One powerful factor in effective storytelling lies in the strong characterization of the figures in the story, and the novel, “Don Quixote” sustains this factor. In the beginning of the novel, Miguel de Cervantes warns his “idle readers” (Cervantes, page __) that he simply wants to relate the story of a stepson who lived a ridiculous but great life, saying thus: “My wish would be simply to present it to thee plain and unadorned, without any embellishment of preface or uncountable muster of customary sonnets, epigrams, and eulogies, such as are commonly put at the beginning of books.
” (Cervantes, page__). The second part of the novel reveals a similar contention, this time uttered by Cide Hamete Benengeli in Chapter LXXIV. The reputed father of Don Quixote de La Mancha, Benengeli says, “For me alone Don Quixote was born and I for him. His was the power of action, mine of writing. ” (Cervantes, page ___). By repeating these contentions, Miguel de Cervantes emphasizes and reiterates the idea that Don Quixote is a real character, a man who is not merely a product of a novelist’s imagination, but a tangible entity.
Cervantes and his phantom figure, Benengeli, claim that they are merely recorders of Don Quixote’s deeds and misdeeds. Cervantes declares thus in his preface: “In belief of the good reception and honours that Your Excellency bestows on all sort of books, as prince so inclined to favor good arts, chiefly those who by their nobleness do not Customer’s last name 2 submit to the service and bribery of the vulgar, I have determined bringing to light The Ingenious Gentleman Don Quixote of la Mancha. ” (Cervantes, page__).
Cervantes distances himself from the character by saying that he is merely a recorder of a person’s history, not a creator of a person so intriguingly chivalrous and comical at the same time. In doing so, Cervantes strengthens the character of Don Quixote, making him a mystery, and an enigma. Was he real, or was he imaginary? This intriguing question has kept readers all over the world and across generations to keep turning the pages of this humorous novel, and in this respect, Cervantes achieves his triumph in making the adventures of a tragic and comic knight-errant, a very engaging read.
The two mentioned passages delineating one contention are significant in the reading of the novel as a whole. Promoting Don Quixote as a tangible entity, a real character, makes the novel more humorous, more effective, and more influential; the themes and sentiments imbibed in the story are therefore communicated more strongly. Cervantes provides a critical commentary on the Spanish lifestyle and morals at the time the novel was written, and one way to take a humorous novel seriously, is to project it as a palpable, realistic account of one person’s adventures and misadventures. This in itself is an ingenious literary style.
Making Don Quixote an enigma and claiming that he is real, reflects the ridiculous and preposterous nature of the novel. Cervantes is ultimately making a literary statement: that in a world and in a time when chivalric ideals are appropriate, yet overrated, a society that is suspended between the grandiose aspects of chivalry and the humility of noble chivalric ideals must examine its principles very closely. If it fails to do, it may likewise fight windmills instead of giants, and therein lays a societal problem too unbelievably difficult to overcome. Works Cited Cervantes, M. Don Quixote. (Publication Information).
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