Do you sympathize with the characters? Which ones, and why?
Maybe the only one with whom I sympathize is Sancho Pança. I like him, a simple man, witty and humorous, loyal and….has abundant proverbs in his head to be poured upon us! I think for Don Quixote, to live a Christian life is just an idea; mere theory. When his quire was beaten (I forgot in which scene :D) Don Quixote ran away ‘till he was sure everything is safe for him to help Sancho. His action was not correlated with his principle. On the contrary, Sancho never hides the fact that he is a coward and hates physical battle, but in time of trouble, he left his precious Dapple and his own safety, and ran to save his master, who has caused him most of his ill-lucks. THAT is a true Christian!
What does the setting of the book tell you about the way human beings are shaped?
- In his frenzy, Don Quixote is carrying noble ideals to save the oppressed, but most of the people he meets cannot see it, they only see his absurd appearance and madness, and take him only as a madman. We are often deluded by appearances and our own ideas, and forget to delve deeper.
- Idea could perhaps be the most powerful tool to shape our civilization. It can bring us to the truth or deludes us to the false; only grab it literally without finding the truth would be very dangerous, for ourselves and for others.
Did the writer’s times affect him?
Very much! Because Cervantes wrote is mostly from his own experience, which showed us Spain in the early 17th century era. Cervantes joined the Spanish army, and it is believed to be the source of his knight-errantry and chivalric idealism.
What exactly is the writer telling you?
I think Cervantes wanted to portray the decreasing idealism of knight-errantry principles he was facing at his era. Morality has been decreasing in the tumult of new era, and people have failed to keep the true Christian values.
In what sense is the book true?
Modernism, in any era or century, brings also moral corruption to a society as a side effect. And it is depicted in this satirical romance as well.