Blurred Lines Between Reality And Fiction In Don Quixote
Don Quixote contradicts the concept that only children are allowed to dream and use their imagination to see the world through their own reality. Every character in the story faces a constant battle between fantasy and reality, just as every single one of us at some point in our lives. In Don Quixote, Miguel de Cervantes beautifully blends the lines of reality and fiction. Cervantes blends these two so well that the reader is left wondering what is truly real.
One of the first and most notable uses of blurring technique comes from the “true” author of the story, as Cervantes claims to have only stumbled upon and translated the story of Don Quixote. In the prologue Cervantes says, “But though I seem to be the father, I am the stepfather of Don Quixote,” blurring the lines of reality by being unclear on who is writing it. By doing this, Cervantes becomes the mere messenger of the story. He also changes the whole dynamic of the story by commenting within the text. There is a parallel between the actual form in which the story is told and the story itself. Cervantes’ intention was to address the flaws of his society while simultaneously acknowledging those in Don Quixote.
The narrator also becomes a character within the book, as in the second part a student claims to have read of Don Quixote because his story has been written. Sancho tells Don Quixote, “I went to welcome him home and he told me that the history of your grace is already in books, and it’s called The Ingenious Gentleman Don Quixote of La Mancha; and he says that in it they mention me, Sancho Panza, by name,” making the book itself a plot for another part of the same story.
Don Quixote says: “… and when a person looks at this beauty, and not at that of the body, an intense and advantageous love is engendered.” Don Quixote’s altered sense of reality is caused by a refusal to settle for a dull life as well as a desire to view the world as it should be and not as it has been constructed by society. Don Quixote himself, the character is perceived as a madman although he is described as being very sane. The contrast of these two descriptions rises from Don Quixote’s perception of himself as a noble knight errant, inns as castles, whores as princesses; and yet he is often remarked as being incredibly philosophical and wise when remarking any subject other than knight errantry. He is repeatedly seeing the beauty in all simply by imagining it and shares his bizarre perspective with all, which creates a change in those he comes across, sometimes very evident and sometimes subtle.
Don Quixote offers us a panoramic view of society in Spain during the 1600’s with characters from all backgrounds and social classes and including various professions and lifestyles. This was crucial to the message of the story to not judge people by societal categories but by who they truly are. This form of perception allows him to imagine people in their full potential. In a sense everybody is insane, we all have our own realities, which we create through our experiences and beliefs. The most important question is: are you brave enough to live your own reality and encourage others to do the same in order to create a better world or are you cowardly conforming because you’re afraid to be described as a madman? As the genius himself once said: “When life itself seems lunatic, who knows where madness lies? Perhaps to be too practical is madness. To surrender dreams — this may be madness. Too much sanity may be madness — and maddest of all: to see life as it is, and not as it should be!”
- Cervantes, Saavedra M, and Edith Grossman. Don Quixote. , 2003. Print.
- “Don Quixote Quotes by Miguel De Cervantes Saavedra.” Goodreads, Goodreads