All posts by Silentforce

Sancho Panza (Character Description)

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Appearance– Sancho Panza has a short body, a plump paunch, long shanks, and a thick, unkept, beard. 

Age– Sancho Panza is in his mid-thirties.   

Occupation– Sancho Panza is a poor country farmer who was a swineherd then a geese keeper later a steward and finally a country beadle.  During his later years, before he squires for Don Quixote, Sancho Panza is a farm laborer.

Family– Sancho Panza comes from a medium sized family consisting of an older brother, who is a priest, a wife, who runs his house, his two children, (Sanchico 15, Sanchita 14) his maternal grandmother, who he often quotes, as well as two wine-connoisseur forebears on his father’s side.  Thus, his nuclear family consists of four people, and his extended family consists of 3 people.  

Practicality– Sancho Panza has a practical sense of what it takes to live in hard-reality.  This is why he: eats out of his saddle-bags to avoid starvation; treats his injuries by mixing poultices; heals his wounds by fastening bandages; avoids jail by paying at inns; and earns money to take care of himself and his family.  What’s more, since Sancho Panza solicits a fixed salary from Don Quixote, and sells a hunting outfit he acquires, he is always looking for ways to make money.  This, in turn, signals his practicality, since it takes money to maintain his house, provide food and clothing for his family, and pay for his children’s education. In brief, Sancho Panza’s desire to earn money is definitely a sign of his practicality.

Glutton– Sancho Panza is prone to excessive eating and drinking binges.  From devouring pies by flowing rivers to stuffing himself with geese and hens at Basilio’s wedding, Sancho Panza eats like there is no tomorrow.  Sancho Panza also likes to drink a lot, since he takes swigs of wine from his leather bottle, sometimes drinking before breakfast.  Though he likes to eat and drink to excess, the Duchess puts Sancho Panza on a restraint enhancing diet during his governorship of Barataria, by assigning him a severe doctor to limit his food and liquid consumption.  Indeed, before taking office, Sancho Panza says that he has never drunk wine to get drunk, but rather drinks intoxicating beverages to not seem choosy, or rude, because, asks Sancho Panza, “what can be more hard hearted, if a friend drinks to your health and one does not drink to his back?”   

Don Quixote (Character Description)

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Appearance– Don Quixote is a tall man with a wrinkled face, long skinny arms, an eagle like nose that is somewhat hooked and graying.  He has a big black droopy mustache to disguise his bony underbite.  Typically, he has a dried-up face, a knotted and grizzled beard, and a brown, stretched neck. 

Age– Don Quixote is 49 years old, which, in the seventeneth century, is old, since the typical life-span back then was 40 years of age. 

Occupation– Since Don Quixote is a nobleman of the lowest rank he derives a small income from his acres of arable land.  Besides having a bit of ready money passed down from his forebears Don Quixote makes a small profit on his vineyards.  When he is not managing his property, which is most of the year, either he hunts boar, to while away the time, or reads chivalry books, as a leisure activity.

Sanity/Insanity– When Don Quixote is in his right mind he talks with good sense and a clear and balanced judgment, which makes people think he is clever, studious, and to the point.  But when he focuses his mind on chivalry he interlards sense and nonsense, reason and unreason, because what he says is coherent, elegant, and well-expressed, yet what he does is absurd, foolhardy, and stupid.  Since he performs mad actions in the worldbut speaks words that dissipate the effects of his deedsmost people think that he is mad, in streaks, complete with lucid intervals.  Unable to decide whether he is more sane than mad or more mad than sane, his examiners conclude that he is a sane man with madness in him, and a mad man with sane tendencies. 

Injuries– Don Quixote’s first injury comes when his ribs are bruised and battered by a muleteer who pounds him with a piece of his broken lance pummeling him until he is well-threshed like the finest chaff.  Then his shoulder is half-dislocated when a windmill’s sails yank him off his horse with enough force to send him rolling over the Montiel plain in a very sore predicament indeed.  Later, half his ear is lopped off by a Basque who sends a large part of his helmet, along with a bloody chunk of his ear, to the ground in hideous ruin. Next, a group of Yanguasian mule carriers pound him with their walking-staffs until he is knocked senseless.  Then a muleteer at a tavern delivers such a terrible punch to Don Quixote’s lantern jaws that his mouth is bathed in blood.  Not content with his opening blow, the muleteer climbs on top of Don Quixote’s ribs and trots up and down from one end to the other until he lays unconscious atop a ruined bed.  To top off his loss of blood, a peace-officer smashes an oil lantern on Don Quixote’s head leaving a good size dent there and raising two sizable lumps as well.  Later, a group of goatherds break two of Don Quixote’s ribs, smash three or four of his teeth, and crush two of his fingers in retaliation for their dead sheep.  Next, a group of convicts fire a hailstorm of rocks at Don Quixote hitting him with enough force to knock him to the ground. Once Don Quixote is down, a student outlaw snatches a barber’s basin from off his head and smashes it three or four times on Don Quixote’s back leaving him in a sorry state indeed. Afterwards, when Don Quixote hurls a loaf of bread at a goatherd’s face, the goatherd climbs on top of Don Quixote and flails away at his face until blood pours from our poor knight’s face. Later, a penitent delivers such a blow to Don Quixote’s sword arm that he smashes his shoulder to smithereens. Next, a snarling cat latches onto Don Quixote’s nose leaving his face riddled with holes.  Then Don Quixote is scorched and singed and hurled to the ground by an exploding wooden horse.  Finally, Don Quixote is stampeded into the mud by a herd of pigs.  Though Don Quixote’s injuries heal over a number of yearssometimes in his own bed and sometimes in the battle fieldit is a wonder that he musters the strength to continue after such numerous and extensive beatings.

Chivalric DelusionsDon Quixote mistakes: inns for castles; windmills for giants; sheeps for armies; wine-filled pigskins for headless giants; black-clad mourners for shadowy enchanters; copper basins for golden helmets; country barbers for warrior knights; simple farm girls for noble damsels; sweat smelling peasants for perfume smelling princesses; wooden horses for flying steeds; air pumping bellows for the earth’s natural wind; water mills for castle fortresses; dinghies for ships; and blanket tossers for enchanted ghosts, to name just a few of his chivalric delusions. 

Family Besides having a twenty two year old niece, Don Quixote has no blood relations to speak of.  

Marriage Don Quixote

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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. 

Don Quixote’s Metafictionality

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Don Quixote is a unique novel because it discusses itself within the pages of itself.  For example, when an old notebook of the history of Don Quixote is found at a bazaar in Toledo a Catholic Cannon reminds us that chivalry books do not follow the rules of Aristotelian writing.  Also, when Cide Hamete El Benengeli, the book’s fictitious narrator, analyzes Don Quixote’s artistic genres he shows a concern for literature and language that signals Don Quixote’s Metafictionality.  Given Don Quixote’s self-reflexive nature the book’s author becomes a character in the story who steps in-and-out of the tale.  More largely, by referring to the author throughout the story, Cervantes does not let readers forget they are reading a fictional work.  For instance, during the Captive Captain’s tale, we are told that Miguel Cervantes was the only man who emerged unscathed from his slavery. Another feature that defines Don Quixote as a work of Metafiction is that it mentions several works of fiction. For example, during the inquisition of Don Quixote’s library, Cervantes’s Galatea is retained for its original style.  Later, when the innkeeper produces Rinconete and Cortadillo, another story by Cervantes, a local priest decides to read The Tale of Inappropriate Curiosity instead.  Finally, since Don Quixote tends to call attention to itself as a literary artifact characters within the story are acutely aware that they are in a work of fiction.  In brief, since Don Quixote self-consciously evaluates itself throughout its’ story-telling it is fiction about fiction, or Metafictional in nature. 

 

Picaros Don Quixote

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The gallery of rogues in Don Quixote shows readers that a strong element of Picaresque realism runs throughout the narrative. While picaresque novels usually feature casteless, amoral, outsiders who feel inwardly unrestrained by societies prevailing mores and only appeal to conform to them when they think it suits their needs, Roque Guinart, a violent highwayman, and Gines de Passamonte, a gypsy thief, are a bit different.  They rob less money then they can, feel situational frustration and even come to regret their crimes.  Unlike Don Quixote, however, whose aim is to do “good to all and harm to none,” these picaros wander about from place to place under the cover of darkness, preying on people to survive. Never soiling their hands with an honest days work, Roque Guinart and Gines de Passamonte murder, deceive, and steal to survive.

In the end, however, Gines de Passamonte, a galley escapee, is chased by the Holy Brotherhood, lest they send him back to jail.  To avoid being captured, first, he assumes a gypsy disguise.  Then, Gines de Passamonte, extracts people’s money as a one-eyed pupeeter named master pedro.  But Don Quixote, mistaking him for a moor, almost lops his head off on stage. Indeed, if Gines de Passamonte he had not ducked and made himself into a ball he would have been decapitated by a swift sword slash.  So he ends up wandering the lawless hinterlands of the Sierra Morena dodging the authorities lest they send him to the galleys. 

Roque Guinart, on the other hand, has to sleep in places his men cannot find out about since the bounty placed on his head by the Viceroy of Catalonia is so large that he is left nervous and apprehensive that his men may either try to turn him into the authorities to reap a large monetary reward, or kill him to usurp his position. 

 

Don Quixote The World’s First Modern Novel

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Don Quixote Worlds First Modern Novel

Don Quixote de La Mancha, written in 1600-1615, is viewed as the world’s first modern novel.  Since the book combines prose and verse, poems and stories, for the first time, it was novel, or new, for its time.  Before Cervantes wrote Don Quixote literature consisted of devotional poems praising God, heroic epic written to honor the Gods, romantic ditties written for one’s lover, or letter writing novels featuring an epistolalry exchange between several different characters. With the advent of Don Quixote, however, this changed.  Now stories were being written about everyday people doing everyday things.