As I continue to read Don Quixote de La Mancha , I am continually amazed at the underlying ideas and themes that seem to be fairly screaming out of the pages. Amid this witty text, Miguel de Cervantes uses Don Quixote as a vessel to express his distaste for the current world in which he lives. Several quotes and scenes come to my aid as I make the argument that, underneath the humor and seeming madness, Don Quixote is one of the most radical texts from its day.
“And not because gold- which in this Age of Iron is so valued – was gotten in that fortunate time without trouble, but rather because the people who lived then didn’t know the two words YOURS and MINE!”
“Fraud, deceit, and wickedness had not as yet contaminated truth and sincerity.”
Quotes like these dictate that Cervantes’s character, Don Quixote, is not at all mad, but rather, filled with a righteous rage. He is longing for a time and place where individuals are less worried about money making schemes, conspiracies and submission, instead, focused on the simpler aspects of life. That is, caring for others, shared happiness, and most of all, honesty. We are shown in this novel, that a lack of these items in a society are so detrimental they can drive a man to live in his imagination.
Not only does Cervantes condemn how the world has become, he calls for progressive new changes in society. A primary example of this is conveyed through the speech given by Marcela, the beautiful shepherdess. While most of the village, and therefore society, condemns her for not falling at the feet of every man who has proclaimed unceasing love for her, she boldly speaks up for herself and the rest of the women living during Cervantes time. Marcela argues that women, even if beautiful and wanted, should be allowed to choose their own paths and sources of happiness without being branded ungrateful or outcasts. This is an immensely strong stance for our author to make.
Overall, through these declarations in the novel, Cervantes displays his superior intellect and literary skills. In addition to being a source of laughter, Don Quixote de La Mancha is his secret weapon for new ideas and radical statements.
Although Spain was flourishing during Miguel de Cervantes life, there were also severe elements of connivance, fear, and required submission that came along with this great time of conquering and excellence. The below image, although a bit dramatic, depicts the result when one did not comply to laws and was found guilty of dissension. It also gives readers a clear idea of just how amazing, if not brave, it was that Cervantes included such revolutionary thoughts in his novel during that time period.
“Inquisition.” Inquisition, Blackland.org, whgbetc.com/mind/inquisition.html