Don Quixote
Cervantes
Laura Taggett
ALL
12 Nov 2013
Cervantes
• Worked as a servant in the home of a Roman
cardinal
• Tried to be a writer (only truly successful with
Don Qui...
Don Quixote
• Has sold over 500 million copies, often
considered the second most-sold book after
the Bible.
• Said to have...
Debate about genre
• Novel: extended fictional narrative with a unifying plot,
theme or idea.
• Romance: tale of long ago,...
Don Quixote and context
• Issues on which Cervantes may directly or indirectly be commenting:
– The rise of Spain from the...
The rise and fall of Chivalry
• An ethical system that emphasizes personal honor
• “an aristocratic ethos, a mode of behav...
Don Quixote and Chivalry
• Chapter 1
– Don Quixote’s life
– His physical state
– The power of books

• “So great was his d...
Some of the highlighted adventures of
the illustrious Don Quixote de la
Mancha

• Getting knighted (ch.3)
• “Saving” Andre...
Superficial literary points of Don
Quixote
• The DANGERS OF LITERATURE: Cervantes’ literary (satirical?) disclaimer:
“the ...
A deeper reading
• If Cervantes wants to warn us about the dangers
of literature, why would he write a novel?
• As often a...
Context at work in the novel
– The rise of Spain from the end of the Reconquest
• What role is there for chivalry?

– Span...
We don’t need another hero …?
• By the time Cervantes writes Don Quixote, it can
be argued there is no more place for a he...
Works Cited
Abels, Richard. “Chivalry.” The United States Navel
Academy. N.d. Web. 31 Oct. 2013.
Cervantes Saavedra, Migue...
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All don quixote

  1. 1. Don Quixote Cervantes Laura Taggett ALL 12 Nov 2013
  2. 2. Cervantes • Worked as a servant in the home of a Roman cardinal • Tried to be a writer (only truly successful with Don Quixote) • As a soldier for the Italian army returning to Spain, he was captured by pirates, sold to Greeks before finally being allowed to return to Spain • Attempted to attain favor with Philip III (he wasn’t aristocracy) (Damrosch et al 360-1)
  3. 3. Don Quixote • Has sold over 500 million copies, often considered the second most-sold book after the Bible. • Said to have influenced countless novels, plays, operas, etc. • “Quixotic”: exceedingly idealistic; unrealistic and impractical. • Gave us “tilting at windmills”
  4. 4. Debate about genre • Novel: extended fictional narrative with a unifying plot, theme or idea. • Romance: tale of long ago, far away, imaginatively improbable, characterized by lofty, elevated language. • Satire: a text that blends a “censorious” attitude with humor and wit with the intent of improving humanity. Inspires a “remodeling.” • Farce: excites laughter, depending less on plot and character than improbable situations, coarse wit • Picaresque: the chronicle of a rascal making his living more by his wits than by industry • -all definitions from the Handbook to Literature 3 ed. rd
  5. 5. Don Quixote and context • Issues on which Cervantes may directly or indirectly be commenting: – The rise of Spain from the end of the Reconquest • “Cervantes, born into a dominant and wealthy Spain, witnessed, throughout his lifetime, the decadence and decline of the Spanish state and the disillusionment of its people.” – Spanish state and the Inquisition (The Tribunal of the Holy Office of the Inquisition) • “The reign of Philip II was known for its oppression, the power and influence of the Tribunal, and the increased territorial expansion of the Spanish empire. ” – Military Defeat • “The defeat [of the Spanish by the English] also proved crippling for Spanish political and economic power, as control of the seas (and routes to the New World) was of vital importance to the Spanish empire.” – Decadence and Decline of Spanish Power and Economy (under Philip II and III) (Krueger).
  6. 6. The rise and fall of Chivalry • An ethical system that emphasizes personal honor • “an aristocratic ethos, a mode of behavior that distinguished the European nobility from their social inferiors” • “Courtesy meant proper behavior at court; it included the ability to please and amuse ladies” • Courtesy: behavior and manners appropriate to members of a court. • Reciprocity (ethos that obliges people to treat others as they themselves have been treated: benefit friends, injure enemies); • Honor (one's public status, reputation--also refers to one's lands and rights). • Basic medieval framework: hierarchy, custom/tradition, corporate rather than individualistic, Christianity, personal rather than abstract relations • 1. able-bodied; 2. of good lineage; 3. have sufficient wealth to support his rank; 4. wise (to judge his inferiors and supervise their labors; to advise his lord); 5. generous (holds open house within the limits of his means); 6. loyal; 7. courageous; 8. honorable. (Abels).
  7. 7. Don Quixote and Chivalry • Chapter 1 – Don Quixote’s life – His physical state – The power of books • “So great was his determination to redress grievances, right wrongs, correct injustices, rectify abuses and fulfill obligations…” (Chapter 2). • A Knight in a decidedly un-Chivalric world.
  8. 8. Some of the highlighted adventures of the illustrious Don Quixote de la Mancha • Getting knighted (ch.3) • “Saving” Andres, the young peasant (chapter 4) • With Sancho: – Tilting at windmills (ch. 8) – Fighting the armies of … sheep (ch. 18 [or book 3, chapter 4]) – Freeing the chain gang (ch .22 [or book 3, chapter 8]) • Containing Don Quixote’s defense of pimps: “The pimp’s trade is no ordinary trade… “) – The defeat of the puppet Moors (book 2, chapter 26 [or book 2, part 2, chapter 9])
  9. 9. Superficial literary points of Don Quixote • The DANGERS OF LITERATURE: Cervantes’ literary (satirical?) disclaimer: “the excess of reading withered his brain, and he went mad.” • Quixote is regularly made a fool by those around him. – The innkeeper who “to have something to laugh at in the night,” decided to humor him. – “Defeated” by windmills, sheep, balsam tonic. – He’s an “old” man, not in great shape, attempting things he cannot do. • Consistent use of humor – “he … began to give our Don Quixote such a pounding that, in spite of all his armour, he ended up threshed as the finest chaff” (ch. 4). • Narrative stance: narrator often can be read as mocking his protagonist: – Quixote’s “love” for Dulcinea: “she was never aware of this love, about which he’d never told her….” – “Don Quixote … set about raising money, and by selling one possession, pawning another, and always making a bad bargain …. “ (ch. 7)
  10. 10. A deeper reading • If Cervantes wants to warn us about the dangers of literature, why would he write a novel? • As often as Quixote is mocked, he is also treated with respect (ch.2: the innkeeper and prostitutes). • The values for which he stands can be thought common-sensical and universal. • The violence in which he partakes can be said to be a representation of the time. • The ending ….
  11. 11. Context at work in the novel – The rise of Spain from the end of the Reconquest • What role is there for chivalry? – Spanish state and the Inquisition (The Tribunal of the Holy Office of the Inquisition) • The role of Arabs and Moors in the text (untrustworthy liars) – (however! Note how the text uses the narrative distance to state those ideas while consistently undermining them) – Military Defeat • Can be said to represented by Don Quixote’s repeated thrashings and continued attempts. – Decadence and Decline of Spanish Power and Economy • What role is there for chivalry?
  12. 12. We don’t need another hero …? • By the time Cervantes writes Don Quixote, it can be argued there is no more place for a hero, Knight, or chivalry. The world was such that goodness had no place. • Who, then, is wrong? Quixote or the society around him? • If Cervantes, then, is commenting on the state of Spain, there can be said to be two messages: – Superficial: – Deeper (satirical?):
  13. 13. Works Cited Abels, Richard. “Chivalry.” The United States Navel Academy. N.d. Web. 31 Oct. 2013. Cervantes Saavedra, Miguel de. Don Quixote. London: The Folio Society, 1995. Print. Damrosch, David, et al. The Longman Anthology of World Literature. 2nd ed. New York: Pearson-Longman, 2009. Print. Krueger, Allison. “Historical Context for Don Quixote by Miguel de Cervantes.” The Core Curriculum. Columbia College. N.d. Web. 31 Oct. 2013. “The Ingenious Hildago Don Quixote de la Mancha.” The Order of the Royal Honor. N.d. Web. 31 Oct. 2013.

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