Tag Archives: Chivalry and Satire in Don Quixote

41 st International Symposium of Hispanic Literatures (Don Quixote in the Humanities)

Role Chivalry Satire Don Quixote (Censorship Buster)


Chivalry, in Cervantes’s Don Quixote, is used as a satirical device designed to confuse the Holy Inquisition’s censors greatly, so that the author could slip-in a series of critical statements, under the radar, so to speak, without the authorities blocking his novel.  In other words, to trick the censors of his times, Cervantes hides a serious critical sting with a series of funny, light-hearted, jokes, so that the authorities could laugh at his book, and perhaps improve the overall culture, as opposed to being offended by his novel and punishing the author severely. 

Why, we must ask ourselves, does Cervantes make “Don Quixote” so hard to understand?  Is his “double vision,” or dual meaning, a tactical device; or is it merely a reflection of the spirit of his times?     

In my view, Cervantes intentional blurring of “Don Quixote” is a strategic ploy meant to obscure its’ meaning so that his book can be interpreted in a number of valid ways.  On the one hand, “Don Quixote” suited the defenders of the status quo just fine since conservatives could reason that it depicted, and reinforced, in a funny way, the theocratic Spanish state.  On the other hand, liberal democrats could
argue that Don Quixote depicted, in human and particular terms, the injustices of his times as a way of calling attention to them?  

Why, in your view, does Cervantes use talk around terms couched in sarcasm and irony and humor?  What other ploys does Cervantes use to disguise his meaning? What
is the net effect of Cervantes’s vagueness?