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View Diary: Books That Changed My Life—Don Quixote (39 comments)

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  •  One thing that really bugs me about (6+ / 0-)

    how Don Quixote is seen nowadays is that the play and the movie have portrayed him as this wonderful idealist.

    When he's actually a rather silly old man.

    At the time when Cervantes wrote DQ, the hot trend was idealizing the Medieval period in Europe. The age of Romance with a capital R! Knights and their ladies fair! Chivalry!

    Well, anyone who knows anything about actual medieval history knows that most knights were one step above armed thugs. They clobbered anyone who got in their way, treated the peasants like dirt, tore around Europe slaughtering and raping whenever and where ever their liege lord dictated.  Might meant right. Not much niceness involved.

    Cervantes knew this and it bugged him. So he created the Don as a chivalry enthusiast who totters all over the place convinced that he's a knightly hero, causing all sorts of problems, annoying people no end, doing really idiotic things...and if my memory serves me, even actually a bit of a dirty old man.

    Cue the play. My high school choir actually sang excerpts, so I know most of the words to Impossible Dream, Dulcinea and the oft-overlooked One Kind of Man is Like Another.  I later saw DQ as he is portrayed by Peter O'Toole: bewildered, not-terribly effective, but heroically kind and idealistic.

    Not quite Cervantes intent. He intended DQ to be someone who should be mocked....we've switched that to someone who should be admired  

    Freedom has two enemies: Those who want to control everyone around them...and those who feel no need to control themselves.

    by Sirenus on Fri Aug 16, 2013 at 01:07:37 PM PDT

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