February 8, 2023

The Priest (Father Pero Perez)


The Priest (Father Pero Perez) -- Don Quixote
Don Quixote Novel

The priest, father Pero Perez, is Don Quixote’s friend, from the same village, who disapproves of certain tales of knight errantry that, in his opinion, negatively affect society. In hopes of curing Don Quixote of his chivalric delusions, father Pero Perez discards several of Don Quixote’s books, especially those he deems harmful to his psychological makeup. The priest also uses chivalry as a way of penetrating Don Quixote’s imagination, to persuade, even compel, our knight to return home. First, he asks a woman named Dorotea to pretend to be a boon-seeking princess so that Don Quixote will do what he is asked. Second, he pretends that a trip home in an oxcart will protect Don Quixote from the envy and deceit of evil enchanters. Evidently, the priest uses all manner of chicanery to cure Don Quixote of his madness.

How the Priest Keeps Don Quixote Free:

Besides creating several chivalric scenarios to persuade Don Quixote to return home by choice, the priest also keeps Don Quixote out of jail, either by paying for his room and board at taverns, when needed, or by convincing the Holy Brotherhood to let him go because his insanity acquits him of any intentional wrong doing.

The Priest Pays For Don Quixote’s Damages:

After the Priest promises to pay the innkeeper all “damages, plus all interest accrued from losses sustained at the hands of Don Quixote” the innkeeper’s wife is delighted.

The Priest’s Arguments With Don Quixote About Knight Errantry: Before Don Quixote takes it into his head to become a knight errant, he has frequent arguments with his village priest, father Pero Perez, about who had been a better knight errant, Palmerin of England, or Amadis of Gaul.

The Priest’s Education: Father Pero Perez, Don Quixote’s village priest is “a learned man—a Siguenza graduate no less.”

The Priest’s Role In Taking Basilio’s Confession: To redeem Basilio’s immortal soul before he dies, the priest, father Pero Perez, urges Quiteria to hurry up and decide what she is going to do before he expires. After she gives Basilio her hand in marriage, the priest not only blesses their union from the depths of his heart but he also prays to God for the eternal repose of the soul of the bridegroom.

The Priest Is Astonished That Basilio The Poor’s Suicide Attempt Is a Sham: When Basilio the poor jumps to his feet with extraordinary composure and extracts the rapier that had been sheathed in his body, the priest, shaken and astonished, feels the wound with both hands only to find that the blade hadn’t passed through Basilio’s flesh and ribs but through a hollow iron tube that he’d fitted around them. Realizing that Basilio is not dying at all, the priest feels like an utter fool for being tricked into assuming that his immortal soul was at risk of loss.

The Priest Makes Don Quixote Feel Guilty For Freeing Criminals In The Sierra Morena: The priest pretends that as he was traveling through the Black Mountains to Seville “four highwaymen waylaid, and [figuratively,] fleeced him.” The priest continues that the men who attacked him were from a recently released chain-gang that were lately freed by a man who defeated a sergeant and guards responsible for marching these prisoners to the galleys. To make Don Quixote feel guilty for “defrauding justice [by flying] in the face of his King and natural lord, [by defying his] just commands,” the priest says that someone had “robbed the galleys of their engines.” At this reproach, “Don Quixote’s color changes with every word [and] he [doesn’t] dare admit that he had been those good people’s liberator.” The priest ends his talk by asking “God in his infinite mercy to forgive whoever it was that prevented [those criminals] from being taken to the punishment that they deserved.”

The Priest Eases Censoring of Books: First, the priest preserves many of Don Quixote’s books because he admires them for their ideas. For example, he claims that “the four books of Amadis of Gaul are the very best of all books of this kind [and therefore] ought to be pardoned.” The Priest shows further restraint when he says that Palmerin of England: “deserves respect for three reasons: because it is excellent in its own right; because it is said to have been written by a wise king of Portugal; [and because] all the adventures in Princess Miraguarda’s castle are superb and splendidly contrived; and the speeches are courtly and clear; and have due regard for the character of the speakers, with precision and sensitivity.” On these grounds he orders that it “be saved from the flames.” Again father Perez is lenient when the “History of the Famous Knight Tirante the White” falls at his feet. Thus, he cries: “Good heavens fancy Tirante the White being here! As far as its style is concerned this is the best book in the world. In it knights eat and sleep and die in their beds and make wills before they die; and other such things that are usually not expected from books of this sort. Take it home and read it, and you’ll see that what I say is true.” This time the Priest saves a good book from the bonfire because of its’ realism. It is not just some chivalry books that the priest spares from the flames but all poetry books as well. Poetry books are “saved” because they “don’t deserve to be burned with the others, because these are books of the intellect, [that cause] no harm.” Respect for learning and the imagination is also illustrated when the priest shows tolerance for three unique books written in Spanish heroic verse. Since these “three books are the best written in heroic verse in the Castilian language [the priests asks that they be] preserved as the finest pieces of poetry Spain possesses.” And when Don Quixote’s “remaining books” are burned by his housekeeper we are told that “if the Priest had examined them they wouldn’t have received such a severe sentence.” Later, the priest tells an innkeeper that his two books, “Don Cirongilio and Felixmarte,” as well as his book about “a great captain named Diego Garcia,” should be granted permission for publication, “in the justified belief that there can’t be anybody so ignorant as to read them as if they were true histories.”

The Priest Makes Don Quixote Eat, Sleep, and Rest When He Freaks-Out In Bed: When the priest sees Don Quixote leap “out of bed, shouting and raving, [slashing] with his sword in all directions, wide awake as if he’d never slept, [he] wrestles him back to bed.” Then, when Don Quixote says that his “Lord Archbishop Turpin, is a disgrace to [knights] who call [themselves] the Twelve Peers, [because he] allowed [a group of] courtiers to carry off the victory in this tournament, after [the twelve peers] won all the honours on previous days, [the priest tells him to]: ‘Hush, [because] God will grant a change of fortune so that what is lost today is won tomorrow, and for the moment [he] should look to [his] health, [since he] seems to be overtired, if not sore wounded.’” This statement prompts Don Quixote to eat, rest, and sleep.

The Priest Walls and Seals Don Quixote’s Library: While our knight is asleep, the priest has his “library walled up and sealed off, so that he [can’t] find his books when he [gets] up.” This action causes Don Quixote to “stay quietly at home for a whole fortnight without showing any signs of wanting to re-enact his former follies.”

The Priest Gets Don Quixote To Return Home From The Sierra Moreno: When the Priest and Cardenio espy Don Quixote offering his services to Dorotea on bended knee, they emerge from behind some bushes, wondering how they can join their company, without being recognized. So the priest produces a pair of scissors from his travelling case and cuts Cardenio’s beard off, dressing him in his pale brown cape and cloak, which leaves the priest in his doublet and hose. The transformation of Cardenio is so complete, in fact, that “he would not have recognized himself if he looked in the mirror,” while the priest, for his part, looks different, as well, without his usual set of clothes. As soon as Don Quixote and his companions emerge from the Sierra Moreno, the priest stands gazing at Don Quixote, indicating that he thinks he knows him. After the Priest takes a good long look at our knight he hurries over to Don Quixote with open arms crying: “well met, well met, O mirror of chivalry, my good neighbor Don Quixote de la Mancha, the very flower of politeness, the succor of the needy, the quintessence of knights errant!” While the Priest says this he embraces Don Quixote’s left knee, to hold Don Quixote and Rocinante in place. Then, the priest helps Dorotea convince Don Quixote that she is a princess seeking a boon by asking her which Kingdom she wishes to direct the group to. After Dorotea agrees that they are heading towards her Kingdom of Micomicona, the Priest says that they must “pass through his home town, [first] and from there to Cartagena, and in little less than nine years, they may be in sight of the Ural Mountains, which is slightly more than one hundred days journey from her highness’s Kingdom.” Later, when Dorotea forgets her pretend name, our priest reminds her that her majesty’s name is Princess Micomicona, the legitimate heiress to the great Kingdom of Micomicona, and “with the help of his prompting, she will be able to bring to her memory everything she wants to tell them.” When Don Quixote wonders how Princess Micomicona landed in Osuna, Spain, since Osuna’s land locked, the priest replies that she must have meant that after she landed at Malaga, Osuna was the first place she heard about Don Quixote. Thankful that the priest saved her yet again, by making her story sound plausible, Dorotea explains that now she has had the good fortune to meet Don Quixote, in the flesh-and-blood; and he has granted her her boon and “will go with her wherever she takes him,” in his courtesy and magnificence. Though, at one point, the priest insists that he “would have to dream up another way [of] getting [Don Quixote] back to his [home] village,” Dorotea is willing to continue pretending that she is princess Micomicona, even though she wants to leave with Don Fernando. Though Dorotea and Don Fernando willingly play along with the priest’s plan for awhile, ultimately the priest lets Dorotea and Don Fernando go, since “they already stayed [at the inn for] two days, and were eager to be on their way.” Therefore, to transport Don Quixote to his home village (where he can be cured of his madness) the priest agrees with a man with an ox-cart to construct a cage with wooden bars, large enough to hold Don Quixote comfortably. But first the priest has to tie Don Quixote up. So he suggests that his companions mask their faces to make Don Quixote think that they are not the same people in the inn. With these disguises, Don Quixote thinks the strangers who seize him, bind him, and gag him, are “ghosts of that enchanted castle, who immobilized him by a magic spell.” At the priest’s suggestion, the masked figures bring in a cage and shut Don Quixote up in it and nail it down firmly. Later, the priest pays a group of holy brothers 100 reals to escort Don Quixote’s cage back to his home village, positioning two peace-officers with their muskets on either side of the cart to ensure our knight does not escape. At this point, the priest and the barber mount their “powerful mules” wearing masks to prevent Don Quixote from recognizing them. Shielding their faces, the priest and the barber journey home behind the ox-cart. Later, the priest lets Don Quixote out of his cage, at the behest of a Catholic Cannon, who assures him that “Don Quixote will not get-up to his old tricks again.” After Don Quixote gets into a fight with a group of priests because he thinks that they are transporting a woman against her will, our priest pays the other priests for Don Quixote’s damages. Later, he orders Don Quixote to be put back on the ox cart. Lying on top of a pile of hay in the back of the ox-cart, the Priest conveys Don Quixote home, were he walks through the front door of his house free as day. Then, the priest tells Don Quixote’s niece to make sure to pamper her uncle and have him watched so that he does not escape again. At the priest’s request, his niece and housekeeper welcome our poor knight, undress him, and lay him on his ancient bed. Over the next month, the priest visits Don Quixote often, suggesting that he be given nutritious food to strengthen his heart and fortify his brain. In brief, the priest transports Don Quixote home, after his second sally, where Don Quixote remains for about a month, eating, sleeping, and conversing with others, which tranquilizes his mind, calms his emotions, and restores his physical health.

The Priest Comforts Cardenio: After hearing Cardenio’s tale of woe, the priest “prepares to speak some words of comfort” to him.

The Priest Helps Dorotea: When the priest sees Dorotea washing her feet in a flowing creek in the Sierra Morena, he stops her exit by saying: “Stop, madam, whoever you are, [since] those whom you see before you desire only to serve you.” Then, the priest tells Dorotea to “not attempt to make so inopportune an escape, [again] for neither will [her] feet withstand it nor will [they] allow it.” After taking Dorotea by the hand, the priest says that it was fortunate that he met her in such a lonely place, “if not to remedy [her] ills, at least to give [her good] advice, for no ill can be so oppressive or so extreme that, while life lasts, the suffer refuses to listen to well-meant counsel.” To further pacify Dorotea, the Priest invites her to “tell [him] about [her] good or evil fortune; for in all of [them] together, or in each separately, [she’ll] find sincere sympathizers.” Though, at first, Dorotea is nonplussed, by the Priest’s solicitation, eventually, she breathes a deep sigh of relief and tells him her tragic tale.

The Priest Encourages Sancho Panza To Help Him Manage Don Quixote: When Don Quixote is in the Black Mountains doing mad penance for Dulcinea, the Priest asks Sancho Panza to “work out how to extricate [his] master from the pointless penance he’s doing.”

How The Priest Appeals To Don Quixote Through His Chivalric Imagination: Sometimes “the priest contradicts [Don Quixote when he is speaking chivalric nonsense,] and sometimes he gives in to him, because if he didn’t make use of this tactic it would be impossible to restore his sanity.”

The Priest’s Speech: The Priest, “a man of ready speech,” begs and advises Cardenio, “with brief but judicious words,” to abandon that wretched existence of his so as not to die in the Black Mountains, which, to his mind, “would be the greatest misfortune.”

The Priest and Church Doctrine: Father Pero Perez tells Sancho Panza that archbishops give their squires “some benefice, with or without [full] cure of their souls, or they make them sextons, which yields a good fixed income, quite apart from the surplice fees.”

The Priest Takes Don Quixote’s Confession On His Death Bed: The priest often visits Don Quixote when he is seized by a fever that keeps him in bed for six days. Dying of either “depression brought on by his defeat or by divine ordination,” the priest stays around to confess Don Quixote’s sins. Invited to enter his bedroom, Don Quixote asks the priest to congratulate him [since he is no longer] Don Quixote de la Mancha [knight errant] but Alonso Quixano the Good.” Then Don Quixote tells the priest that he is now “the enemy of Amadis of Gaul and the whole infinite horde of his descendants; [that] now all those profane histories of knight-errantry are odious to [him]; that now [he] acknowledges [his] folly and the peril in which [he] was placed by reading them; [and] now, by God’s mercy, having at long last learned [his] lesson, [he] abominates them all.” At this point, Don Quixote “feels that [since he] is dying and dying quickly,” he would like the assembled host to bring forward the priest to confess him because “at times like this a man must not trifle with his soul.” At this request the priest believes that Don Quixote “really [is] dying [since] the ease with which he had turned from a madman into a sane man [is evident in his speech]; [since] all that he says is so well expressed, so Christian and so coherent that it removed all doubt from [the priest’s] mind and convinces [him] that he was indeed sane.” Then, the priest “orders everybody out of [Don Quixote’s] room and [is] left alone with him, [to] confess him.” After Don Quixote cleanses his soul with all the necessary Christian formalities, the priest says that “Alonso the Good really is dying, and he really is sane, and that the others better go back to make his will.” At this point Don Quixote tells the priest that he “was mad, [but] now [he is] sane. [That he was] Don Quixote de la Mancha and now, [he is] Alonso Quixano the Good.” Because the Priest absolves Don Quixote of his sins, and paves a way to heaven, he dies in his bed in “a calm and Christian manner.” At this time the priest asks a notary “to write out a certificate that Alonso Quixano the Good, commonly known as Don Quixote de la Mancha, passed on from this life, dying of natural causes.”

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Originally posted 2019-12-26 19:27:10.