Don Quixote, in my opinion, was a man who hit a midlife crisis and was closely dedicated to his readings. Don Quixote was bordering insanity because of this, and this honestly made for an amusing story. His new identity emerged from a mixture of just old age and boredom; he had all sorts of time on his hands and he spent it reading books of chivalry almost religiously.
Don Quixote read so much of these books that “his brains got so dry that he lost his wits”(Cervantes, chp. 1). Don Quixote read these books like they were the Bible, and he followed every example in them like they were some holy book as well. If chivalry was a religion, I think Don Quixote would’ve been the most zealous worshiper there was known.
There is no doubt in my mind that Don Quixote was insane, but I don’t necessarily think he went out looking for an identity. At his age, having accomplished the things he needed to do, Don Quixote had a lot of time on his hands. Today, people buy new cars and things they’ve dreamt of after retirement. Don Quixote chose to become a knight, but Don Quixote’s adventures were dangerous. He thought he had a duty to save people and to “[right] every kind of wrong”(Cervantes, chp. 1). In the process of helping people, though, he did more harm than anything. When waiting to be dubbed a knight, for example, he stood guard of his armor that was set on a trough. A man approached and removed his armor and Don Quixote landed “a blow on the carrier’s head that he stretched him on the ground”(Cervantes, cap. 3). With one more blow, Don Quixote could have killed an innocent man who he believed was an enemy. Because of this Don Quixote’s attempts to better the world were worthless, but he didn’t see that because he was a crazy man.
Most of the characters he encountered understood that he wasn’t in a complete state of mind, and they left him alone, but Don Quixote did encounter unsympathetic people and ended up severely hurt. I find it interesting that these battle wounds weakened him physically but fortified him mentally. He realized that knights got hurt and that it was inevitably apart of the job; the Bible recognizes that worshipers would be persecuted, so this again ties to Don Quixote being insane and almost seeing this chivalrous way of life as a religion.
I have never thought of changing my identity but if I one day decided to, I would not execute it in the same way Don Quixote did. He was religiously dedicated to chivalry like no other and found something he liked to occupy himself in, but everyone around him pitied him and thought he wasn’t capable of going out on his own. They played along with his stories and made him look actually insane. I personally can’t stand any of that. But, even though I think he was insane and a danger to the rest of the world, he was living the life that he wanted and that made it all worth it.