Lecture 10 - Don Quixote, Part I: Chapters XXXVI-LII

author: Roberto González Echevarría, Yale University
recorded by: Yale University
published: Sept. 28, 2012,   recorded: September 2009,   views: 2383
released under terms of: Creative Commons Attribution No Derivatives (CC-BY-ND)
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González Echevarría starts by commenting on three of the returns and repetitions (characters who reappear and incidents that, if not repeated, recall previous incidents) that take place at the end of part one of the Quixote and which give density to the fiction: the galley slaves, Andrés, and the postprandial speech or the speech on arms and letters. Don Quixote's insanity not only gives him a certain transcendence, but also shows the arbitrariness of laws, which causes their rejection by society and other characters' insane behavior. González Echevarría comments on the intersection between literature and history before moving on to the captive's tale, the culmination of those intertwined stories, in which religious conversion overcomes social barriers and transcends the neo-platonic convergence of opposites in Renaissance plots. With his creation of Don Quixote, the first hero-fugitive from justice in the Western tradition--a "highway robber," as the officer of the Holy Brotherhood calls him--Cervantes has created the first important novelistic protagonist drawn from the legal archives. His is the case of the insane hidalgo who set out to act out chivalric fantasies and in the process committed a series of crimes. And yet, he is the agent of Providence.

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