11 Discretion and Pretence in the Episode of the Dukes

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1 11 Discretion and Pretence in the Episode of the Dukes María Augusta de Vieira Uníversíty of Sao Paulo -By the lije 01 the duke said the duchess - "Sancho is not to go even a smidgen away from me; 1 love him dearly because 1 know he is very wise - "May your holiness live many wise days, " said Sancho, "on account 01 the good opinion you ha ve 01 me /.../ (DQ II, XXXI)) The bonds of friendship between the duchess and Sancho are there from the start when the squire, at the request of his master goes to the "beautiful huntress" to announce Don Quixote's desire to call on her and be at her service. After the initial introductory difficulties with the misadventures of Don Quixote are over, he gets down from Rocinante, all of them make their way to the "palace" of these aristocratic peop]e, a place of varied and unexpected adventures. The aboye dialogue takes place after the protocol for assigning places at table, something that surprises Sancho and that encourages him to spin many anecdotes and tell the "story" that took place in his village. Showing a great fondness 1 The original quotations from Don Quixote have been taken from the edition of Francisco Rico (Barcelona: Instituto Cervantes! Crítica, 1998). The English quotations are from the edition of Edith Grossman (United States : Vintage, 2004)

2 Discretion and Pretence in the Episode of the Dukes for the squire, the duches s insists in having him by her side especially because according to her he is "very discrete". Sancho, for his part, happy with the praise that he is getting, reuses the adjective and applies it to the days of the duchess - "wise days 1.../ may your holiness live" - imitating the popular way of returning a 2 greetmg. The fanner as well as the aristocratic lady uses the concept of discrete when they want to please, something very appreciated in courtly spaces although both use it in completely different sense. The duches s uses it ironically because till his entry into the palace at least what Sancho's conduct has shown is a complete absence of discretion. Sancho' s use of the term on the other hand is not motivated by the concept as such but by a common procedure in popular speech, that re-takes the main term in which praise is received and returns it to the interlocutor with a linguistic gesture aimed to please, a1though in this case it turns out to be inadequate. The incorrect use is evident, as discretion is applied to people and even situations, but never to days as Sancho says and he also exaggerates when he refers to the duches s as "your holiness". A little earlier, Doña Rodríguez had been irritated with Sancho's request to look after his donkey and had ironically cornmented "if the master is as clever as his servant 1.../, then we are certainly sitting pretty!". Although the duenna is not usually very perspicacious, at this moment she correctiy observes that the new guests of the duke possibly lack the quality of discretion. 2 See Don Quijote Ed. de Rodríguez Marín (Madrid: Atlas, 1948, T. VI, p. 23, N. 3) and Don Quijote. Ed. Vicente Gaos (Madrid: Editorial Gredas, 1987, p. 454.). 181

3 María de Vieira The episode that has these comments begins in Chapter XXX and ends in LVII of the Second Parto The prolonged stay of Don Quixote and Sancho at the residence of the dukes has given rise to important critical and interpretative readings. Amongst these are the topical world upside down that, accordíng to Monique Joll, structures the network of "events" that unfold at the dukes' palace. If this is the case the comment of the duke's majordomo after Sancho takes the first correct measures after becoming govemor of Barataria are fully pertinent: "Every day we see new things in the world, deceptions become the truth and deceivers find themselves deceived." (DQ, 11, XLIX, p. 1025). The episode is also considered a special moment when the moral integrity of the knight is put to the test by a morally degenerate nobility, and thís leads to two important themes: the "contempt for the court", that had begun a few chapters before, in the conversations between Don Quixote and the Knight of the Green Coat and the conflict between knighthood and royalty as Márquez VilIanueva has noted 4 AIso is highlighted the complex system of correspondence and intertextuality that the episode presents in relation to the burlesque parties that take place in the palace, verging at the same time on a deeply degrading action with relation to the protagonists as Augustín Redondo has affirmed 5. Or, even more radically and keeping aside the degrading intentions of the jokers, the episode 3 See Monique Joly, "El erotismo en el Quijote. La voz femenina" in Études sur Don Quichotte (Paris: Publications de la Sorbonne, 1996, pp ) and Augustín Redondo, "Fiestas burlescas en el palacio ducal: el episodio de Altisidora" in Actas del Tercer Congreso Internacional de la Asociación de Cervantistas (Menorca: Universitat de les Illes Balears, 1997, pp ). 4 See Márquez Villanueva, "Doncella soy de esta casa y Altisidora me llaman" in Trabajos y días cervantinos. Alcalá de Henares: Centro de Estudios Cervantinos, 1995, pp Augustín Redondo, op.cit, pp

4 Discretion and Pretence in the Episode ofthe Dukes was also seen as a space of palace parties full of joyful feeling that join the characters in a chain of universal and democratic sentiment as was mentioned by Anthony Close 6. It is in any case important to point out that the episode is constructed from within the successive dislocations of stylistic and narrative planes structured through a complex parodic procedure which is originated essentially from the tradition of knighthood and representational practices. The idealized adventures of the dukes are inspired by readings and especially by the adventures of Don Quixote and Sancho that have been narrated in the first part of the book. thus, on the plane of enunciation, the first part constitutes one of the bases for the development of the action that has the dukes as authors and the master and squire as the object who have to render accounts for their past adventures, unhappy endings and in the specific case of Sancho, due to the deceptions created with respect to Dulcinea. On the other plane, the episode takes place in the aristocratic space and this being the case has as its reference points the courtly world. On this occasion, the codes of conduct of the life at court are parodied as in the dialogue between Sancho and the duchess that centers on the concept of discrete. This parody on the plane of enunciation impinges on the practices of representation, dislocating categories and characterising protagonists through the subversion of those very codeso In this light the present work proposes the study of sorne moments of the episode when these practices interfere decisively in the composition of the episode. 6 "Fiestas palaciegas en el Quijote de 1615" in Actas del Segundo Coloquio Internacional de la Asociación de Cervantistas. Alcalá de Henares: AnthroposlUnversidad de Alcalá de Henares, 1991, pp , and Cervantes and the Comic Mind of his Age. New York: Oxford University Press,

5 de Vieira As is well known during the XVI and XVII Centuries, there were treatises circulating in the Iberian Península that were devoted among other things to formíng discrete meno Among the attitudes expected from an exemplary courtier, sorne of the most appreciated qualities were those of discretion and prudence, as if they were the objective necessary to achieve in life or at least attitudes that delineated personal perfection that could undoubtedly result beneficial for tife in the "social being". In the work of Cervantes, on many occasíons there appear protagonists who deserve the label of discrete or prudent because they are placed in situations in which the action takes place within the framework of discretion. Erasmo, Castiglione, della Casa, Gracián Dantisco, years later, Baltasar Gracián, amongst others, began to draw up norms of conduct that in the XVI and XVII Centuries, began to acquire more definite and calculated parameters. To sorne extent, through sorne treatises on social relations, it was sought to organize courtly life by regulating individual attitudes. These essayists made efforts to disserninate a wider kind of education which included thoughts on good manners, the rationalization of actions, dissimulation, restraint in words and gestures, learning of courtly rituals and, finally, sorne profound changes in emotional life that without any doubt would lead to radical changes in the personality. In other words, life in courtly society found its self representation in the fabrication of an image capable of dissimulating gestures, feigning friendship with enemies, hiding passions and in sorne cases acting against one's own feelings. As Chartier says, in those times a new 184

6 Discretion and Pretence in the Dukes emotional economy was introduced that had required rationality in social exchange and especially in courtly life. 7 Before studying these practices in the episode taken from Don Quixote it is important to specify certaín concepts. In Castiglione, this idea already appears that "the guide and almost the soul" of many courtly actions has to be discretion, and this will become a more complete and well rounded formulation in Gracián, with the concept of discrete coinciding many times with that of prudent. 8 Discretion is based on the idea that the social life 7 Roger Chartier says: "De todas las evoluciones culturales europeas entre fines de la Edad Media y los albores del siglo XIX, la más fundamental es la que modifica lenta pero profundamente las estructuras mismas de la personalidad de los individuos. En la larga duración, con grandes diferencias según los medios sociales, se introduce una economía emocional distinta de la de los hombres del medioevo, que aporta conductas y pensamientos inéditos. /.../ Con diferencias según los lugares y los medios, no sin contradicciones ni retrocesos, entre los siglos XVI y XVIII emerge una nueva estructura de la personalidad. Varios rasgos la caracterizan: un control más estricto de las pulsiones y de las emociones, el rechazo de las promiscuidades, la sustracción de las funciones naturales a la mirada de los otros. el fortalecimiento de la sensación de turbación y de las exigencias del pudor. /.../ La racionalidad cortesana propone, en efecto, la modalidad más radical y exigente de la transformación de la afectividad, y esto, por el hecho mismo de las especificidades de la configuración social que, a la vez, modela y requiere una racionalidad tal". ("Representar la identidad. Proceso de civilización, sociedad de corte y prudencia" en Escribir las prácticas: discurso, práctica, representación. Ed de Isabel Morant Deusa. Fundación Cañada Blanch, Valencia, 1998, pp ) 8 See Castiglione, El Cortesano (Ed. Mario Pozzi; Trad. de Juan Boscán. Madrid: Cátedra, 1994). On the works that circulated between XVI and XVII, see the work of Peter Burke, As fortunas d'o cortesiío: a recepr;iío européia a O cortesiio de Castiglione (Trad. Alvaro Hattnher. Sao Paulo: Ed. UNESP, 1997), and Mercedes Blanco: "Les diseours sur le savoir-vivre dans l' Espagne du Sieele d'or" (In: Pour une hisloire des traités de savoir-vivre en Europe. Dir. A. Montandon. Centre de 185

7 de Vieira demands from the human being that he knows how to produce adequate appearances. The discrete man is the one who is intelligent and capable of indirect and calculated actíon is concealed and prudent. Besides the control on one's own emotions, self control also means the observing of the other, as a way of orienting social tife for the ends that one hopes to achieve. Thus, the art of observing others becomes a part of court aristocracy, with the specific and determinate objective of managing others according to one' s own interests. Therefore, we are dealing with the rational introduction of a kind of a drama in daily life in order to avoid direct expression of desires and introduce protocol as a condition for good relations. A politics of the spirit, so to say organises social life in such a way that it exercises control over the passions, and is capable of dominating the same humours. 9 The discrete one is he who knows how to act with a certain sprezzatura, Recherches sur les Líttératures Modernes et Contemporainesl Association des Publications de la Faculté des Lettres et Sciences Humaines de Clermont-Ferrand, Clermont-Ferrand, 1994, pp ) and "L'autre face des bonnes manieres. Travestissements burlesques du savoir-vivre dans l'espagne du Siecle d'or" (In: Etiquette et politesse. Dir. de Alain Montandon. Centre de Recherches sur les Líttératures Modernes et Contemporaines I Association des Publications de la Faculté des Lettres et Sciences Humaines, Clermont Ferrand, 1992, pp ). On the c10se link between the concepts of discretion and prudence, José Enrique Laplana says: "Se pone así de manifiesto la imposibilidad de separar tajantemente el arte de discreción del arte de prudencia, distintas, pues Gracián les dedicó sendos tratados, pero complementarias, ya que tan inconcebible monstruo resulta un discreto imprudente como un prudente indiscreto." ("El Discreto" In Baltasar Gracián: Estado de la cuestión y nuevas perspectivas. Coord. Aurora Egido y María Carmen Marín. Zaragoza: Gobierno de Aragón I InstÍtución "Fernando El Católico", 2001, p. 62.) 9 See Perter Burke, op. cit. p. 43; de Aurora Egido, "Introducción" In El Discreto de Baltazar Gracián. Ed de Aurora Egido. Alianza Editorial, Madrid, 1997, pp

8 Discretíon and Pretence in fhe Dukes as Castiglione says, that can be translated as a "planned spontaneity". 10 Achieving this kind of conduct in personal life could not have been an easy task to achieve, as it meant individual work, personal effort, intelligence and aboye all a restructuring of habits and customs. If the discrete one has a special ability to calculate actions and achieve the desired effects, it would be possible to think that discretion means feigning or falsity, which would surely not be a good thing. Nevertheless, within the parameters of the Counter Reformation Catholic politics there was space for the discrete attitude, which if it was dissimulated, indirect or hidden, was within the ambit of desired moral qualities. In other words, if discreción meant dissimulation it is important to keep in IllÍnd that "dissimulation is a basic technique of hiding the truth, but not that of fabricating a líe". 11 It was recognised that the human condition in itself was imperfect and that many times, in order to achieve honest and moraliy recognised goals it was necessary to draw up certain situations. Ronest dissimulation was formulated especially by Torquato Accetto (1641) who found in this attítude the possibility 10 Boscán translates as "despising" or "ignoring", whatever does not exactly correspond to the idea of Castiglione (see Mario Pozzi, "Introducción", op. cit.). On the concept of discrete, loao Adolfo Hansen says: "Discreto é o que sabe produzir a representa(,(ao adequada de "honra", evitando com ela a murmura(,(ao vulgar, poís com a representa~ao adequada se mantém intacta a reputa(,(ao da posi~ao que aparece formalizada nos signos." ("O Discreto" in Libertinos e libertários. Org. Adauto Novaes. MINC I FUNARTE I Companhia das Letras, Sao Paulo, 1996, p. 95). See also loao Adolfo Hansen and Alcir Pécora, "Letras seiscentistas na Bahia" (unpublished text). 11 loao Adolfo Hansen and Alcir Pécora. "Letras seiscentistas na Bahía" (Inédito), p

9 de Vieira of achieving certain aims, after having to produce appearances. 12 The counterpart of honest dissimulation ís simulation: and this is firrnly in the camp that had been morally rejected by Counter Reforrnation principies, as it is falseness and pretends to have what it really dose not have. Accetto says, establishing parallelism, that "one pretends to be what one is not; one hides what one is". Or, put in another way, honest dissimulation covers the truth while pretence means a lie. Keeping in mind this cluster of concepts, it can be said that there is a certain complementarity between discretion and honest dissimulation because both correspond to the same ideal s of courtly society and, for this reason were part of the behavior that guided good social living. The moral criticism that carne about against these practices was born of reforrnist ideas that favored inner feelings and reproved the artificialities that made daily tife the scene of many scenes. These ideas were inspired by a certain "culture of sincerity".13 The world constructed in the episode under study of Don Quixote, dealing with the dukes is the courtly world functions on the basis of these representational practices, or rather on the parody of these practices. Thus like in the duke's palace of Urbino in which the aristocratic character Elizabetta Gonzaga centralizes the conversations on the profile of the courtier, the duchess in Don 12 See Torquato Accetto, Da disimulm;iio honesta. Apres. Alcir Pécora; trad. Edmir Missio. Sao Paulo: Martins Fontes, A. Pécora says in the Introduction: "podemos definir a 'dissimula~ao honesta' como uma regra de medir ou buscar o verdadeiro numa situa~ao em que a verdade é sempre indireta e construída a partir de situa~oes públicas embara~osas ou confusas, poís resultantes de um estado de coisas em que as virtudes nunca aparecem sós, e os vícios misturarn-se, melífluos, aos mecanismos da razao." (p. XXI) J3 See Peter Burke, op. cit., p

10 Discretion and Pretence in the Dukes Quixote is the character that is the most highlighted one, beyond the idealisation of adventures and creates reasons for long conversations specially with the squire who besides offering her material for new adventures will have the post of govemor. The advice that Don Quixote gives Sancho, on the eve of his going to Barataria, have also been considered as allusions to various texts like manuals of conduct like those of Erasmus and Gracián Dantisco. 14 At various moments in the episode words like discretion, dissimulation (hiding) and their various derivatives appear, and importantly dissimulation or hiding, frequently accompanies the noun "laughter", in the sense that the production of the comic in that context is accompanied by the action of hiding. So, while Sancho tells his story about the distribution of seats around the table, the narrator says: "the duke and duchess hid their laughter so that Don Quixote would not lose his temper". When Don Quixote, in the lavatory scene is with "ciosed eyes and a beard full of soap" the narrator says that the dukes observed the scene thus: Hit was truly astonishing and a sign of great astuteness that they could hide their laughter". Or even when Don Quixote and Sancho find themselves in one of the "rooms adomed with rich tapestries of gold and brocade" see the six duennas serve them as if they were pages, the narrator says that they disobeyed the instructions of the dukes, "and if the maidens who were serving him had not been charged with hiding their laughter, for this was one of the precise 14 See Emilietta Panizza, "El caballero de Suárez de Figueroa entre II Cortegiano y El Discreto" in Criticón, 39, 1987, pp and Joseph V. Ricapito, "Don Quijote y El Cortesano de Castiglione" in Cervantes en Italia - Décimo Coloquio Internacional de la Asociación de Cervantistas. Ed. Alicia Villar LecumbeITÍ. Palma de Mallorca: Asociación de Cervantistas, 2001, pp

11 María de Vieira orders their mistress and master had given them, they would have split their sides laughing". If on the one hand the hiding of laughter from the start accompanies di serete attitudes, it is important to add the main point of the dukes actions and that of all those who surround them is simulation pretence, once they start the adventures and make the master and squire their object, they have the ciear and defined purpose of producing a great lie and not exactly of hiding any truth. The parody of the codes of conduct is only possible in this context, thanks to the vision of the narrator who comes between the essence and appearance, the facts and the intentions of the protagonists. Keeping in mind that the attitude becoming of a courtier means an action of dual orientation like "calculated naturalness" implicit in the concept of sprezzatura, the narrator situates himself in the limits of this double orientation in the episode on the dukes, that is between the natural and the calculated, the affected and the truthful, the essence and appearance present in the actions of various protagonists. The parodying force is concentrated precisely in the capacity of the narrator to bypass court protocol and reveal the functíoning of the practices of these representations. Like this, sorne protagonists of the episode will be considered through this double dimension, with a focus sometimes on the public and sometimes on the private, sometímes on the social and sometimes on the private. An example of this form of construction of the character is the duchess who is shown to be very beautiful and young in the public sphere, while privately, thanks to the revelations of Doña Rodríguez, is a fount of bad humor and needs to have two hidden "fountains" under her many skirts, from where to filter out all that she does not want to reveal in life at the court (DQ, II, XLVIII, pp ). Something similar happens to Altisidora, who pretends to be a bright and 190

12 Discretion and Pretence in the Dukes active duenna when actually she "has more vanity than beauty and more spirit than modesty, and besides, she is not very hea1thy, she has breath so foul" (DQ, n, XLVIII, p. 1012). The comments about the duke are in a similar vein, i.e. the ostentation of wealth and power in courtly life and financial debt with a rich and plebeian farmer ah hidden under the facade of the palace. This is the context in which Don Quixote and Sancho experience life at court. In the squire's case, the events are especially worthy of "admiration" -in the sen se that XVI Century poetics gave to that term and living with the aristocracy lead one to question the codification and limits of the concepts of vulgarity and discretion, which due to time constraints will not be taken up here. In the case of Don Quixote, the contact with the dukes and the palace experience subject him from the beginning to the courtly codes of conduct making him respond to certain situations as if he were a member of court. When the knight sees in the distance sorne hunters which he deems to be "of high class", instead of acting as he usually does, he carefully observes the situation and the details of the nobles, as would befit an aristocrat, and following court protocol asks Sancho to announce him before those gentlemen. When he falls off Rocinante, at the moment when formality demands control of gestures, Don Quixote, instead of scolding the squire for his carelessness holds his tongue at the anger he feels inside: Don Quixote, who was not in the habit of dismounting without someone to hold the stirrup for him, and thinking that Sancho had already come to do that, went flying off after him and pulled the saddle after him, for its cinches must have been loose, and he and the saddle both fell to the ground, not without great embarrassment to him and a good number of curses that 191

13 Mar(a de Vieira he muttered between his teeth against the luckless Sancho 1.../. (DQ" I1, XXX, p. 877) This restraint of anger is calculated and follows the manual of the discrete man who acts rationally and knows how to hide and control his emotions, however much the situation may be ridiculous, therefore, the parody of courtly ritual can only lead to comedy. lt is much more difficult to control the talk and actions of Sancho that are often inadequate in these contexts. After the squire's mistakes about the tasks that Doña Rodríguez had to calty out, the knight scolds him when they are alone. lt is as íf he were trying to teach the coarse farmer the fírst steps of life at court: Tell me you recent jester and longtíme nuisance: does it seem right to you to dishonor and insult a duenna as venerable and worthy of respect as she? Was that the time to remember about your donkey, or would these nobles mistreat animals when they treat their owners so elegantly. For the love of God, Sancho, restrain yourself, and do not reveal your true colors lest they realize that the cloth you are made of is coarse and rustico 1.../ Do you not realize, limited as you are, and unfortunate as I am, that if they see that you are a crude peasant or a comical fool, they will think that I am an impostor or a fraudulent knight? No, no, Sancho my friend, flee, flee these perils 1.../ Curb your tongue, and consider and reflect on your words before they [eave your mouth, and be aware that we ha ve come to a place from which, by the grace of God and the valor of my arm, we shall emerge with our fame and fortune greatly enhanced." (DQ, n, XXXI, p ) 192

14 Discretion and Pretence in the Dukes This imposition of censorship and Sancho's goal to rigorously follow his master' s instructions make him promise to "sew up his mouth or bite his tongue before speaking a word that was not fitting and carefully considered". These formal procedures, far from the references to the farmers calm, Don Quixote concluded: "did not need to worry about that anymore, for never through him would it be discovered who they really were". An affirmation that as is known is belied the next moment when they again meet with the dukes. Unlike Sancho, the knight restrains his gestures and words during the days at the palace and at other times due to protocol. The narrator follows the character in the public and private spheres, in the facades revealing thus the distance between social and prívate life. The absence and the mistakes that Sancho makes, the walking boots left by the squire, the loss of the stitches of the "green socks", the care taken to carry the "covered moustaches" during the night, the thoughts diverted towards Altisidora without ever forgetting Dulcinea are part of the private repertoire of the knight. Don Quixote has the knowledge of courtly grammar, he recognises the codes and the importance given to certain practices. However, not withstanding the fact that they were being prepared for the delight of the dukes, the knight loses his bearings when the ideals of knighthood become confused with the worldly practices of courtly life. The exchange of letters with Sancho shows the growing distance from the dukes and the dreadful events he experiences in the palace bring into question the good intentions of these folks. Court rituals are not now so important as earlier and now without stopping being discrete, as the narrator observes, Don Quixote gives importance to other principies beyond those of the politics of 193

15 de Vieira social relati~ns as the knightly endeavour that he will confront at the request of Doña Rodriguez. A Httle later Don Quixote and Sancho will resume their joumey and value the free life of knights errant. In the case of the dukes, the parody centered on the codes of eonduet is comic beeause it appropriates the categories of the eourtly world. There is no illusion with appearanees and there is refleetion on its meehanism of funetioning. It is subversive beeause it does not revere courtly life and on the contrary is eapable of producing eomedy on the basis of the eodes of courtly Jife. Going beyond the books of knighthood and other literary forrns that construct parody, representational practices forrn part of its eomposition. 194