cast doubts on his courage.” Next, Sancho Panza mounts the steed behind him climbing on board the stallion in slow motion and with bad grace, and settling himself as best he can on its crupper, which he finds much less soft then he would like. Finding that the wooden horse’s crupper is as hard as marble, Sancho Panza asks the Duke if he ride on a saddle-pad, or a seat-cushion, to wad the wooden creature, even if it has to be taken from a drawing room or some page boy’s bed. In response, Trifaldi says that since Clavileno cannot endure any man made trappings whatsoever, Sancho Panza can sit side-saddle, if he likes, so the seat will not feel so hard. Sancho Panza sits side saddle, says goodbye and allows himself to be blindfolded. Then he gazes down on everyone in the garden with “tender brimming eyes,” begging them to help him in his plight by saying Ave Maria’s and Paternosters and other prayers and blessings to bring him through the adventure safe and sound. As soon as they settle themselves on the horse, Don Quixote turns the peg in its’ forehead, while audience members pray that God will guide the valiant knight Don Quixote and his intrepid squire Sancho Panza to safe harbor. To simulate the feeling of wind blowing on them as they leave the ground, the Duke, the Duchess, and the Butler, arrange for a set of large bellows to pump air in their direction, so Don Quixote and Sancho Panza thinks that they are flying over the earth. Then a side chorus makes a series of comments in an attempt to convince the duo that they are airborne: like the statement that “as they go through the air they are cleaving the wind swifter than any arrow; [or the observation that as they] soar up in the sky, all who watch from the earth are amazed and astonished.” Ever skeptical, Sancho Panza wonders out-loud if they are really so high up, since the voices he hears sound as if they are nearby. Don Quixote responds by saying that since their flight is so extraordinary he’ll be able to see and hear what he likes, even from a thousand leagues away. Here, Don Quixote’s imagination takes over as he speculates about their ascent through higher and higher regions of air, where hail, snow, thunder, and lightning are born, and where fire comes to life if they climb high enough. In synchronization with this comment, Don Quixote and Sancho Panza feel their faces being warmed from a good distance with tow hanging from a cane, which is easy to light and extinguish. At this point, Don Quixote speculates that they must be climbing to higher and higher regions in the sky, so that they can swoop down on the Kingdom of Kandy, like a falcon hunting a heron to catch its prey. Though delighted by Don Quixote and Sancho Panza’s conversation, The Duke and the Duchess decide to bring the extraordinary and well-contrived adventure to an end, by setting fire to Clavileno’s tail with some tow so that a fire-line detonates a bundle of firecrackers affixed to the horses body sending Don Quixote and Sancho Panza hurling to the ground scorched and singed. When Don Quixote and Sancho Panza regain their senses they see a great lance thrust into the earth, with a white parchment hanging from it, which says that the illustrious knight and his brave squire have successfully completed the adventure of the Countess of Trifaldi, merely by attempting it, and that the giant Malambruno, regards himself as utterly and completely satisfied, and the duennas chins are shorn and smooth and King Clavijo and Princess Antonomasia have been returned to their pristine state.

Joke 3: Sancho Panza’s Governorship

The Duke and Duchess are so delighted with the successful and amusing outcome of the adventure of the Dolorous Duenna that they decide to continue with their jests seeing that they have such a suitable subject who takes all their actions in earnest. To prepare Sancho Panza for an elaborate governorship scenario, the Duke and the Duchess instructs most of their tenants, along with some of their servants, about how to behave to Sancho during his governorship of Barataria. Therefore, on the day following Clavileno’s flight, the Duke tells Sancho Panza to “dress and make himself ready to go and be a governor because his islanders are yearning for his leadership as if they wanted rain during a drought.” As part and parcel of this gubernatorial simulation, the Duke gives Sancho Panza what he claims is a real live island, where, the Duke says, if Sancho Panza plays his cards right he can win the riches of earth as well as the blessings of heaven. After much preliminary discussion on: what Sancho Panza should wear as a governor; the mental qualities he should develop as a civic leader; and how he can overcome organized predators while in office, Don Quixote chimes in by advising him about how to conduct himself as lord governor. Included in Don Quixote’s wisdom are: tips about avoiding corruption and bribery while in office; instructions about what does, and does not, make for a good legal judge; lessons about how Sancho Panza can come to know himself through introspection and self-reflection; guidance about how a modest governor should view his background and makeup; wisdom about how a strong figure can, and should, avoid idle gossip; insights about the pride and joy that one feels when doing a job well; thoughts about how a governor should refine his wife while in high office; tips about how to deal with rich and poor claimants in a court of law; reflections about how to ponder the merits of a person’s legal case without bias or favoritism; and lastly, guidance on how to evaluate a situation objectively. After giving Sancho Panza instructions for the purification of his soul, Don Quixote gives him tips about the embellishment of his body, by suggesting that he should take pride in his appearance by: keeping his body clean and fresh smelling; cutting his fingernails so that they do not look like the talons of a falcon; ensuring that his clothes are clean and tidy and not loose fitting; refraining from eating an excessive amount of garlic and onions, so that he does not burp in public; moderating his drinking and eating and bearing in mind that wine keeps neither secrets nor promises; refraining from gluttony by not chewing on both sides of his mouth at the same time; avoiding sloth and indolence by waking at sun-up with a spirit of diligence and good grace; exercising keen horsemanship skills by striking a pleasing equilibrium between proud dignity, on the one hand, and comfortable relaxation, on the other; and lastly, how he should, and should not, dress as a governor. In addition, Don Quixote provides practical guidance about how Sancho Panza can determine what his new position might be worth; how, in effect, he should distribute earned finances to his subordinates; how he should speak with careful thought, and thorough deliberation, while in office; and, most significantly, how to avoid blood feuds, and other interfamily disputes, as head of a local, township, government. With this prefatory counsel, the Duke and Duchess send Sancho Panza off to govern Barataria, with a great retinue, so that he can start governing the town/island, as he sees fit. Accompanied by a mighty host, Sancho Panza rides into Barataria on a mule as if he is a conquering patriarch returning home from some great victory. By order of the Duke, Sancho Panza dresses in a scholar’s clothes with an ample topcoat of tawny watered camlet, with a cap of the same material, and behind him comes his donkey dapple with accoutrements of flaming silk. When Sancho Panza reaches the gates of the town the entire council is there to receive him to hand over the keys to the city. With church bells ringing, and enthusiastic residents shouting jubilant cheers, Sancho Panza is made Perpetual Governor of Barataria, even though his governorship lasts only ten days. Immediately, Sancho Panza is rushed into a courtroom, where he is offered a seat on a judge’s bench, since, according to ancient custom, he is made to answer a somewhat difficult and complicated question, so that the townsman can evaluate his wits and either rejoice at the tenure of an intelligent governor, or bewail the reign of a dim-witted leader. This somewhat complex question involves a farmer, on the one hand, who asks if a tailor can make a length of cloth sufficient to make several hoods for himself, and a tailor, one the other hand, who objects to a farmer’s suspicious way of interacting with the tailor. Since the tailor believes that the farmer automatically assumes that he will try to filch some cloth for himself in the process of making hooded garments, he deceives the farmer by making several capes for him that are only large enough to fit his fingertips. Technically, since the farmer only states that five hoods should be made from one length of material, without explicitly stating what size they should be, the haberdasher fulfills his request by fashioning undersize garments. But since the tailor knew that the farmer meant that the hoods should be large enough to fit his head, the tailor is found guilty of deceiving the famer even though he knew what he meant. When Sancho Panza is asked to deliberate on this complex and puzzling case he delivers an on the spot commonsense verdict that the tailor will forfeit his pay and the farmer his cloth and that the hoods will be given to penniless prisoners in jail. After solving a few other minor squabbles, everyone believes that Sancho Panza has the wisdom to govern their town with stern fairness and objective reason.

Joke 4: Goat Bell Cat Fright Scare

In their fourth joke, the Duke and Duchess startle Don Quixote, by arranging to lower from a balcony above his window, a rope with more than a hundred goat-bells tied to it, along with a great sackful of cats with smaller bells tied to their tails. The clanking of the goat bells, and the screeching of the cats, makes such a din that Don Quixote finds himself in a state of shocked fear. To escape confinement, two of the three cats scramble in through the grill covering Don Quixote’s window, only to race around his room in a state of extreme agitation, in a desperate attempt to find an exit point. The movement of these three scurrying cats creates such a breeze that candles burning in the room are swiftly extinguished, leaving Don Quixote in complete darkness. In the dark, the bell rope is shaken up-and-down jangling one hundred goat bells, causing such a loud hubbub that Don Quixote springs to his feet, draws his sword, and begins to make thrusts with his blade through the grille crying, all the while, that since he is a brave knight from La Mancha, all the wicked aspirations of evil enchanters are powerless and impotent against the might of his strong arm. Thus, turning to face the cats, Don Quixote slashes at them with his sword ? again and again ? until he corners them. To escape his sword thrusts, one cat jumps out the window, while the other cat, finding it hard pressed by Don Quixote’s sword thrusts, hurls itself at his face with such tenacity that dislodging its claws and teeth from our knight’s face is very difficult. When the Duke and the Duchess figure out what is happening to Don Quixote, they unlock the door to his room and rush in to see our poor knight struggling, with all his strength, to tear a cat off his face. Upon hearing loud snarls, and raucous hisses, the Duke pulls the cat off Don Quixote’s face and throws it out the window.

Analysis: Though the Duke and the Duchess rig the goat bell cat fright scare, their joke does not go according to plan, since the great noise created by jingling goat bells and screeching cats, frightens them above and beyond their wildest expectations. Thus, when the Duke and the Duchess hear Don Quixote cry out in pain, they realize that their joke has gone too far. This is why the Duke makes amends by running into his bed chamber and tearing the cat off his face. In brief, the Duke and Duchess leave Don Quixote to rest and recuperate in his bed for five days, since they never imagined that their little jest would be so tiresome and so costly to the man of La Mancha.

Originally posted 2017-01-04 00:18:16.

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Originally posted 2020-01-06 15:47:51.