Don Quixote by Miguel De Cervantes Essay Example

Paper Type:  Essay
Pages:  9
Wordcount:  2234 Words
Date:  2022-08-23


Over the years authors have expressed their creativity in arts through writings, but there is no such appealing novel like the adventurous 'Don Quixote' classical work. Readers would find pleasure in this book, and if you are one of those avid readers, then you must have encountered this text since it is among the most translated novels. The major aim of this essay is to critically analyze the text 'Don Quixote' referring to existing literature and literary commentaries sourced from the internet as our secondary materials. Basically, in critical analysis of a literary text like the one above, aspects such as thematic concerns, the scope of the plot-setting, characterization, and literary devices among other aspects of literature are imperative to take into account. Although a reader may study Don Quixote's text as a mere enthusing novel but critically and organically examining the text, the readers will be engrossed in digging up the underlying themes in the text including Free-market thinking. The reader will also feel the texture of the novel's characters and notice its relevance as the first modern novel just as we shall do so in a jiff (Cervantes, n.p). Therefore, the thesis of the paper is based on a critical analysis of the primary text backed by other evidence. Some of the evidences are secondary sources as will be noted in the third paragraph.

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Plot Overview: From La Mancha to Adventurous Exploits

To commence with the plot overview: The character of Don Quixote is portrayed as a middle-aged man hailing from La Mancha region in central Spain. Don Quixote first finds antique armor together with an old steed from the stable and illusionary becomes a knight. He visits an inn, which his insane mental state lets him think is a castle, he meets strumpets whom he imagines to be nobles. However, this debut adventure fails when he is badly beaten and left by the roadside where a peasant picks him. He sets out on a subsequent adventure with a rather confused peasant like him known as Sancho Panza, their relationship, as per the agreement, is that he, Sancho, to be his pious squire. In return for Sancho's faithful service, Don Quixote pledges to make his servant the most affluent governor of an "aisle." Don Quixote rides on his Rocinante, an old horse like him, in every road of Spain in pursuit, of glory and most interestingly, for adventure. He intends to help the weak; provide them with food, shelter, and comfort by the help of Dulcinea Del Toboso, with whom he'd once been in love, but currently, the envisioned princess (Cervantes, n.p). Ironically on his second expedition, the tragicomic hero becomes more of an outlaw than a "savior." He steals from justifiably frustrated and hurting citizens since he believes the citizens are perilous to his knighthood and the entire fantastical world in which he dwells. Realizing Don Quixote has gone insane, his best friends, a barber and a priest, lure him into a cage so that he is returned to his residence.

The Significance of 'Don Quixote' as the First Modern Novel

Critics posit that free-market thinking is at the crux in 'Don Quixote' as the first modern book. Here we look at the time value of money. Flashing back to the Protestant era, people like John Calvin and Henry VIII were the founders of corrupting usury laws back in the 1550s. Cervantes's critique of usury laws is evident in the dialogue in Chapter 4 of the first part. The protagonist and Haldudo talk concerning the back pay of which the peasant owes the shepherd. The hero does estimated calculations of nine months which amounts to seventy-three reales plus the interest. Equally notable, free-labor markets, Karl Max and Eagles approves Thomas Hobbes as the inventor of the materialistic assessment of how the universe operates. Even though Hobbes criticizes the metaphysical thinking; he also understands labor as a commodity subject to the law of demand and supply (Graff, n.p). The law advocates for compensation of the laborer who offers their services. About Don Quixote, the squire and haldo negotiate Sancho's salary. This is evident in Part I Chapter 20 where Sancho is seen to cajole his master that he would like to know just how much a squire makes from a knight errant in the days, and even if they were to be paid monthly or on a daily basis, like the those who lay bricks. When Sancho threatens to pull out of the deal, in Chapter 7 Part 2, Sanson Carrison offers to give his services. In this context, Don Quixote perceives a market by responding to Sancho that he told him he would have numerous squares that he would select.

The Evolution of the Protagonist: Don Quixote in the First and Second Phases

In the second phase of the novel, published a decade later, Don Quixote departs on yet another adventure with Sancho. This second part draws the attention of critics since the major character is handled amicably by the author. To some extent, the protagonist achieves some of his travail dreams. He is portrayed as a reflexive and sane character although his counterpart Sancho remains a serious dreamer. Still, on this second phase of the text, the writer presupposes that all the characters have that previous knowledge acquired from the first phase in regards to Don Quixote and Sancho thus foregrounds the literary concept of familiarity. Later in the novel, Don Quixote recedes in the village and ultimately withers although he recovers his sanity till he resumes the name Alonso Quixote, and abandons his fantasies as he apologizes for all the insane deeds he committed before he dies. All this while, the first phase of the novel is considered the ancient literature which builds and transits to the birth of modern literature in the 20th era.

The Influence of Setting on Character Development

Now back to the textual analysis of the novel: The setting, as a crucial element of a story, is clearly outlined in the novel. For the better part of the novel, the protagonist together with his counterpart-Sancho Panza-spend in only two places which is an inn and, the countryside. In the inn, for instance, the writer gives the protagonist himself the privilege to vividly describe the setting. However, it is imperative of the reader to take cognizance that the setting always exists partially in reality and partially in the protagonist's imagination. Citing from the lines in the text, we are told that whenever Don Quixote comes across a normal inn, the writer explains that no sooner does he see the inn than he fancies it as a castle barricaded with four fortresses and lofty pinnacles, and sparkles with silver and deep moat. Refer to (

These imaginations invariably transform Don Quixote's setting that is far beyond scenery than the unperturbed mundane real life. But such is the intention of the author in this novel. In the author's own words he says, books of adventure has that propensity to confuse the reader's mind that they veer out of the track of reality and not vice-versa concerning the reader's surrounding. This narrows down to Viktor Shklovsky's concept of Defamiliarization. This creativeness helps to build more the characters and thoroughly familiarize and defamiliarize the audiences with these characters and idea respectively since it is believed that when settings vary the characters are also bound to change in certain aspects.

Characterization in 'Don Quixote': Don Quixote, Sancho Panza, and Dulcinea Del Toboso

Again we find the element of characterization. The author carefully weaves the characters. Among them is the author's tragicomic hero-Don Quixote- who is also the protagonist of the novel. Just like in any other novel, there is usually the driving force motivating the protagonist to do something unique. For this case, the major motivation behind Don Quixote's behavior and actions draw from his obsession with fantasies he reads from myriad books. Coupled this is his inability to live in the real world like the rest of people. Again the second motivation is the abstraction of the character Dulcinea Del Toboso who is seemingly his lover. Though repeatedly mentioned in the text and also pivotal to the development and progress of the novel, Dulcinea remains the unseen character (Graff, n.p). She propels all of Don Quixote's expeditions. Another character is Sancho Panza. The foil character whose purpose in the novel is to illuminate the major character has been duly depicted in the novel, and he not only helps us as readers to know more about his relationship with the protagonist but also sheds light to the protagonist.

The Thematic Concerns of 'Don Quixote': Power of Imagination and Moral Reflections

Notably, the thematic concern is a crucial element worth considering. In precision, the novel concerns the real character who exited- Hildalgo Alonso Quijano, whom his love for reading chivalrous books came to believe that everything they say automates reality thus he decides to become a knight on a self-sent errand. The writer explicates the power of imaginations, how it can take people to incredible heights and do the unthinkable. This is simply the ability of the author to stay away from the emotions and imaginations of the readers by taking them from the real world to the unreal and fantastical world. In his endeavors to live in the illusionary world, he attempts neither once nor twice but ultimately when he re-discovers himself he gains his self-consciousness and feels sorry for his misdeeds.

Through the character of Don Quixote, we see an epitome of the noblest liberality, committed to the course of good deeds with little passion. This opines the moral that cuts across which are found in the author's creation. However, in conjunction to the building of a moral clique capable of being identified and accepted as an emblem of values in any time or place, the work of Cervantes is such art with multiple aspects and reflections that readers would wish to find out. The overall morality depicted in Cervante's work has not only been intertwined with psychological aspects but also aesthetic feel that blends perfectly with individual reader. In support of this claim, it has been proven beyond doubts that Cervante's creation has broadly catalyzed the build-up of the literary genre which was later referred to like the novel. Among the known authors who have been inspired by such adventurous literary art include but not limited to Fielding, Charles Dickens, Stendhal, Dostoyevsky and Flaubert among other.

Comparative Analysis: 'Don Quixote' and Gustave Flaubert's 'Madame Bovary'

Looking at 'Madame Bovary' authored by Gustave Flaubert, for instance, the heroine undergoes a transition in regards to how her life is aligned, just like Don Quixote, since she has read the romances found in chivalry, essentially those novels typical of the 19th century. Notably, the author whose work we are discussing in this essay has exemplified to the European society and the rest of the world how poetry and fantasy could blend with the daily experience of reality which rings true to the senses (Graff, n.p). The writer has achieved this by vividly exposing the poetic reality, which had been reserved within the ideal domain of dream, as that which is experienced by a normal real human being hence a dream becomes a reality of any person living in their dreams.


Of particular interest to this discussion is not how the miserable Hidalgo loses his senses for one reason or another, but how his insanity has been manipulated into the central idea of his life, and into the universal central idea circumnavigates around other people of the same caliber as his. In conclusion, it would be prudent to judge the novel under discussion as one who is adventurous, and one which has not only given insight to the development of literary genre-novel-but has also inspired other authors to pen similar books of different tastes and uniqueness.

Works Cited

Cervantes Saavedra, Miguel de. Don Quixote. No. 188. Bogota, CO: Norma, 2016.

Graff, Clifford. Five Free-Market Themes in Don Quixote. Foundation for Economic Education. 2017. Print.

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Don Quixote by Miguel De Cervantes Essay Example. (2022, Aug 23). Retrieved from

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