From: Cervantes: Bulletin of the Cervantes Society of America 17.2 (1997): 80-93.
Copyright © 1997, The Cervantes Society of America
ARTICLE

The Fortunes of Chivalry: António José da Silva's Vida do Grande D. Quixote de La Mancha e do Gordo Sancho Pança


EDWARD H. FRIEDMAN

António José da Silva's Vida do Grande D. Quixote de La Mancha e do Gordo Sancho Pança was first performed in the Teatro do Bairro Alto in Lisbon, in October of 1733. This particular adaptation of Don Quijote is striking for a number of reasons, not the least of which is the radical contrast that exists between the tone and spirit of the play and the circumstances of the author's brief and tragic life, which has been documented by a number of scholars. Silva —known as “o Judeu,” the Jew— was a New Christian, born in Rio de Janeiro in 1705. He was sent with his mother, who had been accused by the Inquisition, and other family members to Portugal in 1712. Silva studied in Coimbra and joined his father in the practice of law, but he was never able to break the Inquisition's hold on his destiny. During the period of 1733 to 1738, eight dramatic compositions by Silva were staged. Within the same period, Silva married, had a daughter, completed other works, and was imprisoned for a second time by the Inquisition. He was condemned to die on October 18, 1739. (V.

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the introductions to the editions of Remedios [Silva, Vida] and Tavares [Silva, Obras], as well as the biographical sketch by McPheeters 356-59.) My focus here will not be on the relation of life and art, as fascinating as they may be in this case, but on the structure of the Vida do Grande D. Quixote and its ties to Cervantes's novel. (For general considerations of the play's structure, see Frèches and McPheeters; Barata considers the author's dramatic corpus in light of the Spanish comedia, but there is no sustained discussion of the Vida.)
     Silva's play, which he classifies as “ópera,” contains music, a choral opening and closing, and numerous árias and minuetes in juxtaposition with the dialogue in prose. Divided into two parts, with nine and eight scenes, respectively, the drama is based almost exclusively on the Quijote of 1615, with the suggestion that Silva was familiar with the Avellaneda sequel, as well. Given the frequent changes of scene and the fact that the original performance would have included life-sized puppets (bonifrates) and animals, together with music and special effects, spectacle per se plays a decisive role in the author's theatricalization of Don Quijote. So do chivalry, justice, and a sense of the heroic. Beyond the complex visual and auditory experience lies a carefully crafted text with a unique vision of the knight and his squire. Silva manages to re-create the Cervantine story while adding his own inscription —his personal signature— to the existing work.
     The presence of the barber —without, significantly perhaps, the priest— in the first scene of the Vida do Grande D. Quixote allows the dialogue to touch upon the topic of beards, markers of prowess on the battlefield, as the “barbas luengas” of El Cid will attest. Chivalry is the inspiration of D. Quixote's exploits and the source of his illness, which remains uncured. When D. Quixote attacks the barber for having suggested that there are no longer knights errant in the world, he is restrained by Sansão Carrasco, who informs him what people are saying about him (that he is “louco, mas valente”) and about his lady Dulcineia del Toboso (that she is “fingida e fantástica” [Silva Obras, 25]; all quotations from the text will refer to this edition). Although pursued by enchanters, D. Quixote feels obligated to sally forth once again, “que não é justo que fique sem fim minha memorável história” (29). Sancho Pança, meanwhile, offers a series of disparates as an establishing shot. The squire has suffered on the road, but the continued promise of an island motivates him to accompany his master. Sancho's dialogue with his wife Teresa does not underscore the role reversal of Don Quijote, II, 5, in which the


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peasant's commanding voice prefigures his control of the narrative situation, but Teresa does echo her spouse with comments such as “sendo casada convosco há quarenta e dous anos, seis meses, três semanas, doze horas, oito minutos e vinte instantes, nunca em vosso poder me vi com a barriga cheia” (33). Silva gives Sancho the opportunity to display his particular brand of humor as the squire prepares a will prior to his departure. (There is no Alonso Quijano and no will at the end of Silva's play.)
     Setting his protagonists on the road, Silva provides a variation of the enchantment of Dulcinea. Although the play contains no allusion to a previous mission to the love object, Sancho feels compelled to produce Dulcineia, which he does in the form of a rustic woman (saloia). His description of the beautiful creature behind the enchantment (“. . . O nariz, isso era cair um homem de cu sobre ele; tinha umas mãos de rabo . . . ,”41) deviates substantially from the classic or Renaissance ideal. The first adventure, with a troupe of actors, is essentially a non-adventure, in which potential violence is avoided. The initial test is a challenge from Sansão Carrasco, under the guise of the Knight of the Woods. D. Quixote triumphs, as in the original, but Silva modifies the discourse of the defeated knight, “que quis vir disfarçado a ver se vos vencia, para que assim tornásseis para casa, sem essa loucura; mas já vejo que sois verdadeiro cavaleiro andante, e negá-lo não posso” (49). Heightening the irony, D. Quixote requests that the vanquished bachelor inform the barber of the outcome, “para que fique desenganado que sou cavaleiro andante” (49). If the skirmish with Sansão Carrasco casts the authenticity of the knight and the validity of his enterprise in a different light, the following scene, a variation of Don Quijote, II, 17, gives new meaning to the epithet, “Cavaleiro dos Leões.” When he comes upon an encaged lion —unlike its predecessor, “feroz e terrível” (50)— D. Quixote insists that the keeper release the beast. D. Quixote does battle with the lion and kills it, while the keeper proclaims, “Não vi mais valente homem no Mundo! Vou pasmado!” (52). As he heads toward the Cave of Montesinos, D. Quixote has an unblemished record of victory. Sansão Carrasco recognizes him as a knight, and the lion stands as a marker of reality, the antithesis of fabricated events.
     Interestingly, D. Quixote views his arrival at the cave as an opportunity to disenchant a fellow knight. Lured by the assurance that there is gold (“minas encantadas,” 53) within, Sancho Pança joins his master. At the entrance, Sancho reacts in fear to “uma legião de gigantes,” which D. Quixote identifies as “uns passarinhos, que vem a aplaudir a nossa entrada” (53). The knight errant sees himself as a


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new Aeneas making his descent, and Montesinos receives him ceremoniously: “ . . . flor, nata, e escuma dos cavaleiros andantes; só tu tiveste valor para me desencantares, ressuscitando a antiga andante cavalaria” (56-57). The lady Belerma becomes a candidate for disenchantment, as well, but Dulcineia (in any of her manifestations) is conspicuous by her absence. The cave episode in Silva's plays is ultimately much ado about very little. Before D. Quixote is able to complete the chivalric task, however, a tremor of the earth lifts master and servant through the air. D. Quixote blames Sancho, who has spoken of feathers borne away by the wind and thus seems to have prompted the mysterious exit. The squire, for his part, reproaches the knight for the enchanted —that is, yet to be seen— gold mines and island. At this point, D. Quixote gets it into his head that the enchanters have transformed Dulcineia into Sancho Pança. He makes the unlikely connection that the two share certain features (“sem dúvida Sancho às vezes o vejo com o rosto mais afeminado,” 61). Only when Sancho moves to kick him to avoid being embraced does he realize that the crude man and the beautiful and discreet woman cannot be one and the same.
     The muse Calíope appears in a cloud to enlist D. Quixote to come to the aid of Apolo, god of poetry. In the refashioned journey to Parnassus, Silva places the knight on the side of Apolo, “o qual . . . sabe que tens professado a estreita religião da cavalaria andante” and who finds himself besieged by “poetas malédicos, que o querem despojar do trono” (64). Fittingly, the deity wishes to take advantage of D. Quixote's expertise in arms and letters by having him engage in battle with the invaders and help to reform poetry, now in a deplorable state. As Sancho (of all people!) observes, “. . . não há tolo que não entre hoje no Parnaso” (67). D. Quixote and Sancho lead Apolo to victory over the literary traitors, and the muses Euterpe and Terpsícore salute them in song. Apolo acknowledges the contributions of both men, and Sancho asks that his son be given the title of  “Cascavel do Parnaso.” Fancying himself a member of the community of poets, Sancho ends Part I with an aria. D. Quixote, in turn, is the true champion, duly praised by Sansão Carrasco (representing the intelligentsia, as it were), by the legendary Montesinos and Belerma, and by the god of poetry and three of his muses.
     Part II, comprised, in general terms, of a variation of Don Quijote and Sancho Panza's encounter with the Duke and Duchess, begins with an adventure, set in Aragon, which resembles the episode of the enchanted boat in II, 29, and, to a lesser degree, the squire's delaying strategies in I, 20. As in Cervantes's novel, D. Quixote


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causes damage to a water mill, makes payment to the offended parties, and curses the enchanters who torment him on land and sea. D. Quixote and Sancho traverse a mountain range, where they come upon the Fidalgo and Fidalga. (In Don Quijote, the boat episode immediately precedes the meeting with the Duchess.) The Fidalgo has organized a hunt as a diversion to combat his wife's melancholy. The two recognize at once that an even stronger cure has presented itself in the figure of the knight and his squire. The couple has heard of D. Quixote, but there is no explicit reference to their having read the 1605 —or, for that matter, the 1615— Quijote. It is thus either their goal of emulation or the will of the “third author” that has them replicate the acts of their Cervantine counterparts. The Fidalga relishes the possibilities. “Temos muito que rir e nós o faremos mais doudo” (78), she says of the knight, and to the squire she adds, “vos quero para meu perrexil” (jester or fool; 79). A boar appears, knocks Sancho to the ground, and is killed by D. Quixote, with a bit less fanfare than the lion. D. Quixote accepts the invitation to spend some time at the palace of the Fidalgos as respite from his chivalric duties. In the comfort of the palace, Sancho Pança does a turn as storyteller, with a tale full of digressions (again echoing I, 20) that amuses his hosts but not his master.
     Following a tremor (the device used to denote a shift, often with supernatural overtones), a devil announces the entrance of Merlim with the enchanted Dulcineia. The means of disenchantment, determined, according to Merlim, by the stars and destiny, will be the suffering of three hundred lashes by Sancho Pança. Sancho resists, until the Fidalga promises him the governorship of an island as a reward. The terms of the decree having been satisfied, Merlim declares Dulcineia “desencantada,” and Sancho prepares for his new undertaking. Silva condenses two chapters of advice in Don Quijote to three guidelines: “. . . deves ter diante dos olhos a Justiça”; “Não te corrompas com dádivas”; “Amar a Deus, e ao teu próximo como a ti mesmo” (88). The brief counsel may be sufficient, since Sancho has earlier expressed his philosophy of governing: “Venha a ilha, que eu terei amor aos meus súbditos e lhe farei muito bem a caridade” (83).
     Scenes 4 through 6 of the second part put theory into practice, as Sancho assumes the leadership of the island, a Ilha dos Lagartos, which he renames dos Panças. Aspects of his reign —most notably, holding court for the citizenry, corresponding with his wife, resisting sumptuous food on the orders of his medical advisors, and succumbing to enemy forces— mirror the Cervantine original, but Silva includes his own brand of humor and folk wisdom. Justice becomes


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the subject of low comedy and a metonym of the highest order; Silva invents scenes that will encourage laughter but that cannot detach justice from its broader, and more personal, frame. The audiência opens with a man who seeks “justiça contra a mesma Justiça” (91) and ends with the suit of the long-winded victim of a kicking against the burro who perpetrated the crime. The burro turns out to be Sancho's mount, which he punishes nevertheless: “. . . com ser o burro meu e tendo-lhe tanto amor, não foi este bastante para deixar de fazer justiça” (98). Perhaps the most enigmatic —and yet the most telling— allusion to justice occurs in one of Sancho's first speeches as governor. The Meirinho (bailiff) asks Sancho to explain the depiction of Justice as a woman with her eyes covered, bearing a sword in one hand and scales in the other. Before advancing a pithy, and slightly confusing, commentary on the emblematic value of the representation, Sancho reminds his associate that “isto da Justiça é cousa pintada e que tal mulher não há no Mundo, nem tem carne, nem sangue, como v.g. a Senhora Dulcineia del Toboso, nem mais, nem menos” (89). It is important to remember, however, that Dulcineia has intervened —and has been disenchanted— in the preceding scene. The recipient of the three-hundred lashes should be the person least likely to forget that fact. It is curious to note that the name of Dulcineia is not listed among the interlocutores in the introductory section, while the saloia does appear. The text gives no description of the Dulcineia of Scene 3, but there is no reason to assume that the woman who enters with Merlim (also unlisted) is the village girl “enchanted” by Sancho, as she is in the knight's world of dreams, imaginings, or fabulation within Cervantes's Cave of Montesinos. The linking of the elusive Dulcineia with justice —equally elusive, likewise envisioned as singular and absolute but proven to be multiple and relative— is a master stroke by a writer whose life, sadly, depended on the justice enacted by his society.
     Like Cervantes, Silva exploits the comic potential of the island scenes. Not surprisingly, the tantalizing food serves as a comic magnet, with jokes building upon each other until the doctor, after rejecting every gastronomic option, advises Sancho that it is unhealthy to eat on an empty stomach and, finally, that “comer pratos . . . lhe pode fazer uma grande obstrução na barriga” (105). The experience seems to take its toll on the governor, who reverts a bit to the role of the wily but ingenuous villager as he makes his rounds. Realizing that he is greatly outnumbered by the enemy, he cedes the island without resistance. At the palace, D. Quixote censures Sancho for cowardice, while the Fidalga attributes the fall to an accident of


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fortune. Knight and squire meet the enchanted, and bearded, Condessa Trifalde (based on the Dueña Dolorida, la condesa Trifaldi, of Cervantes), who begs them to mount a horse that will ascend to ethereal regions for her disenchantment. D. Quixote accepts the challenge, and Sancho is lured by the offer of a monetary reward. It is difficult to ascertain where this cousin of Clavileño travels, but he brings the riders tumbling back to earth. The countess, now disenchanted, reneges on her offer to Sancho, who cries out, “Vamo-nos já desta casa encantada” (115).
     In a wooded area, D. Quixote faces a second challenge from Sansão Carrasco, once more in knightly garb, who defeats him and prohibits him from taking up arms for a period of ten years. D. Quixote resigns himself to his fate: “Estou vencido. Nem sempre a fortuna me havia de ser favorável” (116). Sancho ends the dialogue on a pensive note: “Bem me disse a minha filha ao despedir-me! Com que agora, dando fim a esta verdadeira História, irei contando: Tão alegres que viemos, e tão tristes que tornamos” (117). There is a certain irony in the fact that at the conclusion of the fantasy —chivalric and theatrical— the squire introduces the question of the “true history” of D. Quixote. One may see in the disillusionment (desengano) a necessary return to reality decreed, as Carrasco contends, by the stars, “para que vos recolhais em paz para a vossa casa” (117). There is no sense of memento mori in the ending. The only will in Silva's play is Sancho's, and its function is comic as opposed to fatalistic. The playwright has no Avellaneda to combat. He leaves the path open for future rewritings, and he backs away from death, even in the realm of the imagination.
     The Vida do Grande D. Quixote de la Mancha e do Gordo Sancho Pança is a rewriting of the second part of Cervantes's Don Quijote. In addition to a change of genre, Silva designs a visual and musical work of impressive complexity. He expands the humor in sequences such as Sancho's trials as governor and in new incidents, including the squire's preparation of his will (I, 3) and his supposed metamorphosis into Dulcineia (I, 8). Silva examines the state of literature, not by recalling the judgments of the canon from Toledo (Don Quijote, I, 47-48), but rather by taking his protagonists on a journey to Parnassus (I, 8-9), where they defend Apolo against the poetasters who deny his sovereignty. The allegorical battle projects a double-edged satirical sword, which leaves the illiterate Sancho as king of the mountain, so to speak. The rendering of the Cave of Montesinos (I, 6-7) replaces what may be an oneiric vision with Sancho as witness and with Montesinos and Belerma as figures of enchantment. In contrast,


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no enchanted Dulcineia resides in the cave. She shows up, instead, accompanied by Merlim, at the palace of the Fidalgos (II, 3), as in the case of Don Quijote, II, 35. Because the text does not discuss Dulcineia's appearance, it becomes difficult to know just who the enchanted lady may be. Cervantes's Don Quijote claims to see his beloved —in her altered state— in the cave, but he is dreaming, raving, or lying. It would not be entirely logical to presume that Merlim, whether magician or actor, would have the saloia with him. D. Quixote converses with, and reveres, the enchanted Dulcineia, who is then disenchanted by Sancho. The knight's sole response to the process that has taken place is a comment to the Fidalga: “Será para que Vossa Grandeza tenha mais uma criada para o servir” (88). Dulcineia is more a momentary distraction here than the inspiration of an obsession. D. Quixote's thoughts turn to the governorship of Sancho, who, for his part, uses Dulcineia and Lady Justice as examples of nonexistent beings.
     Through a series of victories on the battlefield, D. Quixote hears man and god confirm his chivalric identity. His madness is, in many ways, less pronounced than his valor, even though the latter may be a function of the former. His confrontation with the lion —hardly the lethargic creature found in Cervantes— is “real,” and the victory is complemented by the boar episode in Part II. Silva elevates D. Quixote by elevating his adversaries. Sansão Carrasco lacks the malicious mischievousness of his counterpart, and he accepts defeat without bitterness. The Fidalgos similarly entertain themselves more benignly, and less metatheatrically, than do the Duke and Duchess, purveyors of a type of literature of exhaustion. D. Quixote is intrepid, quick to fight yet compassionate. The world more often than not respects his claim to knighthood and thereby would seem to diminish the madness. A redressed Aeneas, D. Quixote is willing to enter hell. He challenges fellow knights, wild beasts, and bad poets. He serves the cause of nobility and designates himself as an agent of disenchantment. He is an advocate of the Golden Rule. And, it must be noted, he gradually fades from center stage.
     Silva's play is not only a rewriting but also, of course, a reading of Cervantes. In the 1615 Quijote, Sancho Panza fights for control as his master is subsumed by the success of the chronicle of his first two sallies. Animated by their reading, Sansón Carrasco and, more emphatically, the Duke and Duchess usurp his creative space. Having lived Part I, Sancho finds himself in a similar position, poised to reverse established hierarchies. Ironically, the ultimate cause of the alienation of Don Quijote is not the cast of characters but the book,


88 EDWARD H. FRIEDMAN Cervantes

not the others but the Other, his literary-historical alter ego. People know Don Quijote before they meet him; they can respond before he acts. Silva follows this trajectory by foregrounding Sancho Pança, especially in Part II of the play. Sancho operates as a foil figure to D . Quixote; he is unheroic, uneducated, and unpolished. He is as obsessed with the notion of governing an island as D. Quixote is with the exercise of chivalry. In Part II, Scene II, he discourses on the imaginary island in the manner of Cervantes's Don Quijote on military campaigns. The drawing up of the will allows him to display his rusticity, his simplicity: “Deixo a minha mulher tudo quanto puder furtar no inventário. Deixo a minha filha Sanchica o meu bom coração e aos meus dous filhos lhes não deixo nada, por, si o quiserem que o furtem, como eu fiz” (36-37). But Silva gives Sancho a linguistic virtuosity to match his increased prominence in the text. When D. Quixote employs figurative language, borrowed from the romances of chivalry, to depict the setting sun, his squire responds, “Boa metáfora; mas eu tenho a barriga vazia e não estou para ouvir conceitos” (43). On another occasion, as D. Quixote contemplates a rare adventure before the fact, Sancho comments, “. . . tudo quanto vir le há-de parecer aventura; pois da imaginação nascem as causas” (49). On Mount Parnassus, he warns his master, “Senhor, não se meta a brigar com os poetas, que são piores que gigantes. Veja vossa mercê que eles trazem um exército de dez mil romances, quatro mil sonetos, duzentas décimas, oitenta madrigais, e um esquadrão de sátiras volantes em silva, que arranha” (67). In at least three instances, the playwright permits Sancho to break the theatrical illusion, with references to the conventions and properties of the stage. At one point, D. Quixote poses the question, “Sabes aonde estamos?,” to which Sancho replies, “Estamos no Teatro do Bairro Alto” (72; see also 54 and 64).
     In Part II, Silva includes a verbal marker of Sancho Pança's growing authority. While the squire continues to reveal his peasant roots —“Ai, cu de minha alma!” (87), he shouts as he endures the lashing— he nonetheless utters six passages in Latin. Note, for example, his scholastic argumentation in denying the existence of Dulcineia: “Eu não nego que há deidades, a quem se deve render tributo no templo da formosura; mas que haja Dulcineias . . . ex parte objecti concedo, a parte rei nego” (83; see 83, n.7, and 87, 94, 100, 102, 104). By reserving this display of knowledge for the second part, Silva presents a character in flux, who grows before our eyes (and ears). D. Quixote is absent from much of the action, and Sancho must bear a heavy burden. Other characters aid on the level of story, but the discursive responsibility belongs to Sancho, whose linguistic range


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is varied and distinctive. Whereas Cervantes's Sancho has no expertise whatsoever in Latin, the Sancho of the 1614 Avellaneda continuation does employ Latin phrases from time to time. After Sancho's return from the island, the play consists of the disenchantment of the Condessa Trifalde —which involves the squire as much as the knight— and D. Quixote's defeat at the hands of Sansão Carrasco. The last speech —the last word— goes to Sancho.
     The Vida do Grande D. Quixote contains several thematic movements. The key motif in Part I is chivalry as defined through heroic feats and service to a lady. Disenchantment, another major motif, comes into the first part only in the aborted attempt to disenchant Montesinos and Belerma in the cave, a cave in which the enchanted Dulcineia is missing. Justice in Part I takes the form of  “poetic justice” on Mount Parnassus. In Part II, disenchantment supersedes service because the object of enchantment is Dulcineia del Toboso. There is a corresponding shift from knight to squire, because Sancho Pança plots the enchantment and because D. Quixote must yield to his celebrity status. The act of disenchanting Dulcineia, as the point of synthesis between deed and devotion, should be the center and climax of the play's story, but it is not. Leaving Dulcineia “cured” but ignored, overshadowed by the other end of the lashes —the governorship— Silva brings Sancho to the center, with an arsenal of linguistic, comic, and juridical recourses to aid him. The revised dialectic stresses humor and judgment, along with multileveled discourse as a possible synthesis of the two elements. Chivalry does not die in the play. On the contrary, it could be argued that Silva affirms chivalry more rigorously than does Cervantes. When Sancho Pança displaces D. Quixote, however, justice —in its ludic and serious dimensions— displaces chivalry. Despite its broad and pervasive humor, the play suggests the precariousness of human existence. That it can do so with a positive tone is a tribute to the author, a man who had to seek justice beyond the confines of the real world.
     If one were to characterize the structure of the Vida do Grande D. Quixote in terms of the Russian formalist concept of the dominant (v. Jakobson), the unifying principle may be satire. In The Romantic Approach to Don Quixote, Anthony Close maintains that eighteenth-century Spanish commentators of Don Quijote “recognise, correctly, that Cervantes intended to satirise a literary genre —chivalric romances. Yet they tend, incorrectly, to merge the literary target with a social or historical one” (Romantic 11). He notes that “[i]n an age where Enthusiasm and Sensibility were both cultivated and ridiculed, Don Quixote lent itself to being interpreted as . . . a satiric


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fable about [the] power to seduce mankind, in politics or religion or manners, from the path of reason” (12). Despite entering the problematic critical territory of correctness and intentionality, Close makes a brilliant case for the burlesque aspects of Don Quijote (v. other essays by Close, as well as Russell and Hart). He argues that Cervantes combines high and low burlesque and that reception in the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries was marked by a emphasis on the ludicrous nature on the text, seen as a hilarious refurbishing of Amadís de Gaula and its ilk. As satire, Don Quijote concentrates on displacing the old, the timeworn, rather than on developing the new, the novel, but it moves forward by projecting itself as “a cross between burlesque and comedy of character” (Romantic 20). As a reader of Cervantes, Silva seems to follow the lead of his Spanish contemporaries. His play offers a satirical restyling, aimed at chivalric romance and at other literary and nonliterary objects. D. Quixote's madness is less a pathology than a device, in the sense that Silva recreates a model in which behavior is preordained, displayed rather than examined. The playwright seems only negligibly concerned with psychological development, and he rehearses the Cave of Montesinos episode and the disenchantment of Dulcinea without the conviction of Cervantes, or, more precisely, with his heart elsewhere. The different locus is, obviously, the stage itself, and spectacle becomes the most easily discernible complement to satire.
     Silva's starting point is a well-known text associated with parody and comedy. Human reason is a pivotal issue of the time, but, just as the shift to drama decenters narrative (specifically, the conflict between opposing types of fiction), the use of puppets, music, and song moves the focus from the mind and its soundness to the entertainment of an audience. Like Cervantes's protagonists in the second part, Silva brings to the stage a ready-made, identifiable D. Quixote and Sancho Pança, and he thus is able, in effect, to dispense with Part I. The unity of the Vida do Grande D. Quixote derives from the “life” of the protagonist, that is, his final sally. He begins and ends with dignity, tinged as it is with eccentricity (or worse). His madness is both absurd and philosophical, and the oxymoron extends to the illiterate, Latin-spouting Sancho. The panorama of the second part of Don Quijote is evoked as it is reconstructed for the stage. The chivalric endeavors are at times artificial (fabricated by metadramatists such as the Fidalgos) and at times startlingly realistic, or legitimate (such as the battle with ferocious animals), the theatrical apparatus notwithstanding. In the second part of the play, as in the second part of the novel, the apprentice becomes the master of


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sorts, as Sancho comes into his own to direct the action, to adapt to chivalry real and feigned, and to play the lead role in an allegory of justice. The index of his transition is, incongruously but not indecorously, his triumph on Parnassus. D. Quixote is mad, but he is able to defend himself when necessary and he is able to put his defeat into perspective. Sancho Pança can handle farce and high comedy, and he can assert his newly found authority. Further, he becomes the prime mover in what may be seen as an allegory of justice that appears to break from the purely comic frame.
     In Silva's preromantic rendering of Don Quijote, D. Quixote and Sancho Pança serve as emblems of chivalry and justice, each portrayed with knowing humor and with a serious dimension, however subtle. The metafictional thrust of Don Quijote is not lost on the Portuguese dramatist, whose work, while eminently self-conscious, operates on its own terms. Language, in the dialogue and in the lyrics, occupies a crucial position in the structure of the Vida do Grande D. Quixote, for words and music are the “unmasked” features of the dramatic performance. Silva is cognizant of the iconic value of Don Quijote, and he builds upon the audience's knowledge of the anachronistic knight errant and his humble squire. Changes of mood are, arguably, as frequent as changes of scene, yet the satirical frame remains firm. Satire encompasses the high and the low, but the (implied) authorial stance is consistently gentle rather than cruel. Going home for D. Quixote means accepting his fate, with his honor intact, and no aria or stage magic can erase this message. Dramatizing Don Quijote, Silva captures the literary past, reflects the historical present, and anticipates, perhaps, the symbolic and transcendent role of the country gentleman absorbed in his books.*


INDIANA UNIVERSITY

     *I would like to acknowledge, with gratitude, a Fulbright grant for research in Portugal that helped to facilitate work on this essay.



WORKS CITED

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Fred Jehle jehle@ipfw.edu Publications of the CSA HCervantes
URL: http://www.h-net.org/~cervantes/csa/articf97/friedman.htm