This is it. The end is here. After his many adventures of fighting windmills and legions of sheep, his heroic journey through innumerable encounters with ‘wizards’ and others wishing to enchant him, his travels are over. He made many friends and enemies along his path, but of them all, we shall remember his faithful associate Sancho Panza. Through everything, Sancho was always by the side of Quixote.
In these last few chapters, it seems that Don Quixote has lost his motivation and determination. He seems to have lost all hope. It’s apparent that he’s no longer the happy, care-free Quixote we once knew and almost loved. Unfortunately, he knows the end is near, and so do the others. However, for the first time, they do something for him rather than to him, “That afternoon, they took don Quixote out for a ride, not in armor, but in street clothes, wearing a short-sleeved cape made of tawny cloth that could have made ice itself sweat… They put the cape on his shoulders, and without him noticing it, they had attached to it a parchment on which they had written in large letters: ‘THIS IS DON QUIXOTE DE LA MANCHA'”(pg. 958).
After everything everyone has done to him, they’re finally being decent to him; one could even say they’re being nice. Don Quixote is so happy that all these people, even people he’s never seen before, know his name and are calling out to him. While some may view this as their way of picking on him, I believe that it’s their way of giving him a happy ending.
Throughout this novel, Don Quixote was always viewed as the hero, but I think otherwise. I think that Sancho Panza is the real hero of this novel. He has stuck by Quixote’s side through anything and everything, from being blanketed to being granted governorship. He is often overlooked since he is labeled “the sidekick” from the beginning, but as the novel progressed, he was the character that truly grew and changed through the course of the journeys.
The featured image I have selected is of Don Quixote and Sancho Panza. Sancho, as always, is smiling up at Don Quixote, following him without hesitation. He was loyal, trustworthy, and above all else, chivalrous. And isn’t that what this whole novel has been about?
I tip my hat to you, Mr. Panza. Thank you for being Don Quixote’s rock in a time where he needed to be held down.