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Miguel de Cervantes: Reaction of the Normative Citizen In Empire


Don Quixote of La Mancha


Miguel de Cervantes [web file] updated 11082008

website 16, under Iberia, Cervantes

 Why the Silly Military Exsist? This is updated, not the doc file 14 nov 08

Spanish History

Saavedera, Miguel de Cervantes

Don Quixote of La Mancha (English) & short biography on its author

Copyright © 2006- 2008 Michael Johnathan McDonald


Miguel Cervantes Curt Biography & Behind the Scenes look at the effects of a masterpiece.

What did Miguel see and experience around himself?

  • Philip II and Philip III: Cervantes lives under this powerful Empire.

  • Philip II’s reign (ruled 1557-1598) and his Spain gives the experiences to Miguel for his subjects of critique on Empire

Miguel Saavedera de Cervantes (commonly known as Miguel Cervantes) was probably a son of a Barber, and his father somehow got money to send him to school.  He probably went to school in Seville in the south of Spain. He makes it to Madrid, and has aspirations to becoming a courtier. These were one of the career options of this time in Europe.  He has problems as many other courtiers did from dancing, and from brawling too much, which had usually ended up in duals. Yet, his dual had taken place on Royal Land.  A dual on Royal land was a criminal offence, a penalty to have ones hand cut off if convicted.  So Miguel did not like this scenario, so he ran-off to Rome. His own small chapter of being a courtier found him serving  Cardinal Acquaviva from 1569-'70 (Guilio Acquaviva raised to cardinate 17 May 1570, referenced as only “camarero to Cardinal Acquaviva at Rome,” in dedication to Galacia; warrant exists for the arrest of Cervantes 15 September 1569, and sentence to have right hand cut-off and exiled from the capital for 10 years; another source shows Cervantes at lodging at Rome in the end of 1569). Cervantes is the secretary in Rome at a time when St. Peters was not finished. The cupola (the dome) was not there, but Cervantes sees one of the main stages of the Rome Empire.  He sees these empires and these people’s lives moving about in these biggest empires ( Rome and Spain), and bullion of silver and gold are poring into Spain. What Miguel witnesses was extreme wealth all around him, a product of the Golden Age. Yet, where was his money?  So he sees this, and it is a time of Catholic Triumphalism. And Pius V is in power and the Holy League came into formation, as the league of Venice, Genoa, Papal State and Spain, and Cervantes is recruited in Rome for the Battle of Lepanto.  He winds up serving in some capacity and gets wounded in the arm, but he comes home a hero. A few years after Lepanto, he serves as courtier again, but in 1575, he decides that he can go home and that it is safe to do so. He believes that the authorities will forgive him his offence and that he had served in one of the famed Christian Catholic victories. So Miguel hops on the boat at Italy to head home via Barcelona. but even though Lepanto was a success, the Ottomans supported the pirates in the Mediterranean, and piracy from Tunis and the Barbary Coast fostered a thriving slave industry. Cervantes does not escape the Algerian pirates, and this was his history of slavery.  Slavery in the Mediterranean was a somewhat different in that it had more options from the suppressors point of view.  These slaves’ camps could hold thousands.  One might have work capabilities, and therefore, a as captured person, slave dealers might sell a slave to shoppers. These slaves would be in bondage for the rest of their lives. However, as a thriving business, European slaves were worth more money to the slave dealers if they could get their family to send a huge ransom. The business of Slavery was to capture European Christians, enslave them in slave camps, and then post ransom notices in major cities along with price tags. This gave captured slaves a chance to get with their loved ones, back to safety and freedom. The battle at Lepanto was one such Catholic Christian slave emancipating battle.

So after five years, Miguel’s family finally raises enough money and sends it  via a French Catholic Order to negotiate financial deal to the suppressors of African slave bondage, and release Cervantes from a slave camp in 1580.  Miguel’s family sent their life’s savings to get him out, whined ruined them financially.  Cervantes comes home crippled and gets a management job as a military procurer for foods and military services. Miguel did not get paid a whole lot of money. Yet, he understood that he was a veteran in one of the most famous of Catholic battles. By the time Miguel had returned home, Lepanto had been long forgotten.  The Ottomans rebuilt their fleet of ships after one year. And the women that he married nagged him a lot, according to Miguel. He turned back to literature as a ways to get his family out of this financial situation. His wife pestered him to get more money and a different job.  Then he gets into military trouble, as they think he is embezzling money and does some time in prison in La Mancha prison. What this says is that Miguel lives a rough life, and when his first publishing after a twenty-five year break does not bring in any money (Galatia, a pastoral novel), his wife gives him a hard time.

See it is Don Quixote who is always falling on hard times, and thrown-off his horse and always landing on the back.  Don Quixote is about living in the time of plenty.  But Miguel has continuous troubles and lives in poverty in comparison to the rich people around him, and the communication that Spain was the wealthiest and largest Empire in modernity affects his mentality. So wealth is here, at the zenith of Empire, and Miguel participates in one of the greatest European military victories? So what is the pay-off for Miguel? A wounded arm, embezzlement charges, a nagging wife, and poverty.  We seek to understand the prolific output of each of these famous writers during their periods of writing. Remember Shakespeare prolifically writes in a space of about twenty-years and Cervantes in about a little more than a decade. This describes more of a person that is not wealthy and has money to do things and have experiences, rather than someone that lives in a certain poverty and work extremely hard.

We can imagine that Miguel is convincing his wife to let him go behind closed doors and work on his masterpiece so he can sell it and make the family rich.

In 1506 everything changes. Don Quixote was published as a serial—one could buy a chapter at a time. So in Madrid, people were buying these little chapters and the book takes off and it strikes an incredible cord of the people in Madrid. People are poor and understand the plight of a hapless Don Quixote. At this time, the economic repression will hit all over Europe and the near east. In 1598, Philip II dies and this is a turn, and an economic depression in Europe.

Economic Expansion starts in 1350 - 1600, a few intervals but until the end of sixteenth century a long depression in Europe begins. 1350-1600 is the period of economic wealth, and the Golden Age.

Monarchies become bankrupt, crop failures due to an elemental change in the weather. Now Cervantes who had spent most of his life in poverty, and he was in the right time and place for writing on the illusions and grandeur of success and economic success. Don Quixote becomes a parody of the Chivalric literary genre. The Courtier still considered themselves as Christian knights; they were cultivated knights by this time, but still had the Chivalric attitude. So Miguel reads these chivalric knight tales ( like Chanson de Roland), who were fictional characters going of crusades, rescuing damsels in distress, and going off to fight battles. Some sought wealth, while other hero status, or wide-range of fame. They all claimed to go out and want to conquer the world. Don Quixote intends to have his try at these things in the emerging economic depression of Europe.

So it was a trapping that readers fled to Don Quixote, because it was humorous, but the seriousness of persons suffering and the crisis of chivalry, and the crisis of Empire, brought people to understand what were actually happening to them at that time. They could finally understand the limits of Empire.

Miguel’s Don Quixote can be read as a critique of the Spanish Empire, and what happens when you decide to take up the sword and go off to war? It is written with nuances, multi-levels of sophistication. This was achieves so as not to go to jail for criticizing to openly ones state, it is careful and brilliant composure of the life and times of a state that just went through its stages of Imperialism.

It was a part or actually the Spanish Zenith of the renaissance:  Another level of realism. A desire to depict reality as it really was. How can we call it realism? This book is real peace of work, it is an interior study of the interior of Spain, and the interior person who is really seeing people go mad in the Empire -- with all this going about and people fighting to get rich and fighting wars for land as conquest. Don Quixote is not a revival of Empire, but the study of its effects, after the fact.

The renaissance is not “only” about revival, but about creating something else and moving beyond the ancient achievements. Don Quixote is thought about as the first real novel, the interior spaces of the character, the psychosis of the character and the reflection of these societies psychosis of Empire, and the discovery of man, like one of Burckhardt’s themes. It was not a discovery of the platonic ideal of man in Michelangelo or of the themes of the republican-city-states. But in Cervantes, Spain has a harsh realism. Miguel wants you to really understand that life can lead to madness, and Don Quixote is going mad right before our eyes, in our reading (book one or part one only!) .

The Dignity of Man  is contrasted when Cervantes represents the breakdown of man.  It is a sympathetic reading of the individual. It is about someone on the edge of abyss. An important bookmark of the renaissance,   it is its last accomplishment. This book is still regarded as one of the best novel in all time, recently polled in acclamation.

In a paradox of the Empire, Cervantes will become the reflection of accomplishment. The fact that Cervantes can be accepted now, because of its complexity, is the fact that this mass marketing is a sign of the cultural expansion of the Empire. And Cervantes does not represent the end of this literature, but it is representative of a whole literary movement: a continuation of a zenith as with Cervantes’ masterpiece and also a continuation of literary revival.

Novel Theme: An interior study and reflection on society.

Saavedera, Miguel de Cervantes, born at Alcalá de Henares, September 29, 1547, and died  in Madrid, Spain (aged 68), April 22, 1616, was a Spanish novelist, poet and playwright, Roman courtier,  soldier, wounded veteran, slave- captive,  and military procurer  of dry-consumable goods for the Armada (a grocer in modern day (also called purveyor in the 14th c.). Widely regarded as one of the most important and influential modern-classical novelists of all time, he is most noted for two volumes on the adventures of Don Quixote which later he retitled to its full breath as Don Quixote of La Mancha (English). This is a usually regarded as one of the first modern novels and contains its theme on an interior study and reflection on society. The first part was published in 1605 and the second in 1615. It is also one of the earliest written novels in a modern European language and is arguably the most influential and emblematic work in the canon of Spanish literature.

In 1585, Cervantes published a pastoral novel, La Galatea; so that it was twenty-one years since he had appeared in print as an author. Cervantes was in his fify-eight year when the First Part of Don Quixote was published. [1]

“The first part of Don Quixote was first printed by Juan de la Cuesta in 1605. This dedication is without a date ( to the Duke of Béjar, Marquis of Gibraleon, Count of Benalcazar[2] and Baňares, Viscount of Alcocer, Lord of the Towns of Capilla, Curiel, and Burguillos.(under dispute if Cervantes actually penned this dedication, see Don Eugenio Hartzenbusch, the editor of the magnificent edition of Cervantes’ works, printed at Argamasilla in 1865, note 1, p. 3, Watts), but as the license of the book is dated September 26th, 1604, we may presume it to be written about this time, when Cervantes was residing at Valladolid.” [3]

In 1607, he settled in Madrid, where he lived and worked until his death. During the last nine years of his life, Cervantes solidified his reputation as a writer; he published the Exemplary Novels (Novelas ejemplares) in 1613, the Journey to Parnassus in 1614, and in 1615, the Ocho comedias y ocho entremeses and the second part of Don Quixote.

Cervantes, born at Alcalá de Henares, was the fourth of seven children of Rodrigo de Cervantes, a surgeon born at Alcalá de Henares in a family whose origins may have been of the minor gentry, and wife, married in 1543, Leonor de Cortinas, who died on October 19, 1593. The family moved from town to town, and little is known of Cervantes's early years. In 1569, he joined the household of a wealthy Roman Cardinal. By 1570 he had been enlisted as a soldier in a Spanish infantry regiment and continued his military life until 1575, when he was captured by pirates. He was ransomed by his captors and the Trinitarians and returned to his family in Madrid.

Princess Dulcinea, mistress of the captive heart

In Chapter one, Cervantes describes Don Quixote’s female inspiration (what we would call a sweetheart), and gives her normal name as Aldonza Lorenzo. Don Quixote gives her an imaginary title of “mistress of his fancy; and, seeking for her a name which should not much belie her own, and yet incline and approach to that of a princess or great lady, he decided to call her DULCINEA DEL TOBOSO, for she was a native of Toboso, -- a name, in his opinion, musical, romantic, and significant, as were all which he had given to himself as his belongings.” [4] Princess Dulcinea, mistress of the captive heart, is also one of the many hints to what she represents. Quixote’s imaginary lover. “According to Convarrubias, Aldonza, an ancient name and no uncommon in Spain, is formed from donza, a corruption of dulce, with an addition of the Arabic article al. Thus it lends itself easily to the invention of Dulcinea.” [5] While there are many conjectures to her status as given her name by Cervantes, his criticisms of the treatment of the Moriscos, and other Islamic accepted sentiments attributed by Cervantes from insertions in text for me reveal a possible speculation of a women he had seen or even had known in Africa. References to Iberian histories of conquest of the Islamic towns and cities are numerous, and the books of chivalry intend Islam as one of the main ideological opponents. Cervantes is saying, ‘hey look!, my other half of my soul is of another ethnicity, while this half is Spanish.’ The hints of words like ‘captive’ and lexical corruptions of her made up names, and the basic theme of book, all led to me the revelation of this conclusion. We had also found Niccolò Machiavelli’s only questioning of the Catholic Monarchs (into which he saw them as ideal models of his prince) why they had kicked the Mores out of Spain because of their religion? Machiavelli tells us he has no idea what religion is about, but he does bring this issue up as an important factor in how a prince (leader) should effectively rule their domain. He understands in history there will be a future backlash to this dead – a Herodotian theory. This was the only negative Machiavelli places on Ferdinand and Isabella’s consolidating power-project – cultural intolerance. Cervantes was well schooled in the doctrinal disputes about these actions on cultural decision making of his native land. It helps to explain his heavy reliance on these issues in historical insertions into his text of time and place. If one does not know the historical news of these insertions, they will browse over them, and continue with the surface comical journeys.

In the latter half of book one, the Sierra Morena and tavern stories, I intend, rival Shakespeare’s  best comedies. There is a certain unrefined and spontaneous feel to the character’s emotions and actions. Don Quixote of La Mancha (first draft had the title of only Don Quixote) book one can be read on different levels. For children, the misadventures and hilarious comedy of a hap hearted hero and conqueror of the world finds Don Quixote in the best predicaments to reach a general laugh with a good amount of silliness, for good measure. On a different level, the deep social critique of book one cuts at the very heart of Spanish society, then another level in general at the whole of western European civilization of the renaissance period. The first obvious social critique is connected to the printing press and the proliferation of romance chivalric novels. Cervantes mis identifies the precedence of these novels are fiction, but Cervantes believes that a general public will consider much of these histories as factual events in time. Don Quixote strings together “rhapsodies,” all in the fashion of those which his books had taught him.” Like a mandate Oriana imposed on her Amadis, which forms the principle motive of action of his story.[6] This is a mandate not to appear before her as a prospectus husband until he goes out in the world, conquers it, and makes a name for himself. Therefore, he always has a motive to continue in face of adversity.

Cervantes Explains Book One in Book Two’s Prologue

In the prologue of the false Second Part, Avellaneda (a Morisco boy, at Alcaná market in Toledo who shows a plagiarized copy of Don Quixote to Don Quixote) reveals Cervantes’s intentions in book one of Don Quixote. This part of the book was written while Cervantes’ was in prison for his master’s tax evasion (some say), and the story is of Don Quixote who wants to write his memoirs but with reflection by Cervantes questioning its content and vision at the same time (sophisticated). It was also a critique on scandalous forgeries which did not benefit financially the authors in contemporary society. This is part is contained in Cervantes more refined and sophisticated Book two on Don Quixote of La Mancha. “Moreover, if I take you rightly, this book of yours is in no need of any of these things which you say it lacks, for it is all one invective against the books of chivalries, which never had Aristotle any idea of, nor did Basil mention, nor Cicero reach. [7] Nor do the niceties of truth of the calculations of astrology fall within the scope of their fabled extravagancies; nor are the dimensions of geometry concerned with them; nor does rhetoric serve for the refutation of their arguments; nor does the book pretend to preach to anyone, mingling the human with the divine, which is a kind of motley with which no Christian understanding should be stressed. All it pretends to do is to make the best of the imitation in what you would be writing, and more perfect than this is, the better will be what is written. And since this your writing aims at nothing more than to destroy the authority and influence [the order of society] which the books of chivalries have in the world and over the vulgar, [8] it is no business of yours to go begging for sentences from philosophers, maxims from Holy Writ, fables from poets, speeches from rhetoricians, miracles from saints; but only to endeavor that, simply, in words expressive, decent and well-ordered, your periods shall come out harmonious and sprightly, setting forth as far as you can attain or is possible, your intention, and expanding your ideas without being intricate or obscure. Endeavour also that, in reading your story, the melancholy [of the life of ] man shall be stirred to laughter, the merry be encouraged in his mood, the simpleton by not worried, the witty admire the invention, the sober not despise it, nor the judicious forbear from commendation. In short, let your aim be steadily fixed upon the overthrow of the evil-based fabric of these chivalric books, is this you achieve, you will have achieved no little. [9]

“It is generally a sage or an enchanter, or both, to whom is assigned the rôle of author in the romances of chivalry.  So Alquife wrote Amadis of Greece, and Friston wrote Belianis of Greece. [10]  Pellicer says of it [ dawn of the day, or a symbolical new journey (in this case a sally)] that Cervantes’ purpose was to ridicule the pomp and affection so frequent in the romances of chivalry.” Cervantes take Don Quiote of La Mancha, and his steed Rozinante south ( although Campo de Montiel ), “ Plain of Montie –( and true it was that by that way he was travelling).,” is actually the southernmost part of La Mancha, and not due west as some commentators assumed since these northern slopes of the Sierra Morena which are some sights of major drama in the book. La Mancha is a wild and bare plain during Cervantes’ day. [11] “Campo de Montiel, a plain celebrated in Spanish history as the scene of the fratricidal combat between Pedro or Castile and his bastard-brother, Enrique of Trastamara, in 1369, in which the former was slain.” [12]

Don Quixote (DQ)

Individual adventures of DQ in part I,

  1. Waterwheel
  2. Two armies
  3. Body carried to Segovia for burial,
  4. To giant Benedictines and a dispute with a Basque
  5. Adventure of the galley slaves
  6. The adventure of the Yanguesans

 Collective adventures of DQ in part I

Note, in the second half of the book, (part II) the roles change between the two main characters. Don Quixote in the end finally returns to his sanity.

The Three Path Theme: Church, the sea, and the royal house, describe the three major employment opportunities in the Spanish Realm at that time.

Cervantes’ birthplace, Alcalá de Henares: He comes from the gentry’ class, and owns a few vineyards, and some land. He is not traditionally from what one would call a knight-class, or noble class, and his lack of estate is also an indication he was not a strongman or a petty-noble in his area. Therefore, he has no prominence, rank or privilege to be considered a knight, which is ironic that he dubs himself one, all the while Cervantes demonstrates thought him that knights errant were societies problems. A case in point if arguing from this angel one needs to show a representative of a real knight’s life and not demonstrate through fabrication and actuality of society and its wrongs through make believe. . 

One will note the ad nausea citing of chivalric literature in the story-line which was purposely placed there for its message that Cervantes wanted to delineate. Many chivalric books during the previous one-hundred years in Spain stocked the shelves of bookstores, and for the most part DQ's reaction to the phychology he exibited was a response and a criticism to this literary tundra. It is perfectly clear that Cervantes was not a historian, but a social commentator; and he knew little of real life knighthood or their customs, other than, what was fictionalized and dotted with truisms, throughout these proliferated works. In essence this book creates history, and is not well suited to reality. Although, it is cited and distributed as fiction, its theme mean-spirited clocked by silliness, tends to send a serious message, that what Spain did in the past was wrong, and they should be guilty a face the limits of Empire.

Cervantes Illustrates two sides of the Spanish coin: Idealism and Realism. The main Characters of the novel Don Quixote represented his early life, and Sancho Panza represented his later life. The main theme is the limits of Imperialism which was largely based upon the trajectory of the Spanish Empire. Cervantes grew up during the apex of Spanish Imperial success, and then witness the beginning of hardship and decline, or more generally the limits of Empire. From the Catholic Monarch period to the middle of King Philips III’s reign, the Spanish peoples rose to become the largest Empire known in the world, and then to date.

The acknowledgment of limits had a mirror reflection in Cervantes. By the time Miguel de Cervantes (September 29, 1547 – April 23, 1616) was twenty years (1567) old, he was living in a time of unprecedented Spanish success. Felipe II was micromanaging the Empire well and keeping it financially on its feet. The Empire’s last foreign acquisition would come in the Pacific with the illegal, but understandable encomiendas in the Philippines. After Magellan's expedition in 1521 proved one could circumvent the earth, the Spanish colonized the Philippines in 1565. Philip, with possible reflective pressures from the episodes of Las Cases, forbade any overt force to colonize the Philippine islands. However, climate, and difficulty of task, forced the Spanish crews to adopt old measures of colonization and take slaves to help them live off the land and produce to survive, all to Philip's chagrin. Then in 1580s Spain’s luck came again and they took over all the Portuguese trade operations around the world. With this last move of the Spanish Empire, they had formed a world-wide-network and began to experience the greatest success they had known. The silk-for-silver trade with linkages from Macaw, Malacca to Manila to Mexico produced more wealth annually then shipments of raw silver and gold from the New World to the old. What did this do the Spanish in general? It does what most Empire seems to do; it split the economic classes into disparities. The rich was the minority, but the masses were mainly agrarians, peasantry, and underdeveloped. Part of this deemed a mis-management of the monarchal debts. However, not to any linkages directly that is, but circumvently, during the last one-hundred years, a proliferation of romanticized tales of knighthood plotted the literati agendas of many Spanish, and Europeans of general. Spain had risen from the ashes of obscurity directly through the foundation of the chivalric process. What was tradition was worshiped and adored, but mainly called romanticized.

As the Middle Ages were falling into a darkness of forgetfulness of their own, people in general romanticize the past and Justinian’s call from the people to end higher education because of its social negative ramifications, this perturbed Cervantes.  Miguel was a soldier, but was never rewarded from the public after returning from service – and with what these books had promised a knight ( Soldier), disillusioned the veteran. For in the past, Spanish knights became nobles, garnered land, and became rich. Cervantes, after service and after slave-hood, and after jail, he had struggled almost all of his life -- only doting a few years of mediocre financial success before he died. The books and his life gathered a stark contrast to issue he had dealt with, perceived them, rectified them, and also empirically understood about what is an empire. An errant Knight was just a mirage of a Spanish King who went out to conquer the world, in which brought positive and negative results. In book one, the less refined writing and more popular of sections, is the negativity of the empire as illustrated in Don Quiote’s embarrassing exploits. In book one, we have pity on Sancho Panza, because we treat Don Quixote as the slave-master king who always belittles his subjects, and the subjects role of loyalty as tradition in literature of the chivalric romances. When Don Quixote fails and looks ridiculous, we are instead laughing at our king or our images in our mind of kings that rule over us and think they are socially superior on every attribute in life. The beauty of Cervantes is we can be lighthearted about our ‘fateful’ predicaments and try to enjoy ourselves here in life. This type of joy explains why many silly episodes of Book one had been adapted into cartoons and children novels – appropriate for their levels of understanding.

To Don Quixote, these chivalric books were his enemy as was Spain’s past communicateed in book one.  The present was not the past, and Cervantes found it in his talent to project that realism onto the present in a way that would blanket the past and let it be covered-up and then forgotten, hopefully forever. In book two, the chivalric books became an important tautological and pedagogical tool. They inform us the role of the citizen or obedient knight and as a class of knights, their role in the security and loyalty of their state – in these cases the monarchy. In fact, Don Quixote became the rationalist and Sancho Panza plays the part of an increasingly irrational phantasist. In book two, without revealing the sophistication of hierarchal society and/or state complexes, Quixote argues for a well ordered society. In Teresa of Ávila’s case (The Lives of Teresa of Ávila, written c. 1557 - 1565), in her quasi-autobiography, the bees story and metaphorical critique upon contemporary society, reveals the same sentiment of a well ordered and discipline society – not based upon idealism, such as would be argued in Marx’s single class society, but a society filled with groups of people who know their station in life and do not complain about it or try to overthrow the impending societal structure to achieve equal-class-status. Like Miguel Cervantes’ youth, she also had become addicted to Chivalric romance novels as a youth and young adult.  Santa Teresa’s ideas were helped by Peter of Alcántara to understand the outer needs of society and individual responsibility and sacrifice – to understand one’s station in life. She was not alone in understanding that life is more complex, structured, and difficult, than idyllically resolving to “continuous social struggle” – a future Karl Marx proposition. After 1557, and gift of compunction, she had peered into the concepts of interior conversion, in which from reading chivalric literature from her days of youth and later turning to more difficult arguments of religion and society --by reading St. Augustine’s Confessions (her reading of this work c. 1556-7) she was able to understand the difficult and complex of individual and the societies demands and struggles with basic concepts of life.

First, they had understood that none of this would have come about if it wasn’t for the chivalric projects of the middle ages that projected them in this trajectory to world dominance. This was an understanding Cervantes grew up with, acknowledged, and saw a social change in understanding tradition. Second, they people’s temporal will to conquer changed. A group of Spanish conquistadors headed to the Pacific went about dreaming of the land of China. Jesuits had lived and learnt some geographical and demographical data upon China, and enquired to what extend the Chinese people had populated the continent.  These Iberian men grew hungry for the chivalric conquest, spurred on by rumors of gold, jewels, wealth and untold riches which had wetted their pallets for treasure. When they reached the Philippines, they were dismayed that they had not found any riches. In addition, the Philippines exemplified a difficult terrain in which to conquer with all of its mazelike islands, difficult climates and, Spanish royal explorer parties were a vast distance from home. These men wrote back to the New Spain’s (Mexico) council and the first people to pick up the letters and read their request to conquer China were these Jesuits (before the viceroy got to them), who had been in China and knew what was there and what was not. They said “no way could one think we could take over China; they have millions upon millions of people, the land is vast, and the task is too difficult.” But the underlying theme here is that this first request to not venture out and conquers lands was a sign of things to come. It was a sign of the limits of Empire. Miguel Cervantes treats this topic heavily in his book Don Quixote. It would take 25,000 men, and 250 ships to make the operation plausible, and with the mentioned monarchal financial restructuring ( See my other pages of Spain), the money was not there to make this venture happen. This ran along the same rhetorical line as the next King’s reign.

Felipe III (April 14, 1578 – March 31, 1621) between 1590s to the 1610s witnessed a social notion of “we can hardly maintain what we have” sweep across the political catacombs of Spanish society. These interior attitude changes affected the exterior reality of tradition Teresa of Ávila, and Miguel Cervantes are dealing with the same issues as the Spanish monarchy. Both are doing their Spanish citizen duty to try to understand inner and outer socio-political-economic state structure.  Spanish military always, at least since mentioned as issue in Cervantes, was a stable job or a goal to achieve for youth employment in Spanish contemporary society. Now the military was regulated to management and non-conquest programs. Much of this change came from the revealing of Bartolomé de Las Cases inaccurate new world recordings of Iberian expansion projects, and the dark-legend or dark-myths which Spain’s European enemies constructed to usurp new world positions for their empire projects.  During the early years of Cervantes he had military things to do. He chose the military as an option for employment.  He enlisted to join the military for the famed Lapanto battle 1571, and surely he would have recited El Cid, or made a call to his sprit before the battle. The chivalric age was still in full swing under Philip II’s reign. After the first Christian victory again the Ottoman Turks, Cervantes was set to go home as an honorary hero like anyone who had appeared at that battle and understood their reward from the chivalric romance novels. In addition he had hurt his hand which would remain limp for the rest of his life, making a nice talking piece of remembrance of a great historical event, at least from the Christian point of view.  But upon his return to Spain, a board a ship in the Mediterranean, he was seized by Muslim terrorists slave-traders 1574, and taken away and held for ransom.  This was commonplace then (both sides Christians and Muslims had engaged in this practice of history in the Mediterranean, see Price Henry the Navigator). Prior to this he had still maintained on active military duty showing up at the battles of Navarino in October 7, 1572, against the Muslims; the capture of Tunis, October 10, 1573; and in the unsuccessful expedition to the relief of La Goletta in the autumn of 1574. He had a family, but they didn’t seem to respond for five or six years. Usually a terrorist courier would go into a major town and post a bulletin on who they had captured as slaves and post the price to free them. Eventually, Cervantes’ family with great difficulty and financial ruin, sold their properties, sold their belongings, went into debt and, free him from Muslim slavery. The prices were always high. One can ask the question of what this meant to Cervantes and how did it change him, or did this peculiar episode matter to him in his change? He had performed his patriotism, but what was the cost of the empire in Don Quixote? When Cervantes came home to the mainland of Europe, he did not receive a warm hero’ welcoming of the likes described in the Chivalric romance novels. The Battle of Lapanto turned out not to be an ottoman turning point, but just another battle in a long protracted war against Islam and Christianity which would last for centuries. Cervantes asked himself, what was it all about? One needs to understand that while both Europe and the Ottoman state warred for centuries, even during battles, they had continued to trade goods and services. These programs are a part of surviving in the real world for the betterment and general good of each state’s common populace. It also confuses passionate emotions that are remembered during battle for each respected side. Cervantes’ psyche surely had to contend with this paradoxes problem. His cure was to look at the world and laugh and ridicule its unfriendly reality. States’ often war over minuet defined ideologies, yet conduct positive businesses between them to make life more comfortable for their citizenry and for the survival of their economies which are linked to their ideologies. In order to come to grips with these difficult realities, Don Quixote, looks at the world through rose-colored-glasses, and sees invisible things for his own amusement and capability. We are placed upon this earth by nature, and it is absurd, therefore, laughing is a remedy to continual hardship, pain, and suffering of this cruel world.

If Cervantes had not been captured by the Muslim Terrorists, he would have been welcomed home a hero. He may never have constructed his masterpiece novel.  But he spent five-to-six years in North African slave-camps. This vacillating luck of Cervantes’ life is the only possibly of how we deal with his Don Quixote character’s madness. When he got out of the camps and back to Spain, Lapanto was long forgotten, and he was just another in a long line of veterans’, injured in battle, and now the economy was different, citizen moods had changed, and he was looking for answers to what it all meant. He went into hardship, lived in poverty, and struggled extremely hard to improve his lot. He sought solace at the edge of a pen and refused a twinkle for ironic laughter. The world meant nothing, but it needed a remedy -- to laugh at itself. Don Quiote fulfilled that need, and then some.

We do not know about Cervante’s formal literary training, and or what education he seemed to have.  We know that in 1569 he had some formal training by a Cardinal of Rome, of whom he was employed as a courtier at his residence. This was because when he was younger he became involved in a dispute that lead to a dual, and it was next to a royal building which was out-of-bounds in jurisdiction, which meant the crime was severe enough that he would loose his hand as a punishment so he escaped to Italy to wait out the time it takes for the legal system to drop the case. He was a son of a barber, and we know this by his correspondence, but we do not know if he was a noble or came from peasantry. People have made enquiries of names in the registers to find links to his past, most notably the biographers, but we do not know of his youth. He probably went to Valladolid or Madrid for elementary schooling, or was tutored by a Jesuit. He marries a woman, who did like the fact that he thought about becoming a writer. She didn’t believe that was the life for them, at least financially speaking. She bickered and pleaded and so the domestic situation was somewhat tense.

The first part was published in 1605 and the second in 1615. It is one of the earliest written novels in a modern European language and is arguably the most influential and emblematic work in the canon of Spanish literature.

He sets out to fight injustice in the name of his beloved maiden Aldonsa, or as he knows her in his mind, Dulcinea del Toboso. He takes along his squire, Sancho Panza.

His quest defined to destroy injustice brought on by society that mythically had created the social foundations of society, his madness brought upon by endless reading of chivalry books, and living in a fantasy world, Don Quixote achieves errant knight fame. He leads a crazy philanthropy lifestyle.

Don Quixote spent time of leisure reading chivalry books, and forsook his estate. The first critique here is that constant study of the ways to a correct society reaps slothfulness and disregard to priority. He sold arable land to buy books, and favored Feliciano de Silva books, because of the clarity of his prose, and complexity of his language. He read from dusk-till-dawn, and every day. Cervantes makes this character lose his mind over this idea of endless reading, and in company of living in this fantasy life he anti-hero delves into the realm of irrationality. But the story doesn’t end because the fantasy life becomes real as this character decides on a path of an knight errant, of the likes he read and to go about to honor his nation in subduing injustice, ending wrongs, winning eternal renown and everlasting fame. He named his horse after legends of great knightly procedure’s called Rocinante, but was in fact a dilapidated horse, and he renames himself in the same fashion, Don Quixote of La Mancha.  Then one morning, he  sets out to find someone to knight him, as he cannot do the favor himself, according to rules, and his journey begins. Most of the “main theater of the exploits” takes place in the southeastern portion of La Mancha, “bordering on the ancient province of Murcia.” [13]

He travels all day and is hungry and finds a inn, and gets laughed at for his appearance in full knightly outfit. He speaks the language of the medieval knights and people cannot understand him until he speaks normal. He stands guard over his armor and two swine herders moved his great and he beat them over the head with his lance cracking one of them so hard it fractured the poor man’s skull into three sections.

When the innkeeper shouted for the swineherders’s friends  to stop throwing rocks at Don Quixote, he shows that in this age mental illness was not punishable by death. (33)

The two ladies at the inn, Molinera, the miller’s girl, and Tolosa, daughter of a cobbler.

He gets the ceremony ( order of chivalry)  of the innkeeper to grant him knighthood after endless pleading and the bizarre episodes, and he then takes off again, and finds a servant,  called Andrés,  being whipped by a peasant farmer, and decides to stop the beating with intervention. He doesn’t have money to pay the boy’s delinquency, and the master accused the boy of lies and is a muddled mess. “It was considered insulting to call someone a liar in front of others without first begging their pardon”.  (36 foot). Don Quixote calls out this to the peasant master, and to force him to pay nine-months of back wages. The boy doesn’t want to return with the farmer back to his house to receive the payment, he is scared. Don Q, calls the peasant a knight and the boy protests, saying he is Juan Haldudo the rich man, and he lives in Quintanar. Don Q. says that is no consequence, there can be knights of Haldudos, “especially sense each man is a child of his deeds.” (37). Don Q. will take off and threaten to come back if the farmer doesn’t follow his promise to pay the servant. “the righter of wrongs” as Don Q. called himself got on his horse and left, and the farmer retied the boy to the tree and almost beat him to death. The farmer laughed and let him go in search of Don Q. Beliving himself that he righted a wrong, Don. Q. was happy. He is full of himself, and delirious as to what is really happening in the world. He obviously let the boy down and caused a greater punishment at the hands of the brutish farmer.

Next he passes a merchant troop on the way from Toledo on their way to Mercia to buy silk. There were six of them. Don Q. imagines things which lead his actions. It’s almost like dementia, or a modern mental disease. For his books he relives episodes that appears similar to the ones he encounters. It is like the book is now living in his perception of reality. He imagines these were knights and he prepares for battle. He demands they confess to some princess, one he made up, and they knowing his madness asked him to prove she existed, but he retorted that they must “virtuous” and “confess the obvious truth,” […] if not, you must do battle with me, audacious and arrogant people. “(39).

The men try to reason with him, but he turns and charges them with lance and horse, but the horse trips, fortunate for him, and his ancient armor was too heavy for him to get up and he keeps baiting the men to not leave and fight. One of the merchants, a muledriver, came over and took his lance and broke it into pieces and beat him to a pulp, then they rest left when he tired of beating him. He couldn’t stand so in his madness, when about reciting ballads and thinking of similar situations of knights felled in the battlefield.

Soon a neighbor of his passed by, he thought it was Marquis of Mantua, his uncle, but the farmer stood there as he kept reciting a ballad. The farmer neighbor took off his headgrear, wiped his face, and recognized him. He called him Señor Quijana. With great difficulty, the farmer put Don Q., who didn’t stop recanting ballads on his donkey, “Because he thought it a steadier mount.” (42) Pedro Alonzo, the farmer’s name was called by Don Q., Don Rodrigo de Narváez or the Marquis of Mantua, for he was mad, and continued to live in a dreamlike state.

Señor Licentiate Pero Pérez, Don Q., priest who is at his house upon his return.

The barbar’s name was Master Nicolás.

After putting Don Q. to bed, the next day the Priest and the barber when to destroy the books. They got the keys from the maidservant and found 100 nicely bound books in DQ’s library. Instead of taking all the books and throwing out the window, gathering them up, then taking them to the coral to burn them, they first read each title, and got into some commentary, which is ironic because it stimulated conversations of the topics DQ was afflicted with. Both the Priest and the barber keep some books they had known and read, and tell the maid to throw out the rest of the big books. Then there were only small books and the priest picked up one and it was about poetry, so he left them assuming they were all poetry books. Then searching more, both pick up the book La Galatea, by Miguel de Cervantes.

Then the a description of Cervantes literary character is discussed, “ His book has a certain creativity; it proposes something and concludes nothing. We will have to wait for the second part he has promised; perhaps with that addition it will achieve the mercy denied to it now; in the meantime, keep it locked away in your house, my friend.” (52). Apparently the priest knew Cervantes personally. Next the two talk of three major works that were written originally in Castilian, and they surmise these will out do prestige to the Italian books, and foster Spain’s literary prominence. Both took it upon themselves to save the Spanish books and not burn them. They rest they decided should be burned.

They walled up the books, and said by removing the cause they possible could remove the effects. (54). After two days DQ seeks his books, and asks the housekeeper. The housekeeper had been told to deny that a library with the books ever existed, or that the devil took them away. Two weeks he stayed at home and conversed with the other two and DQ told how the world need knight errant’s, and that in him chivalry would be reborn.  DQ promised to take the Sancho with him on journeys and to offer him governorship on some island mentioned in the knight tales. Then DQ sold things and acquired a considerable amount of money, and left.

Then he takes a squire named Sancho, (Sancho Panza) riding on a donkey with him. Both Panza and DQ snuck out without taking into account of each their family or house affairs.

Sancho and DQ livly conversations fit as friendship. But, Sancho puts down DQ’s wife (Mari Gutiérres, just one of her names) when they are speaking about their rewards in fantasy land.

The com up upon a set of 30 windmills and DQ says they are giants, “I intend to do battle.” DQ says. (58). Sancho tried to reason with his madness but to no avail, and DQ and Rocinante are picked up by one of the arms of the windmill and thrown down and hurt, and his lance shattered. After this misadventure, they set off to Puerto Lápice.

Cervantes put it, “DQ could not help laughing at his squire’s simplemindedness.”( 60) This is disturbing because it shows that a madman is more in tune with contemporary going-ons than a sane man. The work makes fun of chivalry, in the character of DQ who mimics their lifestyle, but all the while contemplating what he has read to what he experiences in madness. Knights do not carry money? Knights have sleepless nights and think all the time about their ladies and invoke their names in battle. These and other things are as a mocking of chivalry and not champion of it. The appeal of the book is the laugh factory element. It is almost sad and unbelievable, and comic relief at the expense of tradition is what is at stake. If a knight was moral, this mockery takes place of a critical analysis of its worth. Were knights nothing more than mental illness individuals? Here entertainment is used to cover a critique of chivalry. The almost annalistic, life doesn’t matter approach, is taken into account here. There is somewhat a bit of unconscious writing, which may have its appeal in the ease and flow of its prose. What does make sense, or where is the story headed? What is the point? There is none so far.

DQ keeps addressing the ‘laws of Chivalry.’ Some how mental illness takes the form of authority on something as sacred as chivalric knight, and the message is taught with underworld motive, just as the famous ill irrupted inns were revealed for one’s knowledge.  When Michael Foucault praises the book as a big changer in history, you know something is wrong with its construction on history. On the base level the book can be an afternoon diversion from the mundane, but with an anti-academic approach, a comicology inspiration; although Cervantes writers clear and well.  This is why American author Barry Gifford described "Don Quixote" as "the first Beat novel."

The tie in with the Chivalric knight is that they were a part of society to help out injustice, according to Cervantes tie-in to the madness characteristic of the protagonist. This is not based in fact. Knights were patriots for their states or provinces, their masters or lords, and fought for many reasons: for their masters, sometimes wealth, sometimes fame, sometimes protection from another enemy,  and other times in the name of religion to champion a civilization. However, they were managers, administrators and people with considerable responsibility; the silliness of Cervantes’ character shows none of these attributes or motives, but the silly claim of ‘righting the wrongs’ with making other people’s situations worse, injuring them and ruining their lives is the construction that Foucault understood so well. Humans create intuitions to help us, but end up hurting us further – making us sicker than we were before we entered the institution. Part of the definition of civilization is that it needs to contain an institution, usually in the plural.  

By juxtaposing an errant-knight over real life chivalric knights, Cervantes is blurring the line between respectability and irresponsibility. DQ endlessly refers to decision he makes from biographies of real life chivalric knights, and this is done to make it appear as his legitimate claim to chivalry himself can be a self disciplining effort without group impute or society measure of regulation. Don Quixote is a true liberal (that is to say a individualist).  But, he is far from interpreting the real biographies. Rather to the confusion of his fantasies, he plays out in real life his perception of these books which lend to rather surface browsing and non-scholastic critical thinking. In part one, this is accomplished, but in part two these scholastic critical thinking moments arrive surprisingly.  This is subtle enough to trick most interpreters of this genre into thinking nothing more than a playful respite of retelling of historical significance. Without knowing of the deeds the hardship and the dedication of real life chivalric warrior’s one can get a false sense of who they were in this tale of DQ and this is the motive of the piece. Its outward intent is to make one laugh, but its deeper meaning is a critique on chivalric history itself.

Cervantes Writes, “ “This thought left me discontented and longing to know, really and truly and in its entirety, the life and miracles of our famous Spaniard Don Quixote of La Mancha the model and paragon of Manchegan chivalry, and the first in our age and in these calamitous times to take up the exercise and profession of chivalric arms, righting wrongs, defending widows, and protecting those maidens who rode, with whips and palfreys, and bearing all their virginity on their backs, from mountain to mountain and valley to valley; unless some villain, or some farmer with hatchet and pitchfork, or some enormous giant forced her, a maiden could, in days of yore, after eighty years of never once sleeping under a roof, go to her grave as pure as the day her mother bore her.” (66) This tells us Cervantes didn’t know ancient histories of what the term virgin meant. It had nothing to do with being chase, but being regarded as high-status, and was understood in the middle ages of this context, as well as its origins in the Ancient world. Certainly Cervantes did have the knowledge we poses to day, but we also see his condensation onto the tapestry of history.  

When the work fist came out it was considered a comic, but a 100 years later, a new look showed a sad portrait of Spain and wells as Europe as a collective puss-hole, while people were considered good and the state bad, citing the French Revolution period. In the 19th century, it morphed into a social critique, not citing its underlying themes here. By the 20th century it became (one of) the first modern works.

Another part of the praise for this work came from the demographic period episodes in the work. What was Spain at this time? Bad people were all around, thieves, ill-reputes, and people of the underworld.

The battle of the Basque and DQ is abruptly stopped, like a modern TV cliffhanger. The author cannot, apparently make up his mind how to get his anti- hero out of this episode, so he postulates in the first person. The next chapter finds him searching for the lost chapter in the streets of Alcaná market in Toledo, where he meets a (Morisco) boy who has a Muslim plagiarized copy of Don Quixote. He giddies himself how he gypt the boy who could have received more money from him for the copy and then goes to get it translated by offering food to an Arab translator who translates the Arab plagiarized work. He Cervantes is making fun of the intelligence of the Moors and desperation for them to get work. Cervantes says, “If any objection can be raised regarding the truth of this one, it can only be that its author was Arabic, since the people of that nation are very prone to telling falsehoods […].” (68) Here Cervantes doesn’t hide his objective. The eloquence is surely lacking if he wanted to deride a racial group. It is harder to fathom, that right after he says this, he states, “since historians must and ought to be exact, truthful, and absolutely free of passion, for neither interest, fear, rancor, nor affection should make them deviate form the path of truth.” (68) Yet, Cervantes is bravado enough to admit the obvious, or at least could be; he goes on “[…] in the most pleasant history, and if something of value is missing from it, in my opinion the fault lies with the dog who was its author rather than with any defect in its subject.” (69) Does Cervantes speak of himself, or the Arab author o the plagiarized version of his work? From here, he goes on to read the translated part II.

After DQ defeats and inures the Basque man and make him promise to visit his damsel and protracted his body in front of her of who gallant DQ is, Sancho seems to go into a role of the idiot and falls to his knees and kisses DQ’s hand asking if his ínsulas was granted at this battle. DQ playing his part of never ending fantasy maker states that this was no real challenge and soon a better on will arise and he could be honor with more than just a governorship on an island. DQ without following up on his demands just rides off and Sancho follows on his donkey. In more mockery of a chivalric knight, Sancho warns about going to a certain church where the authorities ( holy brotherhoods, the country police force in Spain focusing on outlawed bandits)  might take them to jail. DQ continued reliance on fantasy of historic facts states, “Where have you ever seen or read that a knight errant has been brought before the law no matter how many homicides he may have committed?” (71). “ I do not know anything about omecils,” replied Sancho. Here Sancho confuses homicides (“Homicides”) and omecillos ( “grudges”) (71). DQ keeps refereeing to what he has read in history and making commentary for his own actions using what he interprets from what he has read to what is law and order, or the right. What is Cervantes saying about this anecdotal storyline? Sancho confesses that he has never read any history, and therefore, this of course, gives more power to the madman. DQ received wounds, and here he makes a statement to Sancho on the fear of death. “ the recipe [ ointment for relaxing wounds] for which I have memorized, and with it one need not fear death, nor think that one will die of any wound […]”(72). He goes on to make light of missing body parts, but withal seriousness of a madman, but we understand in his madness death is nor a fear for DQ. The shenanigans continue with Sancho believing DQ’s words that this recipe can cure all ailments and wounds. He pleads by renouncing his potential gift of governance of the ínsula DQ had promised for the secrets of the recipe. “ Be quiet DQ tells Sancho every time he has no answer or he know Sancho knows he has lied or is making things up. That is to say if this persona of madman consciously knows his own madness. What is Cervantes telling us here?

Cervantes calls Astrology a science during a conversation with Sancho during the goatherds and shepherds episode. During this episode DQ appears in his right mind and very astute, scholarly and intelligent. After a good conversation, the another one began which led to the shepherds and goatherds to realize DQ was off his rocker. When they ask why he is dressed the way he is, that is with old knight armor, and scraps of metal he med up to fit into a knights errant costume, he replies some attributes of his profession.  “My profession doesn’t allow or permit me to go about in any other way. Tranquility, luxury, and repose were invented for pampered courtiers, but travail, tribulation, and arms were invented and created only for those whom the world calls knights errant, and I, although unworthy, am the least of that number.” (87). Stereotypes litter the composition from start to finish, and one wonders why the Beats loved this work. “ One cannot be a knight errant without a lady,” “[…] every knight errant has to be in love.” (90).

Next, the two come up on the Yangusans in the countryside and both are beaten for their usually involvement. Then Sancho asks DQ for permission not to fight anymore, in which DQ, again reverts to his madmind, spellbounds us with a diatribe on a reality that some knights’ paths were the ways that actually real people in history became took to become nobles. El Cid is replete with this evidence, Cervantes had understood many royal houses that stood in noble rank in his time had come from knight’s services from that period. The discussion focuses upon pain and suffering of this lifestyle, or the beatings Sancho had been taking, but at any moment, luck can turn around one’s destiny and one can get into a relationship with a king or a prince, fight for them, and receive a noble title. This is a remarkable fact in history and a point of contention with Cervantes’s theme of Book One. One of the only ways in history of becoming an aristocrat was to fight for a king or a leader and conquer lands and receive titles and lands as gifts, then pass them on to your children and family.  (104) However, Cervantes understood the paradox, and this could led to mini-imperialism ( a type of local conquest or regional conquest).

The ewes and rams episode highlights the extreme madness and ridiculousness of the text in regards to states in battles over imperialism. Two flocks driven by their respected humans come to meet each other on a country road while each group is kicking up dust; this causes DQ to think they are armies coming to battle each other, and to the protests of Sancho. A reference to DQ is absorbed in his “lying books”, comes another theme of discontent to the past. (129). So one side is Emperor Alifanfarón, lord of the great Ínsula Trapobane ( Greek and Roman word for Sri lanka)  and the other side is King of Garamentes, Pentapolín. He approaches the men, attacks the men, tending the animal groups and speaks ludicrous things, and they pelt him with stones and break-off many of his teeth. Then later on his appearance is a factor in a new identity for him, given by Sancho, the Knight of the Sorrowful Face.

Soon the book becomes monotonous, repetitive and sad. The humor gets old and DQ lives out his fantasies through imagined adventures from these books, and places himself into real life situations in which are the butts of the jokes. We laugh at the misery.  He is on the wrong side of the law, again the king as demonstrated with the galley episode. After the ewes and rams episode, he attacks a group of twelve Priests, threatens licentiate Alonzo Lopes, wounding him for life and Sancho rob’s them and they escape into the mountains. By now the joke has gone too far and Don Quixote and Sancho Panza are outlaws, and this is in strike opposition of a good knight in many chivalric takes – the persona DQ emulates. Beats and opponents of nationalism take this book as clarion to how unsafe military life or path can be on a society. To their view, military life is full of Don Quixotes. DQ even deludes himself that he is the chosen one, the redeemer of mankind, and finally DQ beats up Sancho, and tells him that his escapes are not a joke, and he is serious – demonstrated that military men reach states of fits where consciousness precludes rational judgment. DQ tells Sancho he was “a gentlemen of known lineage, with proprietary rights to an ancestral home, and entitled to a payment of five hundred sueldos.  Under certain circumstances, it was a privilege of the gentry to collect five hundred sueldos as recompense for damages or injuries.” (160). Speaking of the galley-prisoners episode, the king’s prisoners that is a topic of liberalism that arises to accompany the right of force. In this episode, DQ attacks the guard and frees the prisoners, because he personally didn’t see the criminals do the crimes. “[…] people forced by the king to the galleys.” “ Is it possible the king forces anyone,” DQ asks? “ For whatever reason, these people are being taken by force and not of their free will.” This blends into a topic of liberalism, as defined in this age of meaning freedom of one’s personal choices and the failure of the judicial system of Spain. So DQ believes these people are being wronged in that they are being forced against their will. The liberalism argument is directly tied to theology on free-will and personal choice.  This is why the book becomes tired and sad. One can see the leftwing radicals make the same argument. Thomas More’s Utopia had the same argument for petty criminals. They should do not time in prison or receive capital punishment. More argues that the threat of punishment forces criminals to be more dangerous in society.  Why punish criminals, it was society that made them the way they are in any historical age. Cervantes highlights these punishments one by one by DQ asking each person of the chain-gang what why were they there? Each would tell their side of the story, and the punishments, of whipping, torture, shamed in public and all accompanied by galley service. Here Cervantes protests these sentences in this illustration of his disillusionment with the Spanish Criminal system. These passages were a study of punishments of Spain, and the Spanish jurisprudence that accompanied the conversations. One prisoner complains her was in for multiple incest partners, and this was no crime to him. Another gem of a quote and a truism was that one of the prisoners discusses a novel of his life, he is writing in between galley duty in prison. When this conversation blossoms Lazarillo de Tormes comes up and many books of this brand new genre seek redress, in which this book I surely express is in the same group. In the discussion the work called The Life of Ginés de Pasamonte, comes up, the  prisoner speaks of his biography with DQ. In the book a famous quote come up, Cervantes surely wanted to add this as it applied to his own life:  “Misfortunes always pursues the talented,” Gines de Pasamonte had replied. This tells us of how hardship often accompanies great works of art, but here a prisoner and/or a criminal is the model used as the example of the great artist. It is a fact that Cervantes spent time in jail for embezzlement, and another spat of time in jail  that possible was non-related and not his fault, but he had been punished by the state. However, he was not free from criminal behavior and the mark of injustice stuck with him, even unto today of his biograghies. Back to the topic of liberalism. DQ says “each man must bear his own sin,” DQ said as he is refereeing to no law can restrict a man ( these men) from freedom. Criminals shouldn’t be punished by a man, only God punishes men. This was a swipe at religious institutions involvement in secular law. Apparently civil law and religion were not well regarded by Cervantes or of the Picaresque writers. A type of anarchism represented the totality of liberalism, although the concept is absent from the text. DQ tells the guards to free them or he will fight them, in which he thrusts his javelin into one of them. After, Sancho freed the bully, and the guards run saving the anti-hero’s life once again, DQ demands each of the freed prisoners that they must go to prostrate themselves in front of his lady to which the prisoners beat him and flee.

“Misfortunes always pursues the talented,” Gines De Pasamonte.

Sancho spills the beans, as they say, and sequels to everyone that DQ had feed the galley-slaves, and the Priest & barber heared it and, then, DQ stated the following: “ Imbecile, it is not the responsibility or concern of a knight errant to determine if the afflicted, the fettered and the oppressed, whom he meets along the road are in that condition and suffering that anguish because of misdeeds or kind acts. His only obligation is to help them because they are in need, turning his eyes to their suffering and not their wickedness.” (150). Here Cervantes ridiculously raises the issue that chivalric practices care little in discrimination of their actions, and they only wanted to help the afflicted without reasoning on how dangerous or criminal-like one might have been or is or will be in the society. Here, need out weighs logic, and rationalism is downplayed for irrationalism.   How will society function if we free every criminal from jail?

Sierra Morena

When Sancho Panza and DQ fled the place where they freed the King’s criminals, they hid in the Sierra Morena Mountains. The characters are, Dorotea, Cardino, Priest and barber, Sancho and DQ, and returning the innkeeper Maritornes, his daughter, his wife and the inn. The story figures around a figure who rich named Don Fernando, who both Dorotea and Cardino have him as a central cause for their unhappiness.

The story of Cadino  

Sierra Mountain episode is a fantastic diversion from focusing wholly of the ridiculous DQ and his mad antics. Here, I see, M. Cervantes true talent and skill with the pen reveals his brilliance and competition with Shakespeare. Although, some people criticized his interpolation of different threads of events and storylines, I found my mind relived from the monotonous silliness of DQ fighting phantoms and things in his mind as the main thread of the story. Among the normal Spanish sheepherder roaming the south of Spain, two unique characters, of Cardino and Dorotea enter the story in the Mountains of the Sierras, albeit, wildly and fantastically innovating. What did they represent in Spain at this time?

Sancho is defined as an idiot and greedy. He believes all the promises of inheriting a kingdom, or a governorship given by DQ once he attains lands for great deeds in service of royalty. In the narrative, Sancho Panza interest are always a part of the discussion.  Instead of an actual side-kick champion his master or hero, Sancho plays a duel role of side-kick and an employee working toward payment in the future. When the Priest, the barber devise a plan to get DQ out of doing penance in the mountains, they use the townswomen, Dorotea to act like a princess asking for  boon from DQ in which means he will follower out of the mountains. DQ will believe he will be granted a king or some land, and this way he will pay his promised dues to Sancho at the same time, who had lost his donkey to Gines ( First edition, not in the next edition)  From there the plan it to get DQ to some help for his madness, in which is the Priest and the barber’s goal.

Right after the galley incident, Gines and others take out their frustration of the person that freed them, and beat up DQ and Sancho. In DQ’s remarks, he tells Sancho. “ doing good to the lowborn is throwing water into the sea.”  (173). Here what does this say about Spanish high-born people? What were their attitudes toward the lowborn? Did they not want to help them because they were ungrateful? After this episode they escape, possibly because of the searching of the Holy Brotherhood, into the mountains where nobody will find them. Sancho finds a travelers bag and opens it and there is 100 golden escudos. DQ said he can keep them and right then Sancho wants to call off his accepted mission of becoming some governor of some kingdom and go home to his wife and kids. Apparently the find satisfied his greedy appetite. All of the sudden they see a wild-man jumping crag after crag and they lose conversation and go and try to find him. This will end up to be a scorned lover, and then a different outcome to the story turns it into a sad story. This character is a townsman named Cardino.  When Cardino is found by the two, they ask for his story. After recounting a women he wanted to marry and how this episode sadly turns out he tells us he was a coward, in which the story eludes too. In this observation the cowardly act, he concludes, turned him into the madmad he was when they found him living like a primitive in the mountains unwilling to go home and face the shame for his cowardly act. What does this say about madness in general and Cervantes’ character DQ, how is his madness different in this regards. Did DQ allude to a cowardly act that made him the way he was?

He states another rambling of whit’s to his appearance in character when he states his life follows that of one of the characters in the crazy books. “ have I not told you already [ speaking to Sancho],” responded DQ, “that I wish to imitate Amadís, playing the part of one who is desperate, a fool, a madman, thereby imitating as well the valiant Don Roland when he discovered in a fountain the signs that Angelicia the Fair had committed base acts with Dedoro, and his grief drove him mad, and he uprooted the trees, befouled the waters of clear fountains, killed shepherds, destroyed livestock, burned huts, demolished houses, pulled down mares, and did a hundred thousand other unheard-of things worth of eternal renown and record.” It is here that I claim the limits of empire rest upon the guilt of empire alone. All these things hearken back to Las Cases, and his recounting of the conquistadores adventures in the new world, where they literally didn’t care about human beings or the environment and went around doing whatever their hearts desire, however black that was in retrospect.

 windmills and Social Critiques

Concluded historian Cide Hamante Benagali. Who is this?

Cervantes Illustrates two sides of the Spanish coin: Idealism and Realism. Part one of his book, “Don Quixote of La Mancha,” Cervantes shows the reader a character, Don Quixote, living in an idealized and fictional world on one hand and his partner, Sancho’s living in natural world of everyday reality. When the two come up upon a system of windmills, Don Quixote believes they are knights in which he has to battle to prove his devotion to his love of his life Dulcinea del Toboso. Sancho assists that they are only windmills.

In Don Quixote, Cervantes illustrates themes of an internal reflection on the Spanish society. The Adventure of the galley slaves is a critique on the Spanish criminal system. The ewes and rams episode demonstrates the uselessness of war and apocrypha, and apparently the theme of the sorrowful face (way). The attack on the Yangusans in the countryside illustrates the history of knights and how that career had been the mechanism to becoming nobles in society.

A body carried to Segovia for burial by Priests shows how Chivalric knights can make bad judgments while trying to do good for society – the soldier’s dominance over the clergy, indicating war favored over peace. The Whipping of Andrés by his delinquent master, demonstrates the harshness of society’s work environment and how knightly class do not finish what they started, as Don Quixote  left and the master whipped the boy harder. The interpolated novel The Man Who Was Recklessly Curious illustrates one’s need to be careful when doing favors for a friends and the image of female countenance.

Part two becomes more complex as the world becomes a stage and roles seem to reverse. Don Quixote show periods of sanity and his reasoning becomes rational and brilliant, while Sancho further dissolves into his fantasy role of dreaming of becoming a governor of a great island with great administrative power. Sancho  gets tricked by some nobles and they set up a false village in order to make him believe he had received his governorship, and they play some mean tricks on him. This shows the delusion of a person’s pursuit on money, or the lengths they will go to believe others in society, as well as a negative reflection on how the aristocracy treated the commoner.  Alcaná market in Toledo, where he meets a (Morisco) boy who has a Muslim plagiarized copy of Don Quixote represents that plagiarism existed as a societal problem, even though their were no laws back then for it.

Don Diego, the wagon actors, contains many themes. One a discussion on why to be a knight, has a theme that mirrors an education’s role on the Spanish. It demonstrates that education was too conservative in society. The mentioning of jurists, physicians, the study of mathematics and theologians needed to be liberated to progress civilization and open up the intellect. Also, the hardship of the student is principle poverty in the Universities. In addition, observed in another section are two villages warring against each other demonstrating divide in Spanish unity. The Captive is another interpolated novel and some believe it mirrors’ Cervantes’ captivity in a North African slave camp. The three Spanish career path themes begin the tale of a father dividing up his inheritance as long as his children promise to pursuer careers in the Church, the government or the ocean. Cervantes illustrates themes that in part should be looked at carefully to observe an inner reflection to feelings during his years in the military service, the battles and his captivity. Theme the Letter vs. Armor: In the middle Ages the second most discussed topic was which had more influence on life, military or force or education, writing and learning. The first most discussed topic was the Golden Age. Over all obvious themes are food and money and the lack thereof. In the end Sancho goes home to his wife, and Don Quixote returns to his good self and says he will never read anymore of these Chivalric novels.

Theme the Letter vs. Armor.

In the middle Ages the second most discussed topic was which had more influence on life, military or force or education, writing and learning. The first most discussed topic was the Golden Age.

Priest says, “ God tends to favor the virtuous desires of the simple man and confounded the wicked intentions of the intelligent.” (431). “ I certainly believe that, “ said the Priest, “for I already know from experience that mountains breed learned men and shepherds’ huts house philosophers.” (432)  Reiterated DQ says he is guided by the examples of Amadís of Gaul, who made his squire a count of an ínsula.

DQ favors arms, of course, and he gives some good examples of their necessity. Force is vital to keeping a society calm and functioning; however, Cervantes may be thinking that force or arms are not the way to a society he favors, ones, of course, without hero books and entertainment’s usage of fiction.

(432) Shepherd philosophers.

Next is part of Cervantes Interpolated novels into the text of DQ.

The Three Path Theme: Church, the sea, and the royal house

The story of the León father, three sons who receive their inheritance, and the father gives the terms that they must commit to a profession, so they will have stability later on in their lives. This story is recounted by the Captive, Ruy Peréz de Viedma, and when in the course of events, his brother shows up, juan Peréz de Viedma, and sixteen year-old sister Dona Peréz de Viedma. Ruy escape from a Christian Slave camp in north Africa, with the help of Agi Morto’s daughter Zoraida, who thanks Lela Marién for her Christianity.  Zoraida who appears with Ruy at the inn, have came after the made a bizarre escape and journey from the Islamic strongholds. Cervantes uses real names, but the fiction becomes the story plot. However, much of this story centers on a loose fitting thread of the biography of Cervantes. Therefore, the themes in this part should be looked carefully at to observe an inner reflection to feelings during his years in the military service, the battles and his captivity. Arnaúte Mami, a pirate who captures Cervantes taking him to six years of slavery, is mentioned in the story as a friend to the Captive, the loosely threaded character of Cervantes. The Captive begins his story when he was a child growing up in León, and his father decides to divide up the house’s inheritance, and give the boys directions for their lives.  

“There is a proverb in our Spain, one that I think is very true, as they all are, for they are brief maxims then long ago, judicious experience; the one that I have in mind says” The Church, the sea, or the royal house”; in other words, whoever whishes to be successful and wealthy should enter the Church, or go to sea as a merchant, or enter the services of kings in their courts, for, as they say: “Better the king’s crumbs than the noble lord’s favors.”

[1] Saavedera, Miguel de Cervantes, The Ingenious Gentleman, Don Quixote of La Mancha, in English, notes, original and selected, Henry Edwards Watts (London: Bernard Quaritch, 15 Piccadilly, 1888), p. 7., notes 2-3.

[2] Saavedera, Miguel de Cervantes, The Ingenious Gentleman, Don Quixote of La Mancha, in English, notes, original and selected, Henry Edwards Watts (London: Bernard Quaritch, 15 Piccadilly, 1888), p. 1., note 3. Printed by a strange blunder, Barcelona in Cuestas second edition (1605). Count of Barcelona is the title attached to Spanish royalty.

[3] Saavedera, Miguel de Cervantes, The Ingenious Gentleman, Don Quixote of La Mancha, in English, notes, original and selected, Henry Edwards Watts (London: Bernard Quaritch, 15 Piccadilly, 1888), p. 1., note 1.

[4] Saavedera, Miguel de Cervantes, The Ingenious Gentleman, Don Quixote of La Mancha, in English, notes, original and selected, Henry Edwards Watts (London: Bernard Quaritch, 15 Piccadilly, 1888), p. 43. There are many attempts to place cryptic or relevance behind this name, Senor Benjumea, holds that Dulcinea, which he finds to be an anagram of diňa ( divina) luce, is the objective soul of Don Quixote, la digna Donna Lux de Guinicelli, la Donna Filsophia de Dante, la Angelica de Boyardo y Ariosto,” &c., note 2.

[5] Note 1,  p. 43. In Saavedera, Miguel de Cervantes, The Ingenious Gentleman, Don Quixote of La Mancha, in English, notes, original and selected, Henry Edwards Watts (London: Bernard Quaritch, 15 Piccadilly, 1888).

[6] Note 1,  p. 47. In Saavedera, Miguel de Cervantes, The Ingenious Gentleman, Don Quixote of La Mancha, in English, notes, original and selected, Henry Edwards Watts (London: Bernard Quaritch, 15 Piccadilly, 1888).

[7] Note 1,  p. 14. In Saavedera, Miguel de Cervantes, The Ingenious Gentleman, Don Quixote of La Mancha, in English, notes, original and selected, Henry Edwards Watts (London: Bernard Quaritch, 15 Piccadilly, 1888), Aristotle, Saint Basil, and Cicero are three of the authors citied by Lope de Vega in his Isidro. Also, the concept of chivalry was never known to two of these figures of history. 

[8] Note 2,  p. 15. In Saavedera, Miguel de Cervantes, The Ingenious Gentleman, Don Quixote of La Mancha, in English, notes, original and selected, Henry Edwards Watts (London: Bernard Quaritch, 15 Piccadilly, 1888). For evidence of the extent of which books of chivalries influenced the ideas and habits of the age, and of their popularity among all classes, see the Life of Cervantes, in Vol, I,

[9] Saavedera, Miguel de Cervantes, The Ingenious Gentleman, Don Quixote of La Mancha, in English, notes, original and selected, Henry Edwards Watts (London: Bernard Quaritch, 15 Piccadilly, 1888), pp. 14 - 15.

[10] Note 1,  p. 46. In Saavedera, Miguel de Cervantes, The Ingenious Gentleman, Don Quixote of La Mancha, in English, notes, original and selected, Henry Edwards Watts (London: Bernard Quaritch, 15 Piccadilly, 1888).

[11] Note 2, & para.,  p. 46. In Saavedera, Miguel de Cervantes, The Ingenious Gentleman, Don Quixote of La Mancha, in English, notes, original and selected, Henry Edwards Watts (London: Bernard Quaritch, 15 Piccadilly, 1888).

[12] Note 3,  p. 46. In Saavedera, Miguel de Cervantes, The Ingenious Gentleman, Don Quixote of La Mancha, in English, notes, original and selected, Henry Edwards Watts (London: Bernard Quaritch, 15 Piccadilly, 1888).

[13] Note 1,  p. 16. In Saavedera, Miguel de Cervantes, The Ingenious Gentleman, Don Quixote of La Mancha, in English, notes, original and selected, Henry Edwards Watts (London: Bernard Quaritch, 15 Piccadilly, 1888).




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