The story by Miguel de Cervantes Saavedra Don Quixote is one of the most outstanding works in the world of literature for the whole history of its being. The thing is that the author was apt to include into this novel the main values or concepts for a good life. Cervantes inserted the idea of a better place under the sun. The idealism and idealistic urges of Don Quixote are underlined as stupid from first sight. However, a mature reader can indicate the hidden sides of Cervantes’s message to people. Trying to make dreams something that can make people happier and more proficient in the spread of love and patience, the author of Don Quixote performs all scenes with the protagonist in the light of human and rational approaches.
Delusions of Don Quixote intend him to follow the way of a real knight for the sake of high moral values. Some of such priorities outlined by the protagonists are altruism, brevity, and love. Serving to people and for people is the intention of Don Quixote which makes him delirious about making a change in life. The idealistic motives of the protagonist are shared to the full extent only by him. Sancho Panza serves as an obedient squire. He assists the protagonist but has no idea of the real intentions of the hero. Sancho just believes in the positive result of any among several actions by Don Quixote. He fears to step back somewhere from his senior and lets Don Quixote lead him in these fantastic adventures. This scene is greatly described in-kind request of Don Quixote on Sancho’s desire to follow him: “I am well pleased that you wish to avail yourself of my courage; it will not fail you, even though the soul in your body deserts you” (Cervantes 115). This episode represents the initial desire of the protagonist to change life for the better. This fact gives more emphasis that behind the delusions and unserious actions by Don Quixote and Sancho Pansa there is a ground for idealism, as it is.
First of all, the intention of Cervantes to show the nobility of actions in Don Quixote is already seen in describing the facts about the protagonist. He is a man of the middle ages. It is that age when people do not think about more exploits in life. It is the time when people please everything that they gain until this time. Moreover, in this period of peoples’ lives, the ideals change in terms of the gap of different times and generations. Thus, Don Quixote’s peers would like to criticize the society and world in which they are living, then do something to change life for the better. In this line, the protagonist differs. Logically he should stay at home with his family and live his life in happiness. However, he urges him criticizes such an attitude toward life. Don Quixote realizes that he has done little for humanity. One of the most eminent reflections of Don Quixote on the existence of ordinary people is concerned with slaves going to galleys:
As soon as Sancho saw them he said: “This is a chain of galley-slaves, people forced by the King to go to the galleys.”
“How! People forced?” answered Don Quixote. “Is it possible that King forces anybody” (Cervantes 101)?
This astonishing remark of the protagonist seems to be naïve from first sight. It is interesting to ask Don Quixote about the time in which he lived. Slaves were everywhere and dedication to the monarch was obligatory throughout the area of the kingdom. However, again there is a point on the main value reproduced by the hero of the novel. It is humane. In this simple word, there is a rich content of terms and requirements according to which people should live. It is a prerequisite for freedom which is inseparable for all human beings. It is a remark which the author himself represents in the novel. It is a value of peaceful and fair development in society. Dreaming is the way for the materialization of hopes. It is the way for making transparent things more vivid and actual in real life. Don Quixote and Sancho Panza represent the example of suchlike dreamers. They are obliged to do the deeds which are needful for humanity.
In this respect, Don Quixote also wants to make people turn to love and duty. In the scene when a girl should marry some nobleman the protagonist once more explains the significance of such a remark. He outlines that the concept of freedom is equal for both men and women. Love is for those who want it. Such notes characterize the hero of Cervantes in his best motives of the heart. His imaginary Dulcinea is the object of his love and devotion to a woman. In his cries for love and passion Don Quixote represents a naïve but sincere claim:
Why am I so unhappy a knight that no damsel can gaze at me without falling in love? Why is the peerless Dulcinea so unlucky that she may not be permitted to enjoy alone my incomparable constancy (Cervantes 428)?
Living in dreams is better for a person who wants to be happier in life. This statement is familiar to Don Quixote. This character provides a scope of qualities that seem to be ridiculous for a reader. They seem to be devoid of sound-mindedness and rationality. However, Cervantes would not write this eminent and huge narration about a so-called knight serving for the highest ideals of life, if he did not have a clear idea about the reasons for this. The author promotes a message for every category of readers. This is the intention to serve better to be happy in life. In this point Cervantes is rational. Moreover, this rationality of his inner motivation is genuine. It is not true that for better living one needs a lot of money. Cervantes lived most of his life in poverty. However, he did not admit in his novel the need for money, so that to be happier.
Returning to the novel, there is one more implication of the protagonist’s righteousness and his understanding of the mission which should be undertaken. Don Quixote realizes that such a mandatory requirement to go through adventures is put on him by the Highest Power. The gorgeous coloring of his deeds is indicated. The author draws parallel lines with the protagonist’s and his desire to change the world starting with dreaming. Cervantes is not unique in making dreams as a stimulus for changes. One Japanese proverb states that a man without a dream has no future. Hence, Don Quixote does not fail in this case. The stories about chivalry generate in him the deepest feelings of his heart. He admires that he in person can do more than he presupposes. He admits also the brilliance in following the exploits of the greatest knights:
Pray to pardon me for having interrupted your story, but when I hear anything said about chivalry and knights-errant, I can no more keep from speaking of them than the sunbeams can help giving warmth or the moon moisture (Cervantes 123).
Cervantes wants to point out that by remaining idealistic in every beginning a man gains a “portion” of positive emotions which can outcome in positive deeds and exploits. Don Quixote demonstrates the author’s alter ego, in fact, due to the real sense of the values which lead the protagonist to entire humane, love, and goodness on the whole. The author describing the moments which seem to be very fun intends to pay attention to the seriousness with which Don Quixote goes when fighting with a monstrous giant. His adventure has more motivational coloring and less real results. In this Cervantes demonstrates that even being speechless and helpless to do something a man can do his best for society. This assumption makes the story about the man from La Mancha so illustrious and interesting for an ordinary reader. Furthermore, living in dreams does not necessarily mean forgetting the reality of life. It is the rational background for making real exploits with more intentions and primordial beliefs in life.
Cervantes, Miguel de Saavedra. Don Quixote. Translated by Walter Starkie. London: Signet Classic, 2003.