Huzaifah Khan Essay#1
Don Quixote is a work centrally concerned with misreading and rewriting. There are different types of misreading Don exhibits of chivalric romances, reality, misperception, etc. Don Quixote considers himself to be a knight and attempts to live like one. However the world around him in which he lives is but a simple ordinary place. There are many ways in which Don can be seen as enacting a kind of re-writing with actions of his past and of the reality around him.
Don Quixote exhibits evidence of misreading chivalric romances and reality. Don’s perspective of being a knight is to do everything like a knight. Don himself is a fat ugly man who thrives to become a knight. In doing so he reads many chivalric romance novels and tries to mock them. This interferes with Don’s life and the people around him. It creates confusion for the readers as Don misinterprets much of the events in his life. One example is when Don spotted windmills and mistakenly claimed that they were knights instead. Don states “Look there, friend Sancho, and behold thirty or forty outrageous giants, with whom I intend to battle” (Cervantes, 55).
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In response Sancho says “I would worship take notice, that those you see yonder are no giants but windmills” (Cervantes, 55).
Don has convinced himself he is in battle with giants who are in fact windmills. Don brings his fantasy of chivalric novels and pretends to be a knight who battles his enemies. Clearly Don is misreading the situation he is in. As a result it creates a suspension of disbelief for the readers. There are two different perspectives we see in this case, Sancho and Don. Much of what Don is saying is just an imagination of the real world they are in. Another example of misreading is when Don encounters some slaves in prison. One of the slaves proclaims the reason why the other is in jail “This man, sir goes to the galleys (prison) for being a canary-bird: I mean, for his skill in vocal music” (Cervantes, 161).
This fooled Don because it was not the real reason why the galley slaves are in prison. Don is misled by the slaves and orders the guards to let them go. After he freed them, the slaves beat up both Sancho and Don. We can infer that the main character, don has no sense of the reality he is apart of. It gives way to many more events that he misinterprets completely. It shows the difference between the false narrations of Don and portrays the truth through the other characters in the novel. Another example is when Don Quixote misreads reality as chivalry when he sees a barber’s basin and believes it is an enchanted crown for himself because Don thinks he is a knight. Don says in response to Sancho who is telling Don Quixote that the object on the man’s head is not a crown “Seest thou not yonder knight who rides the way, upon a dapple steed, with a golden helmet on his head?” (Cervantes, 149).
Don is refusing to believe the truth that the object is merely nothing but a barber’s basin. As you can see this is a repetition of misleading truth for don. This is significant because this is reoccurring evidence that Don Quixote will continue to attack and misperceive actuality.
There are many ways in which Don can be seen as enacting a kind of re-writing with his actions of his past and the reality around him. In the beginning Don considered himself to be an unaccomplished person. Cervantes, the author refers to Don as “an ugly child, destitute of every grace and favorable endowment…” (Cervantes, preface 3).
In the Canterbury Tales written by Geoffrey Chaucer, the Knight and the Wife of Bath are similar and also different. The Knight represents the nobility and military estate while the Wife of Bath represents the middle status. Both the Knight and the Wife of Bath are fearless. The Knight was a fearless worthy man who fought in the crusades while the Wife of Bath was fearless about her opinions on ...
The author himself is referring to Don Quixote as being hideous and unworthy. Don had no ambition or motives in his life. Eventually Don started reading chivalric romances that motivated him to do something with himself. Don had the urge to become a knight and strived to do so at any cause. The author mentions Don Quixote preparing himself to look like a knight “In the first place, he cleaned an old suit of armour…he next visited his horse…he should also change his name”. Don attempted to physically look like a knight, act like a knight, and live like one. He put himself in an illusion that the world he was living in was now going to be like the chivalric romances he had read. For example Don had a crush on a woman named Dulcinea whom he really liked. The attraction he had for Dulcinea he claimed was similar to the courtly love that a knight had for a princess or some sort. This acts as compensation and substitutes the fact that Don is an ugly person. Don also attempted to be well known, respected, and admired as a knight within his community and wherever he went. An example of this is when Don “changes” the world around him. Don Quixote acts or believes that he is a hero and it is his duty to battle the enemies. Don also makes the setting of the story completely different than its original meaning. For example Don would go to hotels with prostitutes in them and falsely claim that he is a knight entering a castle consisting of princesses. Don came up to the ladies and said “ Fly me not, ladies, nor dread the least affront: for, it belongs not to the order of knighthood, which I profess, to injure any mortal, much less such high-born damsels as your appearance declares you to be” (Cervantes,19).
As a knight Don is protecting these women and approaches them in a chivalric manner. Ironically the two prostitutes just laugh at how foolish he is to think that they are princesses in a castle. This serves as a purpose of importance for Don Quixote that he might not have once had in the past. The significance behind Don living like a knight is the role knights have. Knights were famous people who many looked up to and respected. They were granted with many luxuries such as beautiful women, status, companions, attention etc. As you can see Don is not only centering the world around him, but he makes it appear as if he is glorifying it by playing his role as a knight. It is a way of re-enacting Don’s past who at one point was unheard of and insignificant to many people. Don longed a life in which he had value and he achieved this through chivalry and changing the reality of the world he lived into a fantasy that allowed Don Quixote to embark on adventures as a self proclaimed knight.
'Man of La Mancha' is the story of Alonso Qui jana, a poor gentleman from Spain. He has read so many of the exaggerated romances of chivalry that he finally believes them to be his reality and sets forth as Don Quixote, a knight-errant on his old horse seeking many misadventures. And while this insanity may be an object of distress for others, Quixote's madness is comforting to himself. And all he ...
1. Cervantes de Miguel, 2004. Don Quixote. Fine Creative Media, inc.