Don and self-sacrificing Christian behavior prove to be the

            Don Quixote is a novel written by Miguel
de Cervantes in 16 Century Spain. A major character of Miguel de Cervantes’s
novel is Don Quixote. Don Quixote is
the novel’s poignant hero. Don Quixote’s main quest in life is to revive knights
in a world deprived from chivalric virtues and values. He believes only what he
chooses to believe and sees the world very differently from most people. Sincere,
dignified, proud, and committed, he wants to save the world. Don Quixote starts out as a ridiculous
and lonely character and ends up as an outrageous and lovable old man whose
strength and wisdom have failed him. Another major character is Sancho Panza, the
peasant. He is greedy, kind, faithful, and cowardly. Nevertheless, Don Quixote
takes him as his squire. A representation of the common man, Sancho is a thwart
to Don Quixote and virtually every other character in the novel. His laborer’s
wisdom and self-sacrificing Christian behavior prove to be the novel’s most sensitive
and moral perception of life. He has a very strong love for Don Quixote but
grows self-confident and rude, ending the novel by advising his master in
matters of deep personal philosophy. An example of a minor character in the
novel is Rocinante, Don Quixote’s horse. Rocinante is sluggish and is as exhausted
as Don Quixote. A second minor character is Dapple, Sancho’s donkey. Dapple’s continuous
disappearances are some of the focus points of much argument in the story.

At the start of the
book, we meet a man named Alonso Quixano. Alonso is aging and has enough money
to keep him from ever having to work or clean his own house. So, he spends most
of his free time reading books, and there are no books that interest him more
than books about feudal caballeros riding around on horses, and slaying
dragons, and kissing beautiful princesses. It turns out that Alonso likes his books a little
too much, because one day, he decides to dress up in an old suit of armor and
become a knight himself. He takes the name of Don Quixote and starts riding up
and down the countryside looking for adventures. The only problem is that
giants and dragons don’t really exist. But, Don Quixote has such an active
imagination that he believes everyday objects are giant monsters. Early in his journeys, Don Quixote gets himself an
associate named Sancho Panza. Sancho doesn’t believe all the ridiculous things Don
Quixote is saying, but he knows that he is wealthy and hopes to make some money
by hanging out with him. There are some friends of Alonso who want to treat his
mental illness, and they plan all types of schemes to get him home to bed. But
they often underrate the influence of Don Quixote’s imagination. At the end of
the novel, Don Quixote gets a terrible fever and dies in his bed.

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A major theme in the novel is
madness.  Most characters in Don Quixote would say that he
represents this theme, since he has all the characteristics of a madman—namely,
a senseless set of views that lead him to seem as a hazard to himself and
others. Alternatively, the values of gallantry are not the worst values in the
world, if you take away the violence. Things like loyalty, modesty, and integrity
are things the world has had little of. Another major message in Don Quixote, by Miguel Cervantes is
society and class. In 17th-century Spain, your social class told people
everything they needed to know about you. Everything that indicated importance
was whether you came from a noble family, which usually also meant that you
were rich. On more than one event in Don
Quixote, lovers are kept apart because of their social class, and it’s hard
to tell just how far Cervantes is prepared to go in criticizing this detail. Although,
he seems to suggest that the superiority of a person’s character is what
matters. But at other times, he suggests that marriage between different
classes is only acceptable if it does not adapt to the public.

A symbol used in Don
Quixote are the books and manuscripts. The books and manuscripts that
appear everywhere in Don Quixote symbolize the importance and impact
of fiction and literature in everyday life. The books educate and inform the
ignorant and provide an imaginative oasis for characters with boring lives. A
second symbol used in Don Quixote are
the horses. Horses symbolize movement and status in the novel and often symbolize
a character’s wealth. The pilgrims outside Barcelona, for instance, walk to the
city. The noblemen ride in carriages, and the robbers and Don Quixote ride on
horseback. In Don Quixote’s mind, at least, the appearance of horses on the
horizon symbolizes the coming of a new adventure. Rocinante and Dapple play an
important role in the journeys of Don Quixote and Sancho: they are not only ways
of transport and symbols of status, but also companions. Lastly, a third symbol used throughout Don Quixote are the inns. The
inns that appear throughout the novel are meeting places for people of all
classes. They are the only locations in the novel where normally separated people
express their words and discuss stories. Inns symbolize relaxation and nourishment,
but also corruption and greediness, since many landlords in the novel are deceitful.
Sancho often desires to stay at an inn rather than follow Don Quixote’s
chivalric wish to sleep under the stars. These opposing preferences show
Sancho’s connecting with reality and humanity and his natural desire for relief,
in contrast to Don Quixote’s falling-out from civilization and its customs.
Even when he does stay at inns, Don Quixote is clearly isolated from the leading
actions that occur there, such as the renewing love of the four paramours in
the First Part.