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In Miguel De Cervantes Saavedra’s classic novel, The Ingenious Hidalgo Don Quixote is a wonderful tale about a man who abandons his normal life to pursue life as a knight. The characters in the novel such as Dulcinea, his love, Marcela, Maritornes and Sancho Panza his squire happens to play a great and important role in the novel when exampling the theme of love. The themes of love, care, infatuation and loyalty are greatly expressed throughout the novel. Throughout the novel, Cervantes is able to examine how one can differentiate true love from false and infatuated love.

The protagonist, Don Quixote’s obsessive reading of books of chivalry plays a major role in defining his character; his inspiration for his travels as a knight errant comes from the literature about chivalry that he reads, the literature that causes him to lose his mind and go mad. Everything that he usually experiences in his journey, first happened in the books that inspired his travels. The character, Dulcinea’s role as Quixote’s lady-love becomes equivalent with the position a king might hold in a true and honorable knight’s life.

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Many heroes like Don Quixote have experienced many episodes dealing with the feeling of love. His unconditional love toward Aldonzo Lorenzo is seen to be a motivation for his survival. Aldonzo Lorenzo is a good-looking peasant girl in a nearby village. Quixote shows his first sign of love when he gives Aldonzo Lorenzo a nickname called Dulcinea del Toboso in which he got it from her native village called El Toboso. According to Don through his eyes, Dulcinea is seen to be a woman who is worth more than the power of a monarch in the life of any honest knight. Don describes Dulcinea to be in a high position of honor due to his immense love for her.

            Dulcinea seems to inspire Don Quixote and gives him strength throughout his journey. She happens to be a great part of his rituals. After Don Quixote gets his armor and his squire, Sancho Panza, the only thing then remains is for Quixote to choose a woman, who ends up being Dulcinea. The narrator explains after Don Quixote has found his amour and names his horse he realizes that the only thing remaining was to “find a lady of whom he could be enamoured, for a knight-errant without a lady-love is a tree without leaves or fruit, a body without a soul” (29). Don Quixote feels and recognizes his inability to function as a knight and he wouldn’t be a complete knight without his lady-love, as well as the keystone to his honor which he quickly sets out and creates Dulcinea Del Toboso. At First, Cervantes portrays Dulcinea as an artificial or lustful imagine since Don is actually utilizing her to fulfill his dream and requirements for living as a chivalric knight. As time went by we able to see how this lustful love takes a turn and we can notice it is actually love that he has and feels towards Dulcinea.  

An example where Don Quixote pledged his love and loyalty to Dulcinea del Toboso. The knight-errant, Don Quixote de La Mancha, fight two deadly duels, which he thinks are giants, but in reality, they’re windmills, to protect Lady Dulcinea’s reputation. “Commending himself with all his heart to his lady Dulcinea, begging her to succor him in his plight” (64). Another example in Cervantes novel that exemplifies love is the episode in which Quixote professes his love for Dulcinea to Maritornes. Don Quixote finds shelter at an inn for one night and imagines that the beautiful innkeeper’s daughter would come into his room and lie with him. As he’s in his bed waiting, Maritornes, the innkeeper’s daughter’s hunchback servant enters, who he mistakenly grabs into his bed. Quixote confesses his temptation to be with Maritornes, however, refuses to be disloyal to his true love stating, “the fidelity that I have promised to the peerless Dulcinea del Toboso, the sole mistress of my most secret thoughts” (126). Although he is attracted to this woman whom he identifies as a beautiful princess, he stays faithful to his love Dulcinea.

            Another example where we can see the difference between love and lust is in the episode of Grisostomo’s death. Grisostomo, a rich hidalgo who living in a village in the Sierra and who’d been a student at Salamanca University for many years (98). Grisostomo died of love for Marcela, “rich Guillermo’s daughter, that girl who wonders about all those god forsaken places dressed up as a shepherdess” (89). After Grisostomo’s unrequited love lead him to commit suicide, Ambrosia, who is a close friend of Grisostomo, indicts Marcela with Grisostomo’s demise saying that the young scholar’s life was stolen by her cruelty. However, one can definitely say that Grisostomo had committed suicide for his own reasons and Marcela is not the one to be blamed at any cost. There were simply no connections between the both of them, so why should Marcela be blamed for the actions Grisostomo had taken? It was only and only because of his lustfulness infatuation that leads him to kill himself.

Marcela was a very rich girl, and had inherited her parent’s money and was raised by one of her uncle who was a priest. By the time she was a grown teenager anyone “who set eyes on her praised god for making her so beautiful, and most fell hopelessly in love” (92). Her uncle usually kept her shut indoors but still, the fame of her beauty spread far and wide. Once she was exposed and went off into the fields, she came into the “public gaze and her beauty was exposed to all eyes…many rich youths, hidalgos and farmers dressed up just like Grisostomo and wondered about the fields wooing her” (93). Despite all the fact, it was Marcela’s choice who she wanted to marry because her uncle believed that “parents should force or provide for their children’s future against their will” (93). Marcela had refused all of the men, which apparently lead Grisostomo to kill himself. Many of the locals blamed Marcela has Grisostomo’s death, mocking her as “cruel and an ingrate” (93). After hearing all of the accusations towards her, she had come to defend herself. Marcela states “you all say that heaven made me beautiful, so much so that this beauty of mine, with a force you can’t resist, makes you love me, and you say and demand that, in return for the love you show me, I must love you (108). It most certainly wasn’t fair to Marcela that she was being accused for Grisostomo’s actions only due to her beauty, which explains, although it may seem as if Grisostomo loved her with all his heart, the main reason he killed himself, it also seems lustful since her beauty was the only thing that attracted him, making his love very much infatuated and lustful.

Love happens to be a very important theme in this novel. Marcela definitely astounds everyone, not only with her captivating and legendary beauty, but with her intelligence. At the end when she has finished defending herself from the blame that was put on her, she wishes to run away and the crowd who is angry at her for killing Gristomo, the lover, want to chase after her, it is Quixote who stops this and defends her and why she should be honored and not killed. “Let no man… dare to follow the beautiful Marcela, under pain of incurring my furious indignation… It is right that… She should be honored and held in esteem by all good men” (111) is what Quixote yells at the crowd before rushing off to grace her. Whether it was by her beauty which captured him or his true love and respect for who she was, he stopped the crowd from chasing after her. His concept of motivation to act like this was partly out of respect for her but also out of love. He saw Marcela just as he saw Dulcinea, a perfect woman. In fact, he compared himself and Dulcinea to Marcela and her suitors (94). He saw Dulcinea in her and through the love he has for her, he chose to defend Marcela the same way he’d defend Dulcinea.

In Miguel de Cervantes Saavedra’s The Ingenious Hidalgo Don Quixote De LaMancha, he introduces us to two main characters. We have Don Quixote, nearly fifty who loves to read books about chivalrous knights which eventually drives him insane and the second character that we have is Sancho Panza, a simple peasant who later is denounced as Don Quixote’s squire. In Cervantes’ novel, we have two almost completely opposing characters as two of the main characters in the story. I assume we all probably have heard the phrase that opposites attract? Yes, that is definitely the case in this novel as well. The relationship between Don Quixote and Sancho Panza is an important one. Readers can easily understand that the two characters stand for different things. While in the novel, Quixote represents illusion or idealist, Sancho Panza represents realism/reality. They complement each other in a dualistic way. By coming together, I believe they construct one person. Throughout the journey with Don Quixote and his squire, Sancho Panza, who tags along with him everywhere, we are able to see the love Sancho Panza has for his master. Sancho decides to leave his family and children and go into service for Don Quixote’s squire (61). He often obeys and follows along and does everything Don Quixote asks him to do.

Sancho Panza is perhaps one of the most interesting characters in the novel, most notably because of the love he has for his master, Don Quixote. When readers have read only 200 pages of the book, Sancho and Quixote have encountered numerous adventures. They have been graced into a castle and greeted by lovely maidens, they have fought giants the size of windmills, they have conquered great armies in the midst of battle in a land of dust, and they have freed the unjustly prisoned from the grips of tyranny. It is thus unfortunate that these adventures were machinations of Quixote’s mind and not of Sancho. Sancho see’s things as they really are as he is just a normal man. So why is it that, through these ‘adventures’ that Sancho stays by Quixote’s side? Is it for the lust of governance of an island? Is it for the spoils of battle? Is it for the hand of a lovely maiden? Maybe it was at first but by the end of those adventures and mishaps, one thing always keeps Sancho bound to Quixote like two patches on a quilt and that is love. Love for the man who seeks love himself, Sancho puts up with all of it and much more than even he thinks he should sometimes. A testament to Sancho’s love is in the episode of the second inn. When Quixote cannot pay the innkeeper his dues for staying in his hospitality, Quixote leaves the inn on Rocinante, his donkey, and leaves Sancho to be approached by the innkeeper for the dues. When Sancho is also unable to pay, he is tormented and thrown in a blanket and tossed up in the air repeatedly (135), all the while being ridiculed and without Don there to come to his rescue. Afterwards, feeling saddened, Sancho approaches Quixote about the incident and Quixote says that “I am now altogether convinced that the castle or inn is enchanted… Had I been able either to climb or to dismount, I should have exacted such revenge that those arrant knights would have remembered their prank forever” (137). Sancho does not believe this one bit and says, “There weren’t the ghosts or enchanted men you say they were, but men of flesh and blood like you and me” (137). He knew that Quixote left him out to dry and is obviously hurt that Quixote would not only not come to his aid when he needed him, but also lied that he physically wasn’t able to, due to enchantments on the ‘castle’. The conversation quickly changes the subject, but it is obvious that Sancho has his feelings hurt, yet he does not leave Quixote without delay. He appreciates Quixote and loves him as a brother, for all the madness he ensues. For all the adventures and mishaps and misfortunes that both incur, Sancho could leave at any moment, yet he doesn’t, even when he would be fully justified for doing so. Even Harold Bloom in his article states that “Sancho hesitates sometimes on the verge of abandoning the relationship, yet he cannot; partly he is fascinated, but in the end, he is held by love, and so is the Don.” They, through all the pain and tomfoolery, have bonded to become not just two adventures in search of riches and honor but two companions in search of acceptance and belonging, things that Sancho and Quixote could only find in each other.

The novel, The Ingenious Hidalgo Don Quixote, is a fictional novel that dances on the line between imagination and reality. This novel has a great theme exploring and explaining the difference between love and lust in Cervantes’s novel.  Books can often take readers into a new world, but the land of La Mancha beckons for a complete relinquishing of the senses of reality. Cervantes created a romantic insane fool who captures both hearts and minds with his chivalric pursuit of knight errantry. Don Quixote is a person that represents an individual who creates his own type of reality and imagination and gives himself over to it completely, while taking others along for the ride. Fiction is only fiction because it is not believed to be true, but once fantasy becomes truth, it can evolve into a more desired reality.

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