Lecture 23 - Don Quixote, Part II: Chapters LXXI-LXXIV

author: Roberto González Echevarría, Yale University
recorded by: Yale University
published: Sept. 28, 2012,   recorded: December 2009,   views: 2184
released under terms of: Creative Commons Attribution No Derivatives (CC-BY-ND)
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González Echevarría focuses on the end of the Quixote. He starts referring to Cervantes' humor, which allows us to see humanity in contrast to the mad hero and thus appreciate everyone's folly. The novel's plot, with Don Quixote's repeated returns home, suggests that life consists of going and coming back, and this is probably why we approach the end by returning to the beginning. In his last return home Don Quixote has conquered himself. By accepting his defeat by the Knight of the White Moon, who is a reflection of himself, he accepts himself for what he is. In the process of returning, Cervantes has underlined that reality has become fictionalized in Part II independently of Don Quixote. Cervantes is aware that his hero, as we see in Sancho's comments at the last inn, belongs to the great fictions of the ages. The Quixote closes in three ways, corresponding to a three-part conception of the worlds in which Don Quixote lives: Don Quixote is defeated; he regains his sanity; and he dies. Death is necessary in the novel, as it is a form of closure that everyone understands. A reference to Unamuno's, Borges' and Picasso's visions of Don Quixote ends this lecture.

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