Don Quixote, A Mad Man And Idiot Essay

Don Quixote, A Mad Man And Idiot Essay

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Don Quixote is one of the oldest forms of the modern novel. Written in the early 17th century it follows the adventures of Don Quixote and his sidekick Sancho Panza. In Don Quixote, Cervantes satirizes the idea of a hero. Don Quixote sees himself as a noble knight among the ignorant common folk, but everyone else sees him as a bumbling idiot who has gone mad. Therefore, the novel’s longevity in the western canon is due to the humorous power struggle and the quest of a hero Don Quixote faces throughout the story.
Cervantes characterization of Don Quixote as a mad man and idiot is opposite of the mindset in which Don Quixote possesses. While Don Quixote believes himself as a noble chivalric hero during the duration of the novel Don Quixote is continually undermined and mocked by the very people who should admire him. The irony Cervantes uses in the novel presents the question of what defines the hero in terms of the self, whether that hero is a hero because of his determination or the respect he gains from others.
Don Quixote de La Mancha is described as a poor farmer who reads and knows all the books about knight errantry and chivalric romance. Cervantes never intended Don Quixote to be a hero, this is backed when he says “by now quite insane, he conceived the strangest notion…to become a knight errant” (Cervantes 27). By calling Don Quixote insane when describing his characteristics removes any type of respect a reader has for Don Quixote. This does not stop Cervantes from presenting Don Quixote as the hero of the text. Don Quixote carries himself as the savior of the people he comes in contact with, but they do not return the favor. This belief in one’s abilities is a theme Cervantes pushes throughout the novel.
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...ns. Also Cervantes used this novel to tackle some of Spain’s problems at the time. He humorously tackles the social commentary, but it has an underlying meaning. He cannot explicitly attack the monarchy but he expertly throws jabs at policies he does not agree with.
As the final point, Cervantes expertly satirizes the hero; through humorous encounters to outlandish beliefs, Cervantes makes the reader question what is a hero. Don Quixote’s determination to protect the world is negated by his incompetence. Sancho’s loyalty to Don Quixote is negated by his want of riches. Cervantes, while using playful jokes, taught the reader that the self can have a depiction of itself that is entirely different that the one others have. He does not tell the self to fail or discourage their dreams but he says the opposite. Be what you want to be whether or not others believe in you.

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