Assess The Strengths And Limit Essay Research

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Assess The Strengths And Limit Essay, Research Paper Assess the strengths and limitations of the view that Don Quixote is a funny book . This quotation is adapted from an article by P.E Russell in Modern Language Review, 64 ( 1969 ). To answer this essay question, first of all the reasons for supporting the view in the above quotation shall be examined. Secondly, the limitations of regarding Don Quixote as nothing more than comical shall be discussed. Finally a conclusion shall be reached in relation to the issues raised throughout the essay. For centuries Don Quixote has been a celebrated work for very different reasons. For this part of the essay we must assess the reasons for appreciating it as a funny book by looking at the main examples and types of humour that Cervantes

employs throughout his account of Don Quixote s adventures. Cervantes contemporaries certainly found the book very funny indeed. Felipe III commented on hearing somebody laughing hysterically, aquel estudiante, o esta fuera de si, o lee la historia de Don Quixote. ( quoted from, A Study of Don Quixote, Eisenberg, p.114 ). The King thought that the student laughing was either potty or was reading Don Quixote. The book is fundamentally a parody of the books of chivalry, which is why it was so comical for cultured readers of its day who despised this genre for its lack of verisimilitude and the fact that it appealed more to the senses than the intellect. This ridicule of books of chivalry is constant throughout Don Quixote. These books were guilty of patent excesses or disparates ,

for example they were commonly set in fantastical or faraway kingdoms such as North Africa or Asia. Cervantes mocks this fact by setting his fiction in contemporary Spain. His choice of the arid and sparsely populated plain of La Mancha as the place of origin of the adventures of Don Quixote is a clear reversal, to achieve a parodic effect, of what was typical in the books of chivalry. Cervantes parodies the classic chivalresque hero , who was far too idealised to be authentic, by creating a ridiculous equivalent protagonist for his own book. Instead of being a young, handsome knight, Alonso Quixano is an old man who is physically unattractive. He is enjuto de rostro , has a gaunt face, ( PI,cap 1,p.33 ); he rides an old rozin which is an ordinary horse and accentuates the

hilarity of this by naming him Rocinante ( PI,cap 1,p.38 ) as if he is now destined to be ante and claim precedence from all other ordinary horses. His helmet is made half of cardboard and is held on by ribbons (jhjf . Instead of being knighted by a king an innkeeper carries out this task and a prostitute, instead of a virgin, puts on his sword (kjgfThe credentials of our knight-errant are hardly compatible with the dashing young knights of the books of chivalry. Cervantes protagonist foolishly believes that choosing new names for himself and his horse, lady and friends is sufficient to establish himself as a knight. However his choice of names, in particular his own as Don Quixote de la Mancha are comical. Calling himself a Don is pretentious as he is promoting himself to a

higher grade of the nobility from gentleman ( hidalgo ) to knight ( caballero ). However unlike the knights in books of chivalry who were usually from foreign kingdoms, such as Amadis de Gaula, he is from La Mancha. This is hardly an exotic place of origin and of course a mancha is a stain, something quite inappropriate for a knight. Don Quixote s concept of chivalry is an exaggeration of the already distorted knight-errantry of the libros de caballeria . Chivalry for him basically signifies service to women. However it is not the case that the women actually need his help. For example, Dorothea pretends to be Princess Micomicona whose father s throne has been usurped and has been forced to flee her country. Don Quixote vows to go back to the princess kingdom and slay the giant.