Don Quixote: Reality of Insanity
Miguel De Cervantes's "Don Quixote" is a well thought out satire of medieval romance novels. He illustrates the rotting of people's minds by creating a man who embarks on a fabricated knightly quest. An interesting fact is that Cervantes himself tried to write romances of chivalry, but did not succeed. Don Quixote's detachment from reality serves as a comical approach to a culture escaping from reality.
The pastoral romances of Cervantes's time were generally about knights embarking on quests to save chaste maidens, fight evil doers, and be greatly rewarded with valor. Don Quixote creates these characters with normal people he encounters along the way. In his mind, the prostitutes that he encounters at the inn become fair maidens, the windmills become giants, the sheep become armies, and he becomes a true knight. Don Quixote does not question his reality, but does not understand when people question him.
The question is Don Quixote de la Mancha crazy? At first, he has people laugh at him due to his interactions and reactions of his knightly quests. Eventually, people partake in his insanity. His loyal squire Sancho starts partakes in Quixote's craziness. Unfortunately, Sancho suffers physical punishment for his belief of Quixote's observations:
"Seeing the friar upon the ground, Sancho Panza slipped lightly from his mount and, falling upon him, began stripping him of his habit. The muleteers, however, were lads with no sense of humor nor did they know what all this talk of spoils and battles was about; but those inside the coach, they pounced upon Sancho, threw him to the ground, and proceeded to pull out the hair of his beard and kick him to a pulp. After which they went off, and left him stretched out there, bereft at once of breath...