Complimentary Antagonists: How Don Quixote and Sancho Panza Construct Their Own Reality Braden Ruddy

Don Quixote is among the most prominent novels ever written. It checks out a myriad of essential themes that exceptionally result humanity. Such gigantic styles include the moving limits of fact and illusion, how society views justice and morality, and the everlasting mission for love. Yet, underling all of these critical themes are the interactions and recklessness of 2 apparently easy, yet sensationally labyrinthine characters. Don Quixote and Sancho Panza are, perhaps, the most convoluted, and at the same time, lucid main characters within literature. Both of these characters are present in each of us, we all posses the conflicting qualities found in Don Quixote and Sancho Panza. Miguel De Cervantes Saavedra carefully constructs these 2 characters to personify both the fundamental human styles of idealism and realism, and has them underscore and epitomize the bigger question of truth.

Cervantes makes evident the maturation and mutations of reality people, while spoofing chivalry and conventional impressive form. Cervantes is able to take relatively standard situations, and raise them to epic proportions with using Don Quixote’s imagination. These epic stories vary from the traditional legendary stories of Homer and Virgil, in that, the heroes in this novel stop working. In Virgil’s Aeneid, Aeneas is glorified throughout the legendary. Cervantes aims to show that this marvelous life is difficult for a real life human. Cervantes clearly shows his 2 heroes failing, sometimes prospering, and more significantly, he reveals them changing.

Don Quixote is an incredibly complex character, emblematized by his skewed notions of reality “the world as nothing he did reward” (Cervantes 939). Throughout the unique he sees the world only in the mirror of his precious chivalric love. He believes that flocks of sheep are an opponent army, that seedy inns are if truth magnificent castles, that unsightly and overweight ladies are princesses, which windmills are actually giants. However, through out all of his constructed actions he keeps an exceptionally high spirit and nerve despite how backwards it might be. Maybe most consequentially, the Don is a wonderful idealist, who sees all things within the telescope of his really own magnanimous preconceptions. Perchance Don Quixote is crazy? Yet Cervantes develops the Don to force the reader to constantly challenge what is real and what is simply the dream of a senile old Spaniard.

Sancho Panza is Don Quixote’s essential reverse. In nearly every regard, they are so unlike each other. Sancho functions as the Don’s squire. With his peasant wit, common sense, and proverbial speech he is the reverse of his irrational master. At first acknowledgment it seems that Sancho is a basic male, illiterate and content with such simpleness as eating and drinking, yet still maintaining his sense of what is reality and what is fiction is. Even the physical appearances of the 2 counter each other with Quixote high and thin, and Sancho short and fat.

Don Quixote and Sancho Panza learn from each other throughout the novel. Quixote has the impractical visions of earlier epic heroes, while Sancho seems the pillar of peace of mind. However, Sancho is always quick to support any of Quixote’s visions. In fact, Quixote and Panza learn a lot from each other that throughout the novel, both characters seem to be rubbing off bit by bit, on each other. By the end of the unique the two characters, in result, fuse into each other, with the Don spitting out proverbs, and Sancho consuming over the chivalric code. A prime example of the 2 characters, and their mainly antagonistic interaction is clearly depicted in chapter XXI of part I.

Don Quixote mistakes a barber and his basin for a demanded golden helmet. Sancho first believes to inform Quixote the fact, however then resists, permitting Quixote to thrive in his “chivalrous and errant fancies” (Cervantes 162). “Why! That is Mambrinos helmet, said Don Quixote. ‘Stand aside and leave me to handle him. You will see how, so as to save time, I shall complete this experience without saying a word, and the helmet I have actually so much wanted will be mine” (Cervantes 161). Don Quixote sees the world in which he resides as a consistent experience with palaces, and armies, and maidens. This is a direct result of him attempting to pattern his life in accordance with the events of the heroic books that he was substantiated of.

When Sancho hears Quixote call the basin a golden helmet he started to laugh, knowing that Quixote’s creativity had actually taken control of to an once again absurd state. Yet, when Don Quixote asks Sancho “at what are you laughing at?” (Cervantes 162), Sancho eloquently covers his error with the restorative excuse of:

“It makes me laugh”, he responded, “to think what a bighead that pagan need to have had, who owned that head-piece. It’s like nothing even a barber’s basin. Much like it, it is” (Cervantes 162).

Don Quixote, fully aware that this basin was not really a golden helmet, chooses to use his imagination to dream up an experience. Much of this can be credited to his previous readings of many chivalrous books, for he looks for a sort of refuge inside the imaginary world of these books. From this, it could be said that Don Quixote is quite mad. Nevertheless, Quixote can not be judged like a regular human, however rather as an illogical and delusional meta-individual (Rosenburg, lecture). In Quixote’s world, this basin truly is the lost golden helmet of Mambrino. This vision is as sensible to Quixote as the reality that the helmet is really a barber’s basin is to Sancho. Sancho at fist, slightly buffoons Quixote, but then chooses to play along. Both of these characters are antagonistic of each other; however, they serve to influence one another. It must be kept in mind that the two characters work as an unit and are continuously changing. Don Quixote sees the world in which he lives as a continual adventure with palaces, and armies, and maidens. This is a direct outcome of him trying to pattern his life in accordance with the events of the heroic books that he was born out of. Sancho acts as the check to the fictitious personality of the Don. This is exemplified with another exchange within chapter XXI.

Upon obtaining the brass basin, Sancho Panza is thinking about taking the “dapple-grey steed that looks like a grey ass” (Cervantes 164). With this idea, Don Quixote immediately analyzes the situation in regards to the codes of chivalry:

‘It is not my custom’, stated Don Quixote, ‘to ransack those who I conquer, nor is it the use of chivalry to take their horses and leave them to go on foot, unless the victor has lost his own mount in the battle, in which case it is lawful for him to take the beaten knight’s as won in reasonable combat. Therfore, Sancho, leave the horse, or ass, or whatever you would have it to be … (Cervantes 164)

Sancho, of course, humors the Don after his speech, yet stays practical in his desire to get a new ass, by once again telling the Don that, “Truly the laws of chivalry are extremely rigorous, if they don’t even extend to letting one ass be switched for another” (Cervantes 164). This interchange further shows the antagonistic, yet at the very same time, cooperative relationship of Don Quixote and Sancho Panza. They are both dependent upon one another, yet in precisely converse styles.

Later on in the novel, Sancho Panza and Don Quixote change their mindsets so significantly, that in some circumstances they appear to change personalities. Chapter LXXIV in part II of the novel seems to best clarify this. In a stark shift from the start of the novel, and from the initial characterization prescribed by Cervantes, Sancho Panza ends up being the one thriving in “heroic and errant fancies” (Cervantes 162). Sancho ends up being the outrageous one by attempting to encourage Don Quixote, while on his death bed, that he should continue to be a knight errant.

“Don’t be lazy, look you, however rise, and let’s head out into the fields dressed as shepards, as we chose to do. Perhaps we shall discover the lady Dulcinea behind some hedge, disenchanted and as pretty as a picture” (Cervantes 937)

This death scene displays Don Quixote’s change too. Quixote leaves his fantastic world after realizing that his life had been an absurd one. He ends up being frenzied to show, before his death, that he is now sane. He acknowledges the truth that he has actually learned from his mistake of indulging unfathomable into the world of great chivalry. Acknowledging this bitter fact about himself, Don Quixote denies his past insanity in a last affirmation that life is a complete dream which death is the minute of reality. Only then can the Don die entirely. “Don Quixote, who admidst the compassionate tears of all present provided up the ghost that is to state, passed away (Cervantes 939).

Through Cervantes’ construction and deconstruction of both Don Quixote and Sancho Panza, a newly found notion of what it is to be human is reached. With idealistic goals and visions, and reasonable measures to keep them countered, it seems that anything is possible. The Don’s and Sancho’s recognition of these goals, as out of reach as some of them were, showed to be necessary to their realization that to be human and not archetypes, it is vital to alter. Quixote and Sancho turn out to be real characters, their faults and actions resemble those of a genuine human. The procedure of knowing, changing, and growing is a practical representation of every individual. Yet, as Don Quixote and Sancho Panza did through each other facilitates every people individual quest to find his own truth. This is, possibly, the most considerable human process of them all.

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