Would you call Don Quixote a tragedy?
Plot spoilers ahead.
Don Quixote tries to impose his chivalric morality on a society totally incompatible with chivalry. Beyond being a criticism of Cervantes' own society, I believe Don Quixote's motive for picking chivalry is unclear. Does he pick chivalry because he thinks society is actually chivalrous, and got it wrong? Or, does Don Quixote pick chivalry BECAUSE society is so incompatible with it, and thus needs it all the more?
In either case, we see his project fail, he tilts at windmills, his princess isn't a princess and the actual princess is cruel, he beats up innocent strangers and causes suffering.
But doesn't the futility of Don Quixote's actions make him a perfect parody of Oedipus? He resists fate, and in his old age, renounces it all as foolishness and dies, finally recognizing the truth in it's full weight as when Oedipus stabs his eyes out.
Do you agree?
Don Quixote is an idealist, he believes the world needs change in order to progress. What he does is attempt to disperse his humanist world view among the rural population (he does travel to Madrid and Salamanca, but the city is too multifaceted, too unwieldy to be brayed by his figure). Too many people use the word "impose," or something similar, when discussing Quixote: "he imposes his world-view, he forces himself on the world." Not enough people see the forest for the trees. Instead, when you step back and see his works, you'll see that he promotes a humanist, idealist, anarchic, pseudo/proto-feminist interpretation of the world. In many cases, his actions backfire (like with the poor servant boy or the one runaway girl who appears twice in the first volume), and frequently he ends up badly hurt, with Sancho in tow.
I think Cervantes was genius in making it a comedy, making his sly, sardonic, ironic jabs underline the sincerity and iconoclastic drive of his protagonist. Dulcinea serves no further purpose than to justify his façade as a chivalrous knight: she is Beatrice to his Dante, Helen to his Achilles. >>7595826 and >>7595832 have it kind of right: Don Quixote is, and possibly will forever be, contemporaneous to our condition, as long as there is civilization and society.
This is of course a valid and interesting interpretation, but I never tend to agree with it. It completely ignores, or even rejects, the very importent dimension of Quixote as a delusional man. There is nothing to promote - as chivalry is a way in which the world works, the world is a knight-story in his eyes. People who stray away from his ideals, while having a place in his world-view as enemies, are supposedly not the norm.
Idealists and iconoclasts are inherently delusional. Don Quixote works outside, on the highways and in the wildernesses. He preaches to and targets the lowly, the outcasts, the small dictators and rural oppressors. He bears the whips and scorns of time and society not because he fears death or welcomes the next life, but because he truly believes this life can be better.
I still disagree about his preaching. His glorification of a bleak reality through ideals of knighthood and beauty, uncompromising on reality as it is, is obvious. The fact most of his encounters are with the lowlife is only emphasising that, he obviously doesn't have access to any other kind of people. He is, deeply, an idealist, but not a preacher. He doesn't roam spain to spread chivalry, but to live his own story of fame and glory. Quixote's endeavor is shaping his own reality, regardless of the world, not changing the world. (As that would require acknowledgment of the world as it really is, something Quixote in his essence capable of).
Yes, absolutely. I consider the definition of tragedy to be as Kierkegaard regards it: external circumstances over which the hero has no control are situated in such a way that misfortune follows the hero with greater diligence than his shadow.
Poor, unfortunate Don Quixote is a victim of delusion and cannot but pursue the product of those delusions. The tragic element is not in the futility of his actions alone, but in the persistent oppression he must suffer necessarily being motivated by delusion as opposed to the reality that all who surround him abide by. He is doomed by fate to roam around as a madman and despite of the good intentions in his heart, he will be continually find himself unable to overcome the reality that his delusion cannot but combat.
If Don Quixote were to maintain his delusion until the very moment of his death, then I would be inclined to consider it a comedy as he would have lived according to his conviction, believing that his nobility is truth, until the end. Because he succumbs to reality and becomes conscious of his delusion, he is defeated by misfortune and dies a wretched man. His delusion would have spared him that fate as he would have have been convinced that he at least tried to uphold the virtue of his conviction and the reader might have known an altogether different effect at reading of a dedicated, albeit deluded, man perish as opposed to one debilitated by awareness and despair.
What moved me most, was at one point in the second volume, Don Quixote whispers to Sancho something along the lines of: "If you believe in my story, I'll believe in yours," regarding what don Quixote says happened in the cave (while the probable happening is that some fumes or lack of oxygen got to him)
It shows that, all the while, he knew. Don Quixote knew, even before renouncing chivalry at his deathbed.
>yfw you realize Don Quixote was only pretending to be retarded
Only in the second volume though. He also backs away from a couple fights, at least from the circus crew. I think the probable cause is just him falling asleep btw. Wasn't that the joke (not that it matters) ?
No, you won't. This is /lit/ and you'll read whatever the fuck we tell you to read. You plebs are so deluded that you actually think that you enjoy the works you're reading on a bimonthly basis. Until you start with the greeks (and yes this means learning ancient greek you lazy fucking pleb) and work your way up to Emerson or Swinburne, you aren't even qualified to use the word "enjoyment" in reference to an artistic work of poetry. You don't know what the fuck it means, your lexicography of the rabble has diminished that adjective into something that can be used both to describe a towering monument to western culture and a coca cola.
Get the fuck out and don't come back until you know at least eight languages, one of which is latin and three of which are completely dead. Then, maybe we'll conndescend to reply to you.