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Miguel Cervantes Essay

1042 words - 4 pages

Born in Alcalá de Henares, Spain, Miguel de Cervantes Saavedra grew throughout his lifetime to become an accomplished and well-known author in the sixteenth century. While little is known about his early life, Cervantes’ joined the Spanish Armada at a young age. His service to Spain upheld his idea of taking risks for honor and liberty, and he portrayed this concept through many of his works, one of which being The Adventures of Don Quixote. During his time in the Spanish Armada, he fought chivalrously in the Battle of Lepanto and received a gunshot wound to his left hand, rendering it useless. He later wrote that he “had lost the movement of the left hand for the glory of the right” in his mock-epic poem, Viaje al Parnaso (Journey to Parnassus). In another event during his military life, Cervantes was attacked by pirates and taken to Algiers, where he was held captive and spent five years as a slave until he was ransomed by his parents. His captivity furnished subjects for his writing, such as his two plays set in Algiers: El Trato de Argel (The Treaty of Algiers) and Los Baños de Argel (The Baths of Algiers). After his ransom, he moved to Madrid and wrote a pastoral romance, La Galatea, shortly after getting married. When his writing produced insufficient income, he struggled with financial problems and was imprisoned for debt. Cervantes attempted to escape numerous times, but eventually began writing Don Quixote while he was serving his time. The overwhelming popularity of Don Quixote soon after its publication brought Cervantes fame and prompted him to write a continuation of the novel. Miguel Cervantes’ lived through various experiences and encounters that contributed inspiration for his writing as a novelist, poet, and playwright.
Living in the sixteenth century and early seventeenth century, Miguel Cervantes witnessed the Spanish Empire at its greatest. Ruled by King Philip II, Spain flourished as the leading Western European power during his reign. As a dedication to the successful ruler, Cervantes wrote “Soneto al Túmulo de Felipe II”, a sonnet that attracted attention of the public at the funeral of the monarch. Cervantes also took part in one of Spain’s important victories, the Battle of Lepanto. Being a member of the Holy League, his fleet defeated the Ottoman Empire and prevented Italy from invasion. Even though this battle permanently crippled his left hand, Cervantes remembered his participation with pride, and believed that he had taken part in an event that shaped the course of European history. His experience in the battle could have considerably influenced the personalities of some of his most famous characters. Much like Cervantes’ pride, the character, Don Quixote, carries a courageous and noble ego all throughout his stories of combat. The likability of this character may have provided the reason for the success of the novel, unlike many of Cervantes’ other works. In his time, the burgeoning theater was in no short...

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