Course Date Exploring the varying perceptions of Honor in Don Quixote The list of literary world’s most influential works and the history of Spanish Golden Age would be incomplete without the mentioning of Don Quixote…
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It was a path defining novel that laid the foundation of the modern western literature and introduced a plethora of new terms, narration methods and authoring styles that the literary world is benefitting from till date. Outwardly Don Quixote can be termed as satirical and a parody but actually it entails thought provoking and theological themes such as the importance of preserving personal honor in a way that it encourages personal growth and benefits humanity. Honor is discussed comprehensively in Don Quixote and encompasses the entire structure of this novel. It is the main force that provokes the protagonist Don Quixote/Don Quijote to embark on an adventurous journey. This paper explores that in Don Quixote Cervantes stressed on highlighting the abstract or idealistic concept of honor, and urged that honor should be understood as an inherent characteristic instead of Honra, that is, a socially compliable reputation. Many characters in Don Quixote are striving for conserving personal honor according to their own motives, which are greatly driven by the socially constructed codes of nobility. Cervantes, however, attempted to present honor in its core essence, which is abstract or idealistic, and established characters that endorsed both the customary and idealistic concept of nobility to explain the difference. ...
Quixote believed that an integral rule for upholding honor is to place a “barrier between “inclinations and virtue” (Cervantes 752). The other characters are mostly concerned about personal honor only to exist nobly in the society since in Cervantes’ era honor was visualized as an expression of external status and constitutively personal sense of honor was directly proportional to the inherited social role. Some characters that endorsed this facet of honor were Sancho Panza, the Duke and Duchess and Anselmo. Sancho Panza expected a reward for his services that would gain him honor and a noble status in society. This motive exhibits a materialistic approach and Sancho’s thirst for material wealth becomes evident from the first few adventures. The Duke and the Duchess were malicious aristocrats who believe that personal honor can be sustained by degrading those who did not match their status. They humiliated Quixote and considered him as an object of amusement that provided them relief from the otherwise serious political environment. Anselmo believed that verifying his wife’s chastity was important because for him personal sense of honor could be contended only by following the socially imposed rules. He tested his wife Camilla so that he “shall be able to say that… the virtuous woman of whom the sage says 'Who shall find her?' has fallen to my lot” (Cervantes 306). For Dorothea/Princess Micomicona honor served as an inherent characteristic and she rejected the externally implicated social pressures of nobility by choosing to stay in the mountains after being abandoned by Don Fernando. She preferred “the society of rocks and brakes” over “that of any human being” because it
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It was after the publication that novel came to stay as a powerful form of literature. Don Quixote in 1605 was a landmark in the history of Spanish literature. It brought the author immediate popularity. Cervantes began Don Quixote as a burlesque of already exaggerated but really preposterous deeds of chivalric heroes.
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