Don Quixote Term Paper

Pages: 9 (2620 words)  ·  Bibliography Sources: 0  ·  File: .docx  ·  Level: College Senior  ·  Topic: Literature

SAMPLE EXCERPT . . .
We therefore live his life more or less chronologically from his 50 years until his death. The story seems to enfold like the desultory quality of life as it is being lived. There seems to be little consideration of formal ordering and coherence in the structure of the novel.

In Part One the omissions and inconsistencies in the details of the story suggest that Cervantes hardly revised anything he wrote. There are references back to previous experiences but rarely any sign of forward planning by Cervantes. Don Quixote is an episodic novel with many of its incidents being susceptible to being re-ordered into a different sequence.

The plots and characters in the novel seem to be gradually discovered by the author as the story progresses. There is a slight modification of the characters as the novel progresses through Part Two. Knight and squire have an effect on each other (Sancho Panza becomes less stupid for instance. An aspect of sequence in the novel can be seen in the growing relationship between knight and squire).

Suddenly, towards the end of Chapter 8 (after 'The Adventure of the Windmills'), Cervantes calls upon the services of a mysterious document by an Arabic historian, Cide Hamete Benengeli. The 'Freeze-Frame'

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Threes is a remarkable episode in the novel when Cervantes suddenly suspends the action of a battle between Don Quixote and a Basque Squire, by claiming that, at this point his own manuscript abruptly came to an end, and that he had no record of the result of the fight. The action is left frozen while the author goes at some pains to tell us how he came across an Arabic manuscript in a market in Toledo, which he purchased and got translated. By way of remarkable coincidence the manuscript turns out to be the very continuation of the narrative by one - Cide Hamete Benengeli. On the first sheet of the old Arab parchment

Was a very life like picture of Don Quixote's fight with the Basque. Both were shown in the very postures the story describes, with swords aloft, the one covered by his shield, the other by his cushion'.

Term Paper on Don Quixote Is Among the Assignment

The author then resumes the narrative after an extraordinary three and a half pages of freeze-frame. Cervantes tells us that the Arab 'nation is known for its lying propensities' and thus allows his history to be unreliable. Truth, fiction, 'enchantment' and points-of-view are recurring themes in the book. (Cohen - Part 1: Chapter 9, pp 75-78. Cide Hamete Benengeli)

Cervantes incorporated reactions to his first part of DON QUIXOTE in the second part of the novel itself. DON QUIXOTE and S. become to know about the publication of their own life story and Sancho wonders how the historical biographer could have known the truth about matters, which happened to the two adventurers when they were alone.

DON QUIXOTE assures Sancho that their biographer must have been some enchanter, which lets Cervantes off the hook regarding the tension between truth and fiction. They discuss their 'History' at length with the bachelor Sampson Carrasco and discuss its 'truth'. Sampson says:

The poet can relate and sing things, not as they were but as they should have been, without in any way affecting the truth of the matter.'

Through the three characters - DON QUIXOTE, Sancho and Sampson - Cervantes reviews and criticizes his own book. There is even a reference to one of Cervantes' errors of continuity, regarding the loss of Santo's ass. (Cohen - Part II: Chapter 2, pp 484-494.) spurious second part of DON QUIXOTE was published in 1614 by one called Avellaneda. While writing his second part Cervantes must have seen Avellaneda's copy in 1614 and begins to mention him in his own version in Chapter 59 of his own Part II. Avellaneda's book may have caused Cervantes to rush through the writing of his second part. (Cohen - Part II: Chapter 59, p850-854.)

Don Quixote and other characters in the novel also narrate. The variety of narrative techniques in Don Quixote is remarkable. We find theatrical performances, narrative competitions, wedding rituals, and fairground mumming, enacted personal histories, and epic poetry. Each embedded performance has its self reflexive elements, each tells us something of the nature of narrative, each helps to produce the text, and is an integral part of Don Quixote.'

Like Chaucer's Canterbury Tales we have a series of interpolated stories told by the various characters in the novel. There is a 'Goatherd's Story; a priest tells 'The Tale of Foolish Curiosity'; the captive tells the story of his Life and Adventures in 'The Captive's Tale'; the Countess of Trifaldi also tells a sad story.

The story of Don Quixote's deeds includes the stories of those he meets on his journey. Don Quixote witnesses the funeral of a student who dies as a result of his love for a disdainful lady turned shepherdess. He frees a wicked and devious galley slave, Gines de Pasamonte, and unwittingly reunites two bereaved couples, Cardenio and Lucinda, and Ferdinand and Dorothea. Torn apart by Ferdinand's treachery, the four lovers finally come together at an inn where Don Quixote sleeps, dreaming that he is battling a giant.

Along the way, the simple Sancho plays the straight man to Don Quixote, trying his best to correct his master's outlandish fantasies. Two of Don Quixote's friends, the priest and the barber, come to drag him home. Believing that he is under the force of an enchantment, he accompanies them, thus ending his second expedition and the First Part of the novel.

The Second Part of the novel begins with a passionate invective against a phony sequel of Don Quixote that was published in the interim between Cervantes's two parts. Everywhere Don Quixote goes his reputation-gleaned by others from both the real and the false versions of the story-precedes him.

As the two embark on their journey, Sancho lies to Don Quixote, telling him that an evil enchanter has transformed Dulcinea into a peasant girl. Undoing this enchantment, in which even Sancho comes to believe, becomes Don Quixote's chief goal.

Cervantes relates the story of Don Quixote as a history, which he claims he has translated from a manuscript written by a Moor named Cide Hamete Benengeli. Cervantes becomes a party to his own fiction, even allowing Sancho and Don Quixote to modify their own histories and comment negatively upon the false history published in their names.

In the end, the beaten and battered Don Quixote forswears all the chivalric truths he followed so fervently and dies from a fever. With his death, knights-errant become extinct. Benengeli returns at the end of the novel to… [END OF PREVIEW] . . . READ MORE

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