While on his adventure don Quixote has encountered a number of people, and continues to do so, however, each person serves, in some way, to present the reality in the story that don Quixote fails to see himself. These pieces of reality serve to mock the fairy tales of Cervantes time because those stories are all based around fantasy with crazy situations.
The shepherds are seen as normal shepherds.
Previously in the book most of the characters don Quixote encountered were (in his head) some sort of knight or a person with magical properties. The shepherds are people that don Quixote recognizes as normal shepherds which shows that there is still some sense of reality to the book and to don Quixote’s mind. Although they understand that don Quixote is crazy, the shepherds use don Quixote as a source of humor. They view don Quixote’s craziness as something to be laughed off and not as something that is serious or that needs fixing, which is different than most of the characters so far who have feared his insanity or wished to cure it.
Marcela is used to contradict the normal role of women in fairy tales and fantasy novels.
In fairy tales and fantasy novels women are generally portrayed as helpless beautiful damsels in distress that need to be saved by a charming and valiant man/knight; however, Marcela is the exact opposite. Though she has the beauty, is an orphan, and she gave up her wealth to live a simple and humble life as a shepherdess. Marcela is not in need of rescue with one of her strongest characteristics being that she doesn’t get swayed by the many men that come for her hand.
Marcela is perceived to be heartless and a heart breaker, however, she herself has not fallen in love with any of the men that have been “in love” with her, “With this behavior of hers, she does more damage in this country than the plague, because her graciousness and beauty attract the hearts of those who come into contact with her to serve and love her, but her scorn and reproofs drive them to despair, and so they’re baffled about what to say to her except to call her cruel and ungrateful to her face, and other similar things that attest to her character” (Cervantes 183).
She has not given them any false hopes and the reason all the men think poorly of her is because she is not falling to their wishing and desires (which are mostly based on her beauty). Marcela acts a break with her more modern ideas of choosing her own man, as well as showing a separation from the fantasy types of women that don Quixote has been obsessed with and read of
Sancho serves as don Quixote’s foil.
Even though Sancho Panza goes along with don Quixote’s adventure and beliefs, Sancho has mostly served as a normal voice who understands where fiction and reality separate. Sancho persuaded don Quixote not to further punish the Basque because he had already promised to go to Dulcinea. To further their differences Sancho cannot read or write whereas don Quixote can, when they are offered food Sancho welcomes it where don Quixote believes that knights don’t need food all the time, and Sancho seems to understand that don Quixote’s ear needs to be fixed up whereas don Quixote believes there is a mixture which can heal all things. Having a foil allows for readers to become even more aware of how crazy don Quixote may seem to the people he encounters.