In Miguel de Cervantes' classic novel Don Quixote de la Mancha, a necessary counterpart to Don Quixote's character is found in Sancho Panza. Sancho is Don Quixote's so-called squire and companion through his adventures. The vital contrast between these two characters contributes to the literary success of Cervantes' novel. It is only through the eyes of Sancho that we witness Don Quixote's madness and only through the latter's madness that we evidence Sancho's sanity. Without the presence of these complementary characters, the story of Don Quixote would not exist as it does. Cervantes' masterpiece is known for the eccentric character of Don Quixote and his insane adventures and travels through Spain. The first part of the novel was published in 1605 and the second in 1615. The novel became widely popular and is today considered one of the greatest literary achievements of all time. In Cervantes' novel, Don Quixote becomes entranced with the romances of chivalry by reading books. He sets out on his own quest for the woman of his affection: Dulcinea. With the help of Sancho Panza, his sidekick, he has many imaginary adventures in which he draws others into his fantasies. Sancho attempts to reveal Quixote's eccentricity and Quixote, in turn reveals Sancho's inability to imagine.
A prime example of this contrast in perception is evident from the moment Sancho and Don Quixote meet. Sancho is but a peasant when Don Quixote enlists his help. "[Don Quixote] used so many arguments, an made so many promises, that the poor fellow resolved to sally out with him and serve him in the capacity of a squire" (Cervantes, 32). Don Quixote convinces Sancho of his nobility and Sancho, initially realizing the insanity of Quixote's claims, lays doubt to his proclamations. Sancho is "shallow-brained" but still must be persuaded by Don Quixote before leaving with him (32). In Sebastian Juan Arbo's biographical study of Cervantes, he provides insight into this contrast: "Each defends...
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