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In Miguel de Cervantes’ Don Quixote, the major motifs portrayed throughout the novel are honorable chivalry and the delusional perception of which Don Quixote views the world as enchanted. On several accounts throughout the story it becomes apparent that despite being delusional, Don Quixote reveals many positive qualities such as honor and chivalry. He displays courage, loyalty and determination throughout his many adventures, even when it is obvious that his perception of the world is from an impractical standpoint. Don Quixote de la Mancha drives himself mad out of the misapprehension that the world he lived in should be one as full of adventure as what he had read so much about in his books of knights and chivalry. Rather than coping with the idea that he was living in the traditional norm, he decided to view life in different more eccentric terms and create an enchanted world in which he was a knight errant setting off to find many significant adventures to proclaim honor. Although Don Quixote creates imaginative fascinations involving his absolute love and devotion to Dulcinea, his quests and adventures that he pursues, and in the more trivial every day encounters, he demonstrates many noble and chivalrous attributes despite his madness.
Upon declaring his state as a knight errant, Don Quixote asserts that he must have a great lady in which he may preform honorable deeds in the name of. Aldonza Lorenzo, a peasant farm girl whom Don Quixote loved yet hardly knew became renamed in his mind as the Dulcinea del Toboso whom Don Quixote praised and dedicated his every endeavor in the name of her honor. When Don Quixote later runs across a group of merchants, he requested to have them confess the ultimate beauty of Dulcinea, without even ever seeing what she looked like. “Everyone stop right now and confess that there’s no more beautiful a maiden in the world than the empress of La Mancha, the peerless Dulcinea del Toboso! (42-43).” Although his demand was not fulfilled, and the beauty of Dulcinea not formally recognized by the group of merchants, they left him beaten with a broken lance and face down in the dirt however Don Quixote remains confident and loyal in his devotion to his ideal lady. When Don Quixote talks to Vivaldo about his love that he serves, he speaks of Dulcinea del Toboso in the most thoughtful and compassionate terms. “Her rank must be at least that of a princess… her beauty superhuman, since in her are made real all the impossible and chimerical attributes of beauty that poets give to their ladies (101).” Again, Don Quixote speaks of Dulcinea as though she is his inspiration and reason for living, despite the fact that she is only a common peasant and knows nothing of him.
Through his journey, Don Quixote comes across many adventurous quests, which seem of high importance, however is essentially another way his self-deceptive way of thinking creates significance out of ordinary situations. When Don Quixote first sets off, he crosses paths with the farmer beating his shepherd, thinking that the farmer is a knight, and that he is in fact doing good for the young boy by confronting the farmer about paying the boy, he actually makes it worse as the farmer continues to beat the boy harder after Don Quixote leaves. The Famous scene with the Windmills that Don Quixote mistakes as giants, is another prime example of how Don Quixote misconstrues reality in hopes of getting rich and clearing the earth of evil. Granted the fact that Don Quixote is imagining the windmills as evil giants, he continues to follow his brave notion to attack them. This bold action is still deemed necessary, even after his defeat and his conclusion that they must have been changed into windmills by the enchanter who stole his books at the last minute in order to take away Don Quixote’s glory of conquering them. The next major wrong that Don Quixote plans to right, was the incident with the Monks, carrying a lady to meet with her husband, who he mistakes for enchanters kidnapping a princess. “I have to right this wrong with all of my might (68).” Even when Sancho tries to inform Don Quixote that the situation is not in fact what he believes it to be, Don Quixote stays strong by his word and tells him that he was not wrong and that Sancho knows “little about the subject of adventures (68).” For this episode Don Quixote gets a split ear, and no justification of correcting any wrong that was ever done. When Rocinante is beaten by a large group of Yanguesan muleteers, Don Quixote daringly insisted that he and Sancho should fight them because they would surly win. “I’m worth a hundred (116).” Although they lose this battle, and Don Quixote resolves that is was only because he drew his sword toward to men without a noble ranking status that he was defeated. Don Quixote again thinks he will have a chance to show off his strength and fearlessness when he inaccurately concludes that two large clouds of dust that came from sheep where actually two armies at battle with one another, in which he would take as a challenge. Although Don Quixote feels that this is an ultimately heroic act, he actually ends up killing several sheep and is rewarded by having stones thrown at him by the shepherds, knocking out his teeth. Don Quixote feels that it is his job “to set forced actions right and succor and aid poor wretches (180).” This being true, he decided to help free a group of prisoners because they were taken by force. Even after he is warned by Sancho, he disregards his advisement and goes on to break them loose, remaining loyal to his knightly purpose. Don Quixote is again, met with an insult regardless of his good intentions.
Throughout the entire story of Don Quixote, he countlessly transforms the mundane into the eccentric. At every possible chance of stimulating the world through his eyes by converting his surroundings into the more fascinating, Don Quixote takes advantage of. From the beginning, he decides that he must come up with a better name for himself, his mistress Dulcinea del Toboso, and Rocinante. His horse was only a skinny old mare, but in his head, Rocinante was the finest steed that ever was. Sancho Panza was a poor, illiterate, stubby man, who Don Quixote would have as his faithful and suitable squire. Don Quixote mistakes inns for castles, and innkeepers for knights. Any lady that he may come across seems to him a fair princess that should be graciously served as such. When Don Quixote sees the barber with a basin on his head to protect him from the rain, he assumes that it is a great knight wearing a Mambrino’s helmet and is determined to get it from him. When he does, and Sancho laughs at him for wearing the basin, he makes the explanation that it was in the wrong hands, and had been melted down into a basin; however it was still a magnificent Mambrino’s helmet, in another form.
All the way through Miguel De Cervantes’ novel of Don Quixote, it should be noted that Don Quixote always had an elucidation for the unordinary and made things much more enchanted than they were in reality. Although he was evidentially an irrational madman due to a considerable amount of reading literature of tales of chivalrous knights and courtly romance, Don Quixote expressed many noble characteristics such as honor to his word, devotion to his love, and loyalty to his proclaimed knighthood in every aspect from his love to his many adventures and to the trivial particulars he faced on a daily basis.
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