In Don Quixote there is a sharp contrast between two different types of marriage: arranged marriages where inheritance, money, property, and title are major constituents; and modern marriages based on a need for intellectual agreement, philosophic mutality, and emotional intimacy. One model highlights the ability to freely choose one’s romantic partner according to their essential nature, while the
other model emphasizes birthright, social standing, and political power as decisional determinants. One model values women as housekeepers, lust satisfiers, and child begetters, while the other model values a women for her inner being.
Dramatized through a series of courtship and sexual tales where characters marry not by arrangement, as expected, but for romantic love, instead, Cervantes elevates modern love over traditional marriage arrangements. First, there is Marcela who will not marry Grisostomo for his property, lands, or other monies. Then there is Quiteria the Fair who favors Basilio the Poor over Camacho the Rich. Likewise, Leandra does not want to marry a future grandee of Spain called Don Fernando. Instead she marries the much poorer and not as well connected Cardenio. All of these women forgo “good catches” favoring their childhood sweethearts instead.