Don Quixote of La Mancha

Don Quixote and Sancho Panza

In the first two books of the first part Don Quixote is mad but he is still a participant of the stories and he is the protagonist of the adventures. However, in the third books of the first part he is really mad and he becomes more of an accessory to his own story and the stories of the other character take charge of the novel. Don Quixote in the last two books only appears from time to time causing trouble being shown as a mad man except when not speaking of chivalry.  The First Part of the Delightful History of the Most Ingenious Knight Don Quixote of La Mancha by Miguel de Cervantes Saavedra Translated by Thomas Shelton is a novel full of stories that although written 400 years ago are still relevant today. A lot of the ideas that Cervantes Saavedra conveys to his readers are those that contemporary authors are currently writing about.

Cervantes Saavedra criticizes those who take books written to pass the time so seriously for it kills the brains of men as brilliant as Don Quixote. Throughout the novel the author of the lets it be known that Don Quixote is a very intelligent man but that because he took the books he read as true histories he has gone mad. The Cervantes Saavedra is of the opinion that books on chivalry and romances should be taken as books that are related to the passing of time and not to instruct the reader on manners and history. He spends several chapters describing how “the number of ignorant …exceed that of the judicious;…yet would [he] not willingly subject [him]self to the confused judgment of the senseless vulgar, who commonly give themselves most unto the reading of such books” (Cervantes, 477). He satires romances, chivalry, and comedies trough out his novel expressing how absurd they truly are. Through his secondary characters we see that romances are ludicrous yet we, the vulgar, take them so seriously striving to find that idealized partner which we read about in novels and see in comedies. Perhaps, today we do not read as much but we certainly find those stories in movies and songs. Don Quixote is in love with Dulcinea del Toboso, a woman he made up, and will kill anyone who speaks ill of her. He hears of men going mad as a consequence of love not returned therefore Don Quixote decides he too will room the woods naked and beating himself up until Dulcinea loves him back. We now read of men and women drinking their lives away because their lovers leave them or committing suicide for the same reason. If these stories were not sung or made into movies, would people do these things? The love stories in the novel are truly absurd. Yet, these absurd love stories are the plausible stories in the novel. I believe Cervantes Saavedra was just making fun of romances since they don’t seem plausible at all.

Don Quixote’s madness reminded me of the madness some people suffer from when they are addicted to video games and comics. Don Quixote is a really intelligent man who can have conversations about any topic however once chivalry is mentioned he goes into his madness. Just like many people can have a conversation about anything and seem truly intelligent until a video game is mentioned. Now I can relate to this for as you can recall I was addicted to Myspace and Mobsters. I can also get a little defensive when talking about Harry Potter and Dragon Ball Z. I suppose a lot of us are a little mad in some ways the difference is that not all of us think we are superheroes like Don Quixote believed. We have all heard of those Chinese teenagers who have become addicted to video games and believing they are superheroes have jumped off buildings thinking they can fly. Don Quixote did not believe he could fly however he did believe he could save the world from giants, robbers, the Moors, and other oppressors of the weak. It is interesting to read of the adventures that Don Quixote and Sancho Panza have when they try to defend people from wrongs done unto them because though Don Quixote means well he always complicates things for the victims and ends up making things worse for them. Yet we get a laugh out of it and sometimes are sadden by the outcome of the adventures they have.

The novel is just a great read. It talks about love, racism, sex, classism, friendship, intellect, and madness. It is a great novel to read. I really enjoyed the novel up to the end. I did not like the conclusion it just leaves you hanging but I would recommend the novel to anyone who likes to laugh. I will not be reading the second part this year perhaps later I will try to read it.

“’That is a natural condition of women,’” quoth Don Quixote, ‘to disdain those that love them, and to affect those which hate them’” (Cervantes, 157).  I don’t think it is true but I think a lot believe in this. Which is sad.



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