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Imagination and Importance of Dreams in Don Quixote

Natasha Cribbs

Dr. Sunni Thibodeau

World Literature to 1650

2 May 2013

Imagination and Importance of Dreams in Don Quixote

            Don Quixote is an interesting tale that combines dreams and imagination with reality. Each of those things are present in the story and play their parts in the tale. Don Quixote is a man who many say has gone insane. His insanity is affected by the chivalrous readings and writings that he participated in during his life. When Don Quixote breaks into his insanity, be believes that he is a Knight. His dreams are very important to him and his life at that time.

As a knight, Don needs many things. He needs armor, a steed, to be knighted, and many other things including to have a chivalrous purpose. The things he sees, however, are not what other people around him would see. Where Don sees great armor, others do not. Where he sees a wondrous steed, others will see a much worse off horse. Don also sees inn’s as castles and windmills as giants. He sees what he wants, more or less. His world is focused around his imagination that he has, due to the insanity.

Of all the things that Don Quixote has and requires, it is that chivalrous purpose the pushes Don throughout the story. It is a purpose he needs. Don requires a dream to keep him going. The thing about dreams, is that everyone has them. Humans strive to meet goals. They strive to live in a peaceful, good time. Dons’ insanity and imagination takes these human needs to a new level.

As a Knight, chivalry is a huge aspect of life. Chivalry was created during the medieval times. It was a system that the knights went by that attuned with a moral, religious, and social code. Knights are meant to be noble, honest, kind, and use their abilities for the better. During the tale, Don strives to accomplish those portions of being a knight. Another action that knights have been known to do is to attempt to get more renown and win a Lady’s affection as well as keep her in high standards. This is the biggest part of knighthood that presses Don in his imagination.

Don is not the only person that gets drawn in, though. His squire, Sancho, is pulled into the dream world that is cast. This proves that some people would want the same thing as Don. The notion of such a reality is inviting. This is the pull that imagination has on people that need a different reality.

In the light of the meaning that imagination and dreams can have some of the people, insanity might now always be bad to everyone. “I wish you would tell me now who is the crazier: the one who is so because he cannot help it, or he who turns crazy of his own  free will” (Cervantes, Miguel De, n.d.). Tome has asked this question to his master.  The answer was that one can stop being so, while the other person has to stay crazy. Of course it depends on if someone is really insane, and the desire to live in the real world.

At the end of Don Quixote, Don has to go back to his home without accomplishing his own meeting of The Lady. He is forced to let go of his fleeting dream that had became his own reality. The only problem with being brought back to reality, is what happens when someone looses their dream? Don is not just insane. He is living the life that he wants. He is in his own made up reality that is better than the real reality. He is saddened when he is brought back to the real reality. He is sad that he had lost himself in the first place as well as what that had brought on those around him.  Those who witness him when he realizes his insanity, believes that he is in a depressed and sorrowful state because he did not accomplish all that he had set out to do. It is quite likely. Don of course dies not too long after.

Dreams, imagination, and reality all play large roles in Don Quixote. Those three things show a form of human necessity and what happens in a situation formed with insanity, or the prospect of making imagination a reality. The word dream could be taken two different ways. The first is that it is something created with imagination. The second way it could be read is that it is a pursuit or goal that someone has. Don Quixote expresses what happens when someone has so much of both kinds of dream and how important it can be to someone.

Work Cited

Cervantes, Miguel De. “Don Quixote.” The Norton Anthology of Western Literature. 8th ed. Vol. 1. New York: W.W. Norton, 2006. 2221-349. Print.


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