Don quixote and le morte d art

Essay by EssaySwap ContributorHigh School, 12th grade February 2008

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In Malory's literature, men were knights, ladies were damsels, and magic was preponderant. By the time that Cervantes wrote Don Quixote, men got real jobs, the innocent damsel had become a myth, and magic was reduced to superstition.

These works both examine the chivalric ideal: "physical prowess, courtesy, truth in love and friendship, tenderness, humility, gentleness" (The Legend of Arthur in British & American Literature, p. 65) and remark much on it. While they both find this ideal to be too much for a man to maintain, they express it in different ways. Malory's knights are generally chivalrous, but sometimes deviate from the righteous path. His opinion is that men are incapable of being wholly magnanimous at all times. Cervantes' character is always noble and always courageous… but is also mentally ill. This paper will discuss both authors' point of view on the institution of chivalry.

Le Morte d'Arthur and Don Quixote are very dissimilar in many ways.

The first is a tragedy, the second a comedy. Le Morte d'Arthur is a compilation of several dozen smaller stories, each written with an individual focus on one central character. Don Quixote is one story written around one character, Don Quixote. Malory's work is filled murder, death, and violence, while in Cervantes' piece, no one is killed, all injuries are recoverable, and all the violence is mitigated by a touch of absurdity.

But these two pieces are very similar in that they both are about multi-faceted characters who succumb to temptation, act rashly, and make bad decisions. These types of realistic characters aren't very often seen in genuine tales of chivalry. The stories Malory used as a basis and those that Cervantes spoofed were about knights who were larger than life, and therefore never felt tempted, or acted rashly. They were above...