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Quixote’s counsel to Sancho is a parody to Machiavelli’s advice to the prince

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Quixote’s counseling of Sancho over the governing of his island is a parody to Machiavelli’s advice to the prince. In the book “The Prince” Machiavelli gives leaders key tactics on how to retain power. He points out key things that a prince should adhere to in order to be successful. He states that a prince must be cruel occasionally in order to keep the subjects obedient and faithful (Davis, Paul B., p126). He tells the prince that it is safer to be feared by the subjects than to be loved (Davis, Paul B., p128). He further advices the prince that in order to retain power, he should use any means possible (Davis, Paul B., p129). Many leaders follow this advice to retain power and to demand loyalty from the subjects.

When Quixote’s counsels Sancho, he instructs him on many things that are supposed to make him a successful governor of his Island. Some of the things than Quixote tell Sancho are to confront the enemy without fear of injuring himself and to have pity and leniency on criminals (Davis, Paul B., p362). He further warns Sancho from eating onions and garlic since only peasants ate such things (Davis, Paul B., p 363). He instructs him to walk slowly, to eat less, to speak deliberately, not to belch and not to use many proverbs. Furthermore, Quixote tells him neither to wear loose clothes nor to have long nails (Davis, Paul B., p365).

The Quixote’s advice to Sancho is a mockery to the advice that Machiavelli gives to leaders. There is nothing that Quixote tells Sancho that could make him a great leader in the context of the advice that Machiavelli gives. While Machiavelli advices the prince to be cruel, Quixote tells Sancho to be lenient with criminals. As a governor, Sancho could not benefit from the advice given to him by Quixote. However, Sancho could most likely apply the advice from Machiavelli to remain in power as many leaders do. Quixote’s advice to Sancho is thus a complete parody to the advice than Machiavelli gives leaders, Sancho being one of such leaders. It is such a ridiculous imitation that Quixote makes to the point of view of Machiavelli.


Davis, Paul B. The Bedford Anthology of World Literature: Book 3. Boston: Bedford/St. Martin’s, 2004. Print.

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