Don Quixote: Is He Insane?
Don Quixote’s sanity has always been regarded as the main talking point of the novel. The theme of whether his actions are justified and seen as morally acceptable compared to society remains a complex question. This paper elucidates that his unorthodox actions are sane but deemed peculiar due to his chivalric attitude and desire to transform the principles of a chevalier into real-life application.
The social setting of the novel puts Quixote in between societies of the old medieval world and the new promising yet dubious modern world. He cherishes the ideologies of knighthood and romance, which represent a dream of a heroic way of life through living with ideals such as courage, strength, courtesy, and beauty. Through his readings of chivalric books, he creates his ambition of being a knight seeking eternal fame and renown (Arellano-Ayuso 72). However, this belief is in contradiction with the society around him. His assumption that the novels he read are the historical truth has clouded his judgment when it comes to the real world. He became incapacitated in determining what is real and what is ideal due to his lack of critical inferences (Riley et al. 67-69). It would be difficult to maintain these principles, as they would eventually collide with the accepted ways of living and the cultural values adopted by society. As a result, his measures have been deemed to be insane due to conflicting principles held by society.
There are many instances in the novel that show how he is a sane person as the plot progresses. For example, in “Part II”, every time Don Quixote feels depressed or unhappy with his life as a knight-errant, his attitude becomes much healthier and his actions are completely regulated. It was due to his strong passion for commitment to knight-errantry at the beginning that led him to act impetuously. As he stumbled upon more challenges, he discovered the need to regulate his aberrant behaviour. The narrator does emphasise Quixote’s duality by indicating that his heroism is “sometimes intelligent and sometimes foolish” and identifying his speech as “reasoned nonsense” (Gould 37). Even when he finally dies, his real self is observed, Alonso Quixano. In consideration of these instances, it is reasonable to say that the new modern world has deceived us in judging Don Quixote. Due to modernisation, Quixote, who is an ideal role model for humanity, is demonised by the new world order, which is reluctant to notice his intention (Göncüoğlu 65).
In conclusion, his unorthodox actions are sane but deemed peculiar due to his chivalric attitude and desire to transform the principles of a chevalier into real-life execution.
Arellano-Ayuso, Ignacio. “Quixote’s Insanity and Sancho Panza’s Wisdom.” EMESCO, 2008.
Göncüoğlu, M. Önder. “Is Don Quixote a Loser?” Dicle Üniversitesi Sosyal Bilimler Enstitüsü Dergisi. 2012.
Gould, Rebecca. “Modernity, Madness, Disenchantment: Don Quixote’s Hunger.” Symplokē, Vol 19, no 1-2, 2011, pp. 35-53.
Riley, Edward Calverley, and Enrique Torner Montoya. “Introducción al Quijote.” Crítica, Vol. 19, 1990.
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