January 28, 2023


Vivaldo’s Introduction: Readers first meet Senor Vivaldo when he is travelling through La Mancha to a student-scholar’s burial where he teams up with a dozen shepherds to read Grisostomo’s eulogy. Upon questioning the herdsmen closely, Vivaldo learns about a shepherdess Don Quixote named Marcela, who, at first, inspired love from a student named Grisostomo, but who later drove him to suicide by rejecting his love suit.

Vivaldo - Don Quixote
Don Quixote Novel

Vivaldo’s Encounter With Don Quixote: Driven by curiosity, Senor Vivaldo asks Don Quixote what drives him to ride about the countryside wearing armor. Upon hearing Don Quixote say that the arms he carries is the battle gear of a knight errant, Senor Vivaldo concludes that he is a madman. Yet just to make sure that Don Quixote is indeed insane—and  Don Quixote Fiction not just eccentric—he asks him for a description of what a knight errant is. Prompted by Senor Vivaldo’s inquiry, Don Quixote recounts the annals and histories of England, which treat of the famous exploits of King Arthur and the Knights of the roundtable. Since Senor Vivaldo is “a clever man, with a cheerful disposition,” he eggs Don Quixote on by comparing knight errantry to the strictest profession in the world: that of the Carthusian monk. This declaration, in turn, prompts Don Quixote to discourse about the relative roles of those who pray versus those who fight (i.e. the role of soldiers versus the role of monks.) In response, Vivaldo says that chivalry “smacks of paganism because it never occurs to knight errants to pray to God before they go into battle.” Instead, knights commend themselves to their ladies before risking their lives. In response, Don Quixote says that according to the established custom of knight errantry it would be “a grave error if a Knight errant entered battle under the watchful gaze of his lady love yet did not implore her to favour and succour him during his clash-of-arms.”

Vivaldo Inquires About Dulcinea: Senor Vivaldo gives Don Quixote an opportunity to sing Dulcinea’s praises, by asking him about his lady’s name, rank, beauty, and family. Upon discovering that Dulcinea comes from the aristocratic family’s of El Toboso, a lineage that, according to Don Quixote, is “so exulted that it could be the rootstock of the most illustrious families of future centuries,” we learn that Senor Vivaldo descends from the “Cachopins of Lardeo,” a pedigree, which he Don Quixote politely says, is of “no consequence, when compared with El Toboso of la Mancha.”

Vivaldo: To Pray or Fight: Senor Vivaldo’s highlights the age old conflict between members of the clergy, who focus on the next life through prayer, and knight errants, who focus on this world by being brave in battle and loving their ladies.

Vivaldo Preserves Grisostomo’s Papers: Besides reading Grisostomo’s song of lament during his funeral, Senor Vivaldo also convinces Grisostomo’s best friend, Ambrosio, not to burn Grisostomo’s papers, along with his body, since there is no rational arguments that can Don Quixote justify such an act. In essence, Senor Vivaldo wants to preserve Grisostomo’s poems, and other intellectual writings, so that future generations can “read about what happens to people who rush headlong down the path of delirious love.” In other words, Senor Vivaldo preserves Grisostomo’s papers in the immortal memory of mankind, as a living example to other people to avoid the pitfall that Grisostomo fell into. In fact he begs Ambrosio to let him keep Grisostomo’s papers so that he can learn, by tragic example, what not to do in life. For this reason, Senor Vivaldo takes a handful of papers closest to him, without asking permission (among which is Grisostomo’s song of despair) to preserve them for future generations.

Vivaldo’s Lineage: Vivaldo descends from the Cachopins of Laredo.

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Originally posted 2019-12-29 12:34:08.