Readers of Cervantes’ Don Quixote come away wanting one question answered: Is Don Quixote sane? The following is a detailed account of Quixote’s visit with a psychiatrist upon his return to his village. This incident was apparently not recorded in the original novel for fear that Quixote’s reputation might be tarnished. Documentation of his visit was recently recovered by researchers who discovered the incident in a psychiatrist’s manuscript. The practitioner was evidently very interested in the meeting as he transcribed the conversation word for word. The recovery of this important information reveals some shocking revelations about Quixote’s state of mind. The psychiatrist’s analysis of Don Quixote’s personality allows the reader to understand the rationale behind his behaviors. Quixote’s hallucinations, megalomania, paranoia and evident mid-life crisis are analyzed to determine his sanity.
Psychiatrist: Welcome, Mr. Quixote. Please be seated.
Quixote: My title is Don Quixote de la Mancha, but you may call me Don Quixote.
Psychiatrist: Very well, Mr. Quixote. Now tell me, what is it that brings you here?
Quixote: It all started about a couple of months ago when I began having these hallucinations.
Psychiatrist: Yes, I do recall that I read a certain exploit of yours in which you attacked a windmill. Is that correct?
Quixote: Aye, sir, windmills. But they were giants! They were giants as plain as day!
Psychiatrist: I see.... Well perhaps this was just a quirk of nature.
Quixote: Well, actually, sir, every time I see an inn, I mistake it for a castle.
Psychiatrist: Hmmmm. This is indeed bizarre. Have you been getting sufficient sleep?...
... middle of paper ...
...knight errantry, Quixote was searching for meaning. His quest for a purpose in life follows a universal tendency. Viktor Frankl dramatizes a modern view of the quest in his book Man's Search for Meaning. He recounts his struggle to survive and find personal meaning while enveloped in the horrifying depths of a Nazi concentration camp. Frankl was forced to look within to discover meaning in his existence. Quixote mistakenly searched for meaning in life through outside means. Though reasonably sane, Don Quixote lost touch with reality in his search for meaning as he became enveloped in the fanciful world of knight errantry.
Cervantes, Miguel de. Don Quixote. Trans. J. M. Cohen. London: Penguin, 1986.
Frankl, Viktor. Man's Search for Meaning. Trans. Ilse Lasch. Boston: Beacon, 1963.
Roediger, Henry L. Psychology. New York: HarperCollins, 1991.
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