In this essay, I will discuss Don Quixote by Miguel de Cervantes. The author’s main characters, themes, and questions are outlined. It is a remarkable work that is loved all across the world. Since its initial publication more than 277 years ago, it has remained one of the favorites of university students and people who appreciate excellent literature. Because of the book’s name alone, Don Quixote, reading his summary is enough to get you interested and want to continue reading.
The word “prince” is already a call to read the book. According to one analysis, there is a great appeal and the novel strikes a chord with readers (Cascardi, 2002, p. 127). There’s a reason why Cervantes’ Don Quixote is so well-known and appreciated. It is due to the fact that Don Quixote de la Mancha is an excellent example of how to use humor in literature through parody. What makes Don Quixote such a parodist? The following sections will explain this concept.
How is Don Quixote a parody?
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What Is a Parody and What Does It Mean? The word “parody” has several meanings. According to the Merriam-Webster dictionary, a parod y is “a literary or musical work in which the style of an author or work is closely imitated for comic effect.” (Merriam-Webster, 2010, p. 1). To have a clear concept of what a parody is, it’s vital to stress two points. To begin with, the author uses previous work as a foundation for his creation. In other words, the writer will use an artistic masterpiece as a basis for his work.
Second, the fact that the author who is performing the parody isn’t just plagiarizing or drawing on someone else’s work as a source of inspiration for his own should be stressed. To parody is to imitate or produce something that mimics or ridicules the original. Of course, it’s all about fun. A parody can be quite beneficial depending on the writer’s skills and the subject matter used as a foundation for writing the satire – the greater well-liked and loved the topic, the better. One of the most well-known cases of parody in world literature is Don Quixote.
Don Quixote: Parody of Chivalric Romance
The novel Don Quixote as a Parody is considered a literary masterpiece, and it served as one of the most famous works used as a parody short story example for the many novels and poems of chivalry that were popular three centuries ago. In medieval Europe, when there was no TV or radio, the tales about knights and their exploits were an important source of entertainment (Paulson, 1998, p.3).
There were handsome heroes in shining armor, as well as damsels in distress in need of rescue. The romance and adventure created a potent brew that became the form of entertainment we now know as made-for-TV movies. But after a while, some people grew weary of reading the same thing over and over again. Others are seeking for other options. Others are astonished by the simplicity and exaggerated scenarios found in these novels. That is why Miguel de Cervantes mocked these chivalric novels. There was a substantial reaction from the reading public (Paulson, 1998, p.4).
What Makes Don Quixote a Parody?
Don Quixote contains numerous examples of parody, which are not only a strategy but also the core of all the events in the book. The author wanted everyone to understand how ludicrous tales of knights who are nearly invincible and always manage to save the day against impossible odds truly were.
This may not be done by means of a serious speech, but rather through parody and humor, demonstrating that something is going on for so long that people are used to it and no one dares question the effect or significance of these renaissance chivalric novels. As a result, the author proceeded to create a character who was very distinct from previous portrayals of strong and brave knights. The fact that Don Quixote is a parody is seen in his youth and lack of experience. He was not a young man on the brink of discovering his identity and attempting to demonstrate it to the world by destroying windmills, as he claims.
In contrast, Don Quixote is already fifty years old, and the only reason he was able to play the part of a knight is because he had time on his hands and money to buy a bony old horse. He also possessed a few tools that he mistakenly believed were weapons that a real knight could utilize. He also had in his service someone who pretended to be a knight’s page.
Don Quixote’s financial profit is revealed in the first section of the novel, when he sells his home to purchase books about knights and their adventures. The reader is given notice at once that this is a parody of a chivalric hero’s actions, and that it reflects what occurred in 17th-century Europe.
The farce reaches its peak when Don Quixote, even in his old age and poor state, decided to not only read but also try to become a knight. He aspired to match what he had learned in chivalric novels. So, armed with an ancient suit of armor and a bony old horse, he set out to rescue damsels in distress and perform tremendous deeds, however to the rest of the world he appeared ill-equipped for the task and more so looked comical (Paulson, 1998).
As a result, the novel’s main figure was comparable to traditional chivalric heroes of the era, as seen in the essay. Don Quixote is a wonderful work that can be appreciated by both young and old because it reflects their experiences. The youngster who receives Don Quixote will recognize the satire right away.
They will appreciate how Miguel de Cervantes Saavedra attempted to make an indirect but constructive criticism of Spain’s court and society’s preoccupation with knights in shining armor who seem perfect no matter from what perspective one looks at them by using a long, extended metaphor.
This is a humorous book that depicts the life of an elderly Japanese man named Shohei who has seen better days and desperately tries to recapture his glory days. That implies that instead of delivering a dull and ineffective lecture, a parody is required to point out an issue while using humor rather than lectures.
To take an example, a parodic work is to utilize what is already well-known and popular, then use it as the basis for writing something about a vital issue. However, it’s well known that individuals won’t pay attention or devote time to reading something uninteresting. They’ll only comprehend if they’re not only informed but also amused.
This essay on Don Quixote by Miguel de Cervantes sought to examine the elements that make Don Quixote a parodic imitation of chivalric romance. The preceding sections demonstrate how the novel’s primary character mirrored traditional medieval warriors. That is the power of Miguel de Cervantes Saavedra.
During his lifetime, Cervantes was known as El Ingenioso Hidalgo Don Quixote de la Mancha, “The Intrepid Gentleman Don Quixote of La Mancha.” He wanted to speak out against the 17th century’s preoccupation with chivalric novels about damsels in distress. But instead of writing a paper that no one would read, he chose to write Don Quixote, and his message was clear. That is the strength of satire.
This paper demonstrates that Don Quixote’s character emphasizes the idea of an old moral structure, the chivalric code, which is on the verge of collapse since no one, save for Sancho Panza, behaves as if they comprehend him or his values when he is sane or insane. Equating social class to a person’s personal worth is another related notion referred to as parody. The role of parody in Don Quixote is unquestionably a classic example of chivalric fiction. Its most effective ties are to romantic customs that existed at the time because of its parodic components.
The book shows how parodic elements were built into the text. Don Quixote is viewed as a destructive and constructive power in part due to the narrative storyline’s parody. Parody originates from the plot and chivalric context, and it is one of the fundamental ways in which the romance theme is renewed. Romance is thematically hypertextual in that it demonstrates how Don Quixote builds up to his tale. Parody usage is an inherent departure from chivalric norms, establishing an exemplary model deviance characterized by clashing characters, episodes, and registers.
The use of parody in defying chivalric tradition while yet adhering to it is an element that aids the rejuvenation of love as a theme in Don Quixote. As a result, it shows how themes of love, fanaticism, and heroism contribute to the deterioration. In chapter 3 of Don Quixote, “Comedy in the Occitan and Going South,” two texts from Spain are cited: one that upholds antisocialism rather than idealism (cited in part 1). Don Quixote derives its appeal from spoofing reality; it depicts an image of an utopian world that is fast destroyed.
Don Quixote is a romance novel that becomes more serious as it progresses. The story of Don Quixote is meant to be a romance text, yet it becomes less romantic and the death of the chivalric romance genre begins. Parody is an ancient literary technique that encompasses characters’ experiences and events, adding significance to humor in the book.
Don is in a state of disappointment in Cervantes’ Don Quixote. He thinks he’s a knight-errant with a horse named Rocinante and a lady named Dulcinea del Toboso, who serves as his squire. Don offers Sancho Panza the governorship of an island in return for taking over all of his responsibilities when he becomes governor of an island. Through the author’s conflicts and characterizations, we learn more about the plot. Don Quixote’s confrontations, people, themes, point of view, and structure all aid us in determining what the author intended us to get from this narrative of misdirected adventure.
We’ll look at the conflicts you may be shocked to discover that in this adventure novel, there aren’t really many instances of man versus man conflict. The majority of the conflict we see is man versus himself. Don is insane and out of touch with reality. His wish to be like the characters in the tales he reads clashes with his sanity. “The poor gentleman lost his wits over such conceits, and he would lie awake trying to figure them out and extract the meaning from them.” Sancho is also torn because he wants to return Don to reality but can’t.
He would be characterized as a round and dynamic personality. The transition he goes through happens rather early in the narrative. We watch him gradually lose touch with reality before deciding to call himself “Don Quixote.” He is spherical since the story focuses on his life, therefore we are given a lot of information about him. In chapter 1, we see examples of straightforward characterization: “This gentleman of ours was approaching fifty; he was a hardy man who kept fit, had gaunt features and got up very early.” This informs us about his age, height, morning habits, and athletic ability.
Cervantes’ ability to reflect and imitate reality through the ironic juxtaposition of his two main characters played a key role in both driving the plot and catching the attention of his readers in the Golden Age.
Humour is evident throughout the novel, and Henry Fielding’s attempts to pique readers’ interest in his comic romance Joseph Andrews by claiming it was “written in imitation of Cervantes’ style,” place the book among the best novels from which humor may be borrowed and employed to inspire and promote other works.
Humour, on the other hand, wanes in relevance as time goes on, since the novel’s distinct link to the circumstances in which it was written and cultural change may have an impact on its significance in today’s minds. The claim by Daniel Eisenburg that Don Quixote’s humor is ‘the most understudied aspect of the work’ can be seen throughout the novel’s subsequent reception, as a new perception of Don Quixote as a serious work emerged in Europe following Romanticism’s rise.
The romantics recognized the basic fun of the narrative, but they regarded humor as less essential than the moral values and literary education provided, and humor was considered a vehicle for Cervantes to lampoon overly exaggerated chivalric novels at the time while also addressing themes that were important.
The use of parody in Don Quixote serves to permeate the adventures and experiences of the characters, emphasizing the significance of humor in the novel. Russell’s statement that ‘Any serious study of Cervantes’ book… must begin with the fact that it was intended by its author to be a long parodying of chivalric romance tales’ illustrates how essential Don Quixote’s humor is to its success. Cervantes employs the inherently humorous picaresque genre as a foundation from which he may examine the quest of a man from a low social rank in a fraudulent civilization, lampooning the phony chivalric era during which he was working.
Don Quixote’s perception of Maritornes is transformed after he follows the language and customs of chivalric romance, “Her hair was like a horse’s mane, but he saw it as strands of gleaming Arabian gold” according to Cervantes. Even though they’d have made anyone but a muleteer sick, neither touch nor smell nor any of the good maiden’s other qualities could make him notice his mistake, even though they’d have made anybody but a muleteer vomit. Similarly, while addressing his Dulcinea in an ironic tone of voice, one can detect an elevated style often used to dignify heroes in chivalric romance.
Cervantes’ employment of numerous voices, both depicted and defined, the significance of social classes in enhancing audience enjoyment. Sancho’s colloquial and informal language adds to his distinctiveness from Don Quixote; contractions such as you’ll, won’t, and I’ll are used in the sentence “You’ll be sure, won’t you, sir knight,” emphasizing his difference.
‘I’ll be in charge of it all,’ Don Quixote says, ‘but I’m not sure how big it is.’ In contrast to Sancho Panza’s low-key response, “You may count on me to take care of everything,” Don Quixote’s more formal statement, “You may assure yourself that I will govern it all properly and with great style,” is set.
However, the depth of Cervantes’ chivalric romance humor could be considered a red herring, thus the significance of humor as a facade through which real issues may be addressed is amplified because to one of the original chivalric epics, Tirant Lo Blanch, in which it is stated that ‘As far as style is concerned, this is without a doubt the finest book in the world.’
Furthermore, Cervantes employs his work in a negative light to explore his annoyance at literature in society; the extremely ironical allusion to one of the most successful playwrights of the era, Lope de Vega, suggests that there is more depth to Cervantes’ argument in the book because he uses the priest as an outlet to express his critical viewpoint that “these contemporary plays are nothing more than mirrors of absurdity, examples of folly and pictures of lewdness.”
However, while it is true that the role of humor increases in importance than a simple stimulus aiming to elicit a humorous reaction; Cervantes demonstrates his outstanding writer status by examining real views on society and culture via his use of humor and comedy; According to Schmidt, Cervantes has created “characters who, although funny, surpass humor in their higher qualities.”
The elevation of Don Quixote is necessary for Cervantes’ ennoblement. The basic allegory of Don Quixote is at the heart of Cervantes’ study of society through humor. Cervantes assaults the conventional belief that people in high society were respectable and honorable, and he establishes differences between value and class.
Humour in Don Quixote differs from medieval comedy in that it has a major goal of examining societal function, suggesting that by means of witty self-induced madness, characters might react to the institutionalized madness of their period. This appears to be a topic on which Cervantes wanted to examine things thoroughly via literature, as it is likewise addressed in his book.
The Glass Graduate and Don Quixote share a number of themes, including the madman who serves inadvertently as a source of entertainment in both works. In Don Quixote’s case, his madness stems from his literary interest in chivalric romances, which is a more realistic and reliable source than The Glass Graduate’s lunacy comes from the toxic quince ingestion. Similarly, Umberto Eco’s later book The Island of the Day Before seems to recall Don Quixote’s immersion in literature, as the protagonist Roberto is enraptured by it to the point that he is unable to distinguish his written words from reality.
The comic inversion and transformations of chivalric codes present throughout the novel are useful in reflecting, summarizing, and investigating the ordinary, yet inverted, reality of the tale. The comedic inversion and metamorphosis of knightly norms provide endless fun throughout Don Quixote’s imagination is expanded in everyday language by Sancho, who adds a second perspective on his master’s radical claims such as “What you were attacking wasn’t an army; it was a flock of sheep.’
The appearance of the characters immediately conveys a sense of humor, as Don Quixote, who is old and physically unattractive, contrasts with the young, attractive and strong knight to which Cervantes’ readership would be accustomed. Sancho’s position as the young assistant also transforms him into a middle-aged man riding a donkey when compared to the picture of a knight’s youthful aspirant.
Finally, Nabokov’s comment that ‘Don Quixote has ridden for three hundred and fifty years through the jungles and tundras of human thought,’ is important when considering the significance of humor in the book, since it may be due to incomplete translations and cultural change that all of Cervantes’ intended humor was missed.
A modern-day twist on Miguel de Cervantes’ exploration of humor through situation, action, and description has resulted in a work that stands alone between the chivalric romance and contemporary fiction. It is unquestionable that humor (however visible) plays an important role in Don Quixote, not just as a source of amusement but also as a representation of themes that are both serious and liberating.