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Don Quixote Essay

969 words - 4 pages

During his chivalric adventures throughout the novel Don Quixote encounters many characters that humor his fantasies as well as characters that attempt to persuade Quixote of the folly of his pursuits. One such character of rationality is Dr. Carrasco, who explains "There are no giants. No kings under enchantment. No chivalry. No knights. There have been no knights for three hundred years" to which Quixote responds "Facts are the enemy of truth!” This short exchange embodies the real conflict of the novel; reason versus faith. At the time the novel was written Europe was caught in the midst of the Renaissance, a social movement centering on the conflict of reason and faith. Up to that point ...view middle of the document...

In this particular encounter Quixote decides to block the highway and refuses to let the merchants on their way until they confess that “there is not in the whole universe a more beautiful damsel than the peerless Dulcinea del Toboso” (34). When a merchant responds by asking to see her Quixote decides he’s had enough and charges at them. In a rather comedic sequence of events Rocianante trips and throws Quixote to the ground where he is beat mercilessly by the annoyed merchants. With Quixote lying on the ground unable to move, any questions regarding our noble knight’s sanity are laid to rest. Thus ends the first adventure and first five chapters of the novel, in which Quixotes’ ridiculousness is clearly Cervantes’ literary tool to mock chivalric romances. However, in the later chapters of the novel Cervantes expands Quixote’s depth by highlighting his one admirable trait; his faith. Quixote is foolish, but he is also so convinced of his valiant knight-errantry that he actually turns victorious on several occasions. In his Lectures on Don Quixote Vladimir Nabakov lists the 40 encounters that occur in the book and notes that there are 20 defeats that balance perfectly with 20 victories. Despite the Quixote’s delusional pursuits of the fantastical, this equal balance of defeats and victories proves that Cervantes intended Quixote to actually be a moderately heroic character. Thus, on the surface we see Quixote as a laughable character and a poor excuse for a knight, however by allowing him frequent success Cervantes lends merit to the fantasist spirit that our Man de la Mancha embodies.
In the fifth chapter as Quixote departs on his second sally he recruits the character of Sancho Panza to be his sidekick and squire, to accompany him on all of his grand adventures. Sancho is immediately established as Quixote’s foil, a character that contrasts everything iconic about Quixote. Sancho...

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