Tuesday, January 03, 2006

Don Quixote

Read an abridged version of Don Quixote and a few critiques on that. Surely a piece of literature that has survived this long and been translated into almost all languages should have something in it. I remember reading the original a few years ago as a tale of a mad knight and his squire and couldnt finish it since only one volume was available. Btw, imagining all the books I must have read without realising the true meaning of is a scary thought.

Don Quixote is this stupid, well meaning, idealistic old gentleman who is drunk with visions of a chivalrous and honor-based society and sets out to be a knight-errant. Was it madness ? or was it another form of wisdom that declares war in defence of one's ideals ?

He fails miserably though and ends up in his deathbed as a chastened person. Even his squire Sancho is not a convert to his idealism. After becoming a reasonable man, he loses all his reasons to live. A critic refers to this as the world's betrayal of an idealist for the sake of materialism. No wonder, when the Cuban revolution ended, the first book printed and distributed by the Government was Don Quixote. They read a communist message in this book !

The question is: Why did Don Quixote end in a tragic failure ? will Quixotic fervor help in solving any problem facing society? Cervantes' greatness as an author lies in the fact that Don Quixote endears himself to the reader without once having to explain his ideals and despite all his foolish antics. This book reads like an appeal to that little bit of idealist in everyone to be Quixotic once a while.

1 comment:

Gokulakrishnan S said...

Maybe Manjunath was a modern day Don Quixote :(