April 16, 2013
The comedy in Chivalry
The historical adulteration of chivalry in Don Quixote by Cervantes ties in to its literary parody. Don Quixote parodies the anticipation of chivalric affection: lone knights had lost their military essence. The dominant classes still served the ideology of chivalry. The loss chivalry can be tied into the War of the Alpujarras. The knights, the caballeros de cuantia, were obligated to keep their horse and armor ready for serving the king, but slowly and shamefully they were unprepared. The knight’s individual language of knightly service represents the parody realism of chivalry as foolish as Don Quixote could fantasize about. Also, The knight’s materialistic behavior and desire of self-interest represented the character Sancho Panza. Don Quixote has read about chivalric romance and he tried to imitate the knights-errant. This is comical, because he had such a since of mission. These knights that he was trying to imitate were so far from being chivalric, yet he thought otherwise. The armor that the knights used to wear was for military purposes, but while going on his missions through La Mancha, he made sure to have his armor on. This was strange to the La Mancha town’s people, because wearing armor did not necessarily mean that knight was chivalric. Chivalry was long dead, and people only knew of it through books; it was not a practice they were used to. Don Quixote attempted to bring back this practice, and this draws attention to the interlude between social hierarchy and the principles that it sustained. This story of Don Quixote is a burlesque epic of the chivalry romance. Cervantes tried to teach the readers the sincerity by creating a ridiculous comedy my mocking and ridiculing the time period. Cervantes first shows how the protagonist’s noble knightly manner is old fashioned. The comedy is easy to understand, because the dynamics of the story are simple. Don Quixote tries to act out what he has read in the stories, for example, he lets prostitutes pamper him, because he says that they are princesses. In chapter three, he lets the innkeeper properly knight him, because he has not yet been knighted yet. Don Quixote thought that it was a knight’s duty to protect the citizens, so another comical scene in the novel is when Don Quixote tries to save a boy from being beaten from his master. Don Quixote tried to revolve the conflict, and he felt satisfied when he rode off on his horse; but little did he know is that the master beat the worker boy even worse after Don Quixote had left. “We can define comedy as something that entertains the reader and that makes us want to laugh out loud and Cervantes succeeds in doing this through his use of parody and satire and burlesque, slapstick and simple self-reflexive comedy.” Along with the comedy, Cervantes uses adventures and shock through Don Quixote’s character to further entertain. Don Quixote had intervals of lucidity and moments of insanity. A moment of insanity is when he used the galley slaves to help fight off the guards so that he could reach his princess. Don Quixote freed the galley slaves, and in return the galley slaves beat Don Quixote, and left him. “Cervantes places particular emphasis on the comedy of appearance, comedy of situation and the comedy of action during Don Quixote’s adventures and it is the use of these devices that makes the story so humorous from beginning to end.” The theme of appearance is used to show the burlesque role of chivalry in the story. The material appearance of Don Quixote and his horse Rocinante, as well as Don Quixote’s vision on the banal places he stumbles upon proceeded to generate the foundation for laughter. The fact that Don Quixote had used cardboard as a visor showed in itself the humor from the description of his appearance. Not only did he use cardboard, he held his helmet together by green ribbons, and when the innkeeper had asked him to take his helmet off he said no, because taking it off would make the helmet fall apart.