This week’s reading of Don Quixote has presented itself in theatrical and fantastical manner, in which the otherworldly nature of Quixote’s delusions are beginning to coincide with reality.

The Caricature-ization of Quixote and Sancho

We are introduced to the figures of the Duke and Duchess, who, are the first to treat Quixote and Sancho as characters, rather than as merely confused or addled humans. The Duke and Duchess invite the pair into their castle and extend a saccharine hand of hospitality into what will spiral into a joke as complicated as the inner mechanisms of whatever part of Quixote’s mind that has convinced him that he is a knight-errant.

How Far is Too Far?™

A strange amount of effort is put into this practical joke, and I, as a reader, began to wonder why an affluent couple would go to such great lengths to watch a pair of (lovable) imbeciles flounder in confusion and mild distress. However, in the world of Cervantes, anything is possible.

The Duke and Duchess proved to be merciless in their practical jokes with the two, to the point where “the duchess was ready to die with laughter when she saw Sancho’s rage and heard his words,” (Chapter 32) as though the two were creating their own, at-home theatrical production of the two to prolong the secondhand enjoyment of the pair’s peregrinations.

Is Quixote Becoming More or Less Real?

What is interesting to note about the dynamic between the Duke and Duchess and Quixote and Sancho is that while they are making Quixote’s delusions a reality, what with his belief that he is a knight, as well as his horribly misconstrued world views and longing for Dulcinea, they are further dehumanizing Quixote. We discussed the notion of writing one’s own narrative in previous classes, which would put Quixote as the author of his own journey. But what if Quixote was not only the author in his own journey, but also, the main character? As reality and fantasy collide, this is exactly the phenomenon we witness. Quixote and Sancho become treated as near children, as caricatures of men as their dreams walk among them.

If All the World’s A Stage, I Want Better Lighting.