This past week in our Don Quixote FSEM class, we spoke about heroes and fools on social media. We were told to pick certain people that fit the hashtag hero_or_fool. This was a very interesting assignment to do, because there is way more fools than heroes. This relates to what we read in Don Quixote because we all currently have different opinions on him. Don Quixote is a hero and a fool, like many of us readers.
Not everything Don Quixote does is worthy of proclaiming he’s a hero. He freed galley slaves, which is illegal. That isn’t noble, but then in the story he abides by the code of chivalry. In real life, we aren’t heroes or fools all the time. An example could be someone dropping their wallet and you pick it up to give back, but then later that day cuss someone out for cutting you off while driving. It’s impossible to be both. But that’s what it means to be human, we make mistakes to learn from them.
In Ch. 38, Don Quixote goes on a lecture how knights are more superior than scholars. The group thinks he is smart, but do not believe him. I disagree with them, I think Don Quixote is spot on. There will always be smart people, all it takes is to study text books. But to live by a code of chivalry and keep those strong morals, many people won’t do it. Look at Christians, how many break the Ten Commandments? We all have temptations in life, but the “knight” won’t act on those. Scholars are very important in society, but not many people live with strong morals. Knights are much more superior than scholars.
That would really highlight Sancho being the hero. While he isn’t living by a code of chivalry, he has powerful beliefs he lives by. In Ch. 47, when Don Quixote beliefs he has been enchanted and captured, Sancho tries to help his friend.
“At this point Sancho Panza, who had drawn near to hear the conversation, said, in order to make everything plain, “Well, sirs, you may like or dislike what I am going to say, but the fact of the matter is, my master, Don Quixote, is just as much enchanted as my mother. He is in his full senses, he eats and he drinks, and he has his calls like other men and as he had yesterday, before they caged him. And if that’s the case, what do they mean by wanting me to believe that he is enchanted? For I have heard many a one say that enchanted people neither eat, nor sleep, nor talk; and my master, if you don’t stop him, will talk more than thirty lawyers.” (Don Quixote Ch.47, written by Cervantes, translated by online-literature.com)
(It is not allowing me to publish a link for this photo, but all credit to gohildalgo’s website media library)
This isn’t the only time Sancho tries to tell Don Quixote he isn’t under any spells. This shows Sancho truly cares about his friend. That’s a very noble act. Now throughout this story, it is explicitly shown that Sancho isn’t very intelligent. This strongly relates to both comparisons in this reading, hero/fool and knight/scholar. Cervantes wants Sancho to be the hero, but constantly makes him seem stupid. It shows that Cervantes knows it is impossible to only be one or the other, since we are both. And then this ties in with knights and scholars, who’s more superior? Well a noble knight who isn’t smart, is like Sancho trying to help Don Quixote. He wants him to understand he isn’t under a spell, but isn’t intelligent enough to do so. But a scholar, with no morals, that isn’t a noble way to live. The scholar might be able to produce very creative plans, but mostly likely the plan is unethical and unpractical.
In conclusion, Miguel Cervantes wants the reader to both live nobly and be intelligent. And this story is to show in life, some days we will be heroes and other days fools. But that we should never give up, just like Don Quixote. He constantly gets beat up, but gets back up every time.