When we finished reading Marcella’s defense, a magnificent speech on beauty and love, we had to return to the beginning of Vol.I, 2:4 and reread in full the story of Marcella. It is told quite thoroughly by the goatherd, with all necessary background, and then later the specifics are addressed individually and in detail by Marcella herself with almost no difference from the goatherd’s account. She makes plain Chrysostom’s folly.

We enjoyed the description of the dead shepherd’s malady:

“Chrysostom was woundily in love.”

What is Marcella’s crime?

“for, her affability and beauty allures all the hearts of those that converse with her to serve and love her; but, her coyness and plain-dealing drives them even to the borders of despair; therefore, they know not what to say, but, upbraid her with cruelty and ingratitude….”

Chrysostom goes into voluntary exile to forget about Marcella, but instead he writes a song of despair, and finds himself

harassed by groundless jealousy and imaginary fears, which tormented him as much as if they had been real….

He is lionized by his fellow shepherds for all this; yet when DQ describes his vision of chivalry and mission of knight-errantry, these same shepherds think he has lost his wits. Clearly Chrysostom’s and all the shepherds’ confusion of reality and imagination are no different than DQ’s.

Finally, to address an earlier comment in which Sylvia wrote that in DQ’s pursuit of Marcella,

I have no doubt that his intentions were no more honourable than those of the “shepherds.”

We do not find any evidence that DQ’s devotion to Dulcinea has lapsed, either when told about Marcella, or when she appears. After he hears about her, and before the funeral of Chrysostom, DQ

spent the greatest part of the night in thinking of his lady Dulcinea, in imitation of Marcella’s lovers.

He then spends some time expounding on every knight’s requirement of a mistress. In the midst of this episode, when asked to identify his mistress, DQ states that her name is Dulcinea. At the end of the chapter, DQ goes in pursuit of Marcella, not because he has been beguiled by her beauty and fallen woundily in love, forgotful of Dulcinea, but because he

thought this a proper occasion for exercizing his chivalry, in defence of distressed damsels….

This is entirely consistent with his normal mindset, and does not seem at all to suggest that he has been allured to serve and love her like the shepherds.

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