“Don Quixote de la Mancha: Thematic Analysis and Overview”
Every so often, a book is written that captures more than just ideas, but finds itself a cross-section of an entire society. Books like Les Miserables by Victor Hugo and The Brothers Karamazov by Fyodor Dostoevsky, or Huckleberry Finn by Mark Twain and Madame Bovary by Gustave Flaubert. Don Quixote de La Mancha by Miguel de Cervantes is one such book that serves to not only entertain, but show us a portrait of 16th century Spanish life and spark debate in philosophy, politics, and a plethora of other fields.
Miguel de Cervantes was born of a noble family in Spain in 1547. Little is known about his childhood and his education but he joined the Spanish army when he was about 23. During the Battle of Lepanto, Miguel was injured for life. As he was traveling home after his service in the army in 1575, he was captured by Barbary pirates and enslaved with fellow Christians in the Algiers. His attempted escapes failed and it was not until 1580 that his mother was able to pay his ransom. Miguel got married to Catalina de Palacios and began writing plays and poetry in 1584. Not making enough money by writing, Miguel became a tax collector for the Spanish Armada, but was imprisoned in 1597 because of a dishonest associate. In 1605, at the age of 58, Miguel wrote and published the first part of his masterpiece Don Quixote de la Mancha. The second part was published in 1615 and is usually considered superior to the first part. Miguel died a year after the second part of Don Quixote was published and is buried in the Convento de los Trinitarios in Madrid. This essay pertains only to the first part of Don Quixote de la Mancha.
The first part of Don Quixote de la Mancha explores many aspects found in the society of 16th Century Spain. In his book, Miguel explores the complexity of ethical and moral standards, the seperation of class and the validity of this seperation, and the nature of truth and...