The Duality Of Truth In Don Quixote By Miguel Cervantes

3657 words - 15 pages

"Everything we hear is an opinion, not a fact. Everything we see is a perspective, not the truth." -- Marcus Aurelius

Don Quixote is considered as the first modern novel and one of the most important modernist elements available in the novel is the exploration of characters’ inner worlds, especially of Don Quixote’s. Through inner exploration of the main character, the readers observe that the real and the illusionary are interoperable within Don Quixote’s perceptions of the outside world. In that sense, a post-modern concept which suggests that truth is multifaceted and it’s a creation of mind emerges in the novel. In postmodernist sense, the notion of truth still exists, however it is no longer a problematic issue and assumed to be self-evident and self-justifying as Hutcheon argues (34). Similarly, the notion of truth is there throughout Don Quixote, but it is taken beyond everyday perceptions of the real world. It represents what Erasmus claims in In Praise of Folly: “The reality of things depends solely on opinion. Everything in life is so diverse, so opposed, so obscure, that we cannot be assured of any truth” (as cited in Fuentes, viii). Dissolution of boundaries between truth and untruth, leads to the elimination of an absolute truth and that is reflected as a postmodernist theme in Don Quixote.

The absence of an absolute truth shows itself in a different form in Don Quixote, which supports the dualistic nature of truth. In other words, there are dual truths regarding every single thing in the nature. Duality of truth is reflected in two levels, one of which is that Don Quixote himself expresses duality in his delusions about Dulcinea del Toboso. The other is Don Quixote’s and Sancho Panza’s characterizations in terms of the dualistic nature of their characters. All these aspects profoundly change the traditional concept of truth and introduce a new notion of truth which has dual sides rather than a fixed single side.

“At the heart of Don Quixote is the discrepancy between external appearance and internal perception.” says Wirfs-Brock (2). In that respect, Don Quixote is depicted as a character who is guided merely by his internal perceptions, disregarding external appearances. Most of the time, he is deluded, depended on his faculty of imagination, stuck in his make-believe world through the guidance of chivalric books he is obsessed with and “everything he read in his books took possession of his imagination” (1/1 p.27). He takes everything he reads in those books for real as if they were parts of history and decides to join this glorious history by making a knight errant of him. In order to put all he has read into practice, he puts on a rusty armor, devises a heroic name for himself which is ‘Don Quixote de la Mancha’ and for his horse which is ‘Rocinante’. Additionally, since “a knight errant without a lady-love is a tree without leaves or fruit, a body without a soul” (1/1 p.29) he finds “a good-looking peasant girl”...

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