Don Quixote’s Dilemma

In Cervantes’ Don Quixote, written in 1605 and the second part in 1615, Cervantes wrote about a man who was enthralled with tales of chivalry, Alonso Quixano.  This man was so absorbed in these tales that he decided to serve his country in becoming a knight-errant (a roaming knight).  Knights were no longer present in Spain during the 1600s so this was a rather odd thing to do.  Alonso decided to call himself Don Quixote, a much more valiant name.

Don Quixote scoured up some armor to wear and set off on his adventure to do chivalrous things just like what his novels depicted.  Soon after his departure Don Quixote realized that he had not yet been dubbed a knight!  He must become a real knight before he can do go about serving people as a knight, he thought.  He came upon an inn, thinking that it was a castle, Don Quixote sought to be dubbed as a knight there.  He did indeed become a knight that night, but only because the innkeeper wanted to get rid of him because he was causing such a ruckus among the guests.

After Don Quixote made the oath to become a true knight he went about preforming acts of chivalry.  The acts of chivalry that Don Quixote performed that I read about weren’t actually helpful to the world.  At one time he thought that windmills were giants and that he had to slay them!  He was obviously not right in the mind.  He was deceived by the books he read- they had brainwashed him into believing that he could be a traveling knight!

At the end of the second book where Cervantes continued writing about Don Quixote’s adventures he had Don Quixote return home to his estate, housekeeper, and niece.  He came back to take a break from his knightly duties to raise sheep for a year.  But when he returned he went to bed, sick from depression.  He slept quite a bit and after one of his naps Don Quixote awakened from his delusion of being a knight.  He confessed that he had been a madman and he said that he now loathed those books of chivalry.  He said that God had revealed to him how deceived he was and how He had shown him goodness.  Then, he requested that he be able to confess his sins to a curate because he felt that he was on the verge of dying.

When he confessed his faith in God, Don Quixote broke the oath he made when he became a knight.  He repudiated it and did not give it any legitimacy although, in reality, it wasn’t a legitimate oath anyway because it was just an innkeeper who dubbed him a knight.

This man now hated books of chivalry so much that he stated in his last will and testament that if his niece desired to marry someone who had read tales of chivalry she would be cut out of  her inheritance.

This story is strong example of how reading certain books can get to a person’s mind in a negative way (this book is fictional though).  Poor Don Quixote wasted years of his life chasing after windmills and silly things like that because he could not control the absurd thoughts that got into his mind.  Even when his friends tried to help him he would not listen so they ceased reasoning with him.  Finally he discovered the real truth; but not everyone has this chance.  That is why it is important to be cautious about what you put into your mind.

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