Miguel Cervantes Research Paper: Relating "Don Quixote"

910 words - 4 pages

The Spanish author Miguel de Cervantes was an accomplished author in the late 16th century. His famous work, Don Quixote is continued to be read and enjoyed by people today. Except for The Bible, no book has been so widely diffused into as many different languages and editions as Don Quixote.The influence of Don Quixote on later literature was astounding. The work, which is in essence a parody of the time's popular chivalric romances, had been written in a realistic style... It is believed that the influence of this work can be seen in such writers as Sir Walter Scott, Charles Dickens, Benito Perez Galdos and in painters like William Hogarth and Pablo Picasso. (Sieber 257)Miguel de Cervantes was born in 1547 in Alcalá de Henares, Spain. He joined the navy around 1570 where he was captured by pirates and taken as a slave in Algeria. Once he was released back to Spain, he was poor and had no way to obtain money. He became in debt and was thrown in jail. In jail, Cervantes began writing many works, including the famous Don Quixote. Don Quixote wasn't officially released until Cervantes was out of jail. He wrote the second part of Don Quixote once released from jail.The first part of "Don Quixote" was an immediate success and within two weeks of publication, 3 unauthorized editions appeared in Madrid. It was translated into English, French, and Italian within 20 years. The second part of Don Quixote became even more successful than the first. Partly because of the unauthorized editions and the lack of financial skills, Cervantes never gained a substantial amount of money for his masterpiece. He wrote many other works, but none of them came close to the success that Don Quixote had achieved.Miguel de Cervantes had a short winded literary career. Most of his attempted literary works were not successful. He wrote twelve novels, eight comedies, and eight interludes. He tried writing has a dramatist, but many claimed that he failed with the attempt. Cervantes received little money from his literature. Most of the money that was received from Don Quixote was produced after his death.Miguel de Cervantes influenced many other fields of work. Cervantes' use of irony was mimicked in many other works. His idea of naturalism verses idealism as a whole became a common theme. Don Quixote has been the subject of a variety of works in other fields of art, including operas, poems, motion pictures, and ballets. Giovanni Paisiello, Jules Massenet, Richard Strauss, G.Q Pabst, Grigori Kozintzev are just a few admirers of this masterpiece.Don Quixote is a tale of a man who was obsessed with Chivalric times and imagined himself as a knight and went on ridiculous adventures trying to impress the "love of his life". Don Quixote is a man elder in his years and enjoyed most of his time reading stories of knighthood and chivalry. He convinces himself that he himself is a knight and acquires a passive squire named Sancho, who in reality is a noble peasant, to accompany him on his adventures. He travels in search of adventure and dedicates his achievements to his maiden, Dulcinea, who in reality is a simple country girl. On his adventures, Don Quixote imagines windmills as giants, sheep as charging army men, and a simple inn as a castle. Sancho, who sees things in their reality, cannot convince Don Quixote that he's imagining everything. Don Quixote was an ideal romantic and was balanced by Sancho's more realistic views. At the end of the story, Don Quixote returned home and realized his imagination got away with him. He depressingly dies soon after returning home.Many have tried to analyze Don Quixote. Some believe that Don Quixote defended idealism, while others believe it defended naturalism. A famous critic, Manach, concluded that Don Quixote was a blend of the two ideas. Don Quixote himself represented an ideal view of the world, the utopian world we would like to live, while Sancho balanced him with the naturalistic view that things are as they are, not as we would prefer them to be. According to Manach, Miguel de Cervantes' themes in Don Quixote were apparent. "Incompatible systems of morality" (Latin American Writers 832) simply emphasizes on the point that Don Quixote understands no one, and no one understands him; Sancho was the medium of his idea. "Distinction between class and worth" (Latin American Writers 832), states that there was a disagreement wit the idea that if one was in a higher class, they were automatically of higher human worth.Without a doubt, Miguel de Cervantes and "Don Quixote" continue to have a large impact on literature and art to this day. Cervantes' comparison of idealism verses naturalism caught the literary world by surprise and became the stepping stone to many great works to follow. When first published, Don Quixote was an immediate success. The popularity of Don Quixote hasn't diminished in over 500 years and through Cervantes' unique writing style will probably live to see 500 more.


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