This is about Don Quixote and his insanity
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Miguel De Cervantes’s “Don Quixote” is a well thought out satire of medieval romance novels. He illustrates the rotting of people’s minds by creating a man who embarks on a fabricated knightly quest. An interesting fact is that Cervantes himself tried to write romances of chivalry, but did not succeed. Don Quixote’s detachment from reality serves as a comical approach to a culture escaping from reality.
The pastoral romances of Cervantes’s time were generally about knights embarking on quests to save chaste maidens, fight evil doers, and be greatly rewarded with valor. Don Quixote creates these characters with normal people he encounters along the way. In his mind, the prostitutes that he encounters at the inn become fair maidens, the windmills become giants, the sheep become armies, and he becomes a true knight. Don Quixote does not question his reality, but does not understand when people question him.
The question is Don Quixote de la Mancha crazy? At first, he has people laugh at him due to his interactions and reactions of his knightly quests. Eventually, people partake in his insanity. His loyal squire Sancho starts partakes in Quixote’s craziness. Unfortunately, Sancho suffers physical punishment for his belief of Quixote’s observations:
“Seeing the friar upon the ground, Sancho Panza slipped lightly from his mount and, falling upon him, began stripping him of his habit. The muleteers, however, were lads with no sense of humor nor did they know what all this talk of spoils and battles was about; but those inside the coach, they pounced upon Sancho, threw him to the ground, and proceeded to pull out the hair of his beard and kick him to a pulp. After which they went off, and left him stretched out there, bereft at once of breath of sense (1995).
Sancho not only abandons his grasp on reality but his family as well.
Sancho is a very gullible man who abandons his wife and children to follow a man who has promised him wealth and power. “…in order that he, Sancho, might gain some island where he could be governor as he had been promised” (2000). Don Quixote manipulates Sancho to go on his expeditions with him. Sancho does not realize is that the man he has agreed to expedite with is truly an insane man. In the end, Don Quixote does give Sancho wealth, and has left him with the memories of a world that was full of valor.
When Don Quixote regains his sense of normal reality, he has more guilt than heroism.
My mind now is clear, unencumbered by those misty shadows of ignorance that were cast over it by my bitter and continual reading of those hateful books of chivalry. I see through all of the nonsense and fraud contained in them, and my only regret is that my disillusionment has come so late, leaving me no time to make any sort of amends…” (2069).
What he lacks to see is that although he is thought to be a madman, others became excepting to his disillusionment. When he announced that he no longer was Don Quixote de la Mancha, the people argued with him. Even in his last moment alive, Sancho begged him to live for another adventure.
Cervantes’s uses satire to demonstrate how the romances of his time rotted the minds of the readers. In response, he created a satirical piece that uses a man’s obsession that leads to the loss of his insanity. It is not until his death, that Don Quixote realizes that his expeditions have caused more havoc to the world than good. He realizes that his reality was a mere illusion.
Cervantes, Miguel De. The Norton Anthology: World Masterpieces. Vol. 1.
Ed. Lawall, Sarah, Mack, Maynard. W.W. Norton & Company, NY. 1964-2071