With all of the humor in Don Quixote, it can be easy to lose sight of the fact that this book is chock full of violence. We're barely a quarter into the thing before the Don gets half of his teeth knocked out by rocks hitting him in the face, and Cervantes never spares us the gory details when Don Quixote and Sancho are lying on the ground with bloody faces and broken ribs.
Whether we notice these things or whether we ignore them because we're too busy laughing, there's no denying that there are clear physical consequences to Don Quixote's madness. It's actually amazing that it's a fever that ends up killing him, when you think of all the other times in this book when he probably should have died.
Questions About Violence
- Before you checked out this theme section, did you think of Don Quixote as a violent book? Why or why not?
- Do you think that this book ever becomes cartoonish or unrealistic in its portrayal of violence, or does it always show clear consequences to Don Quixote's actions?
- Does Cervantes make enough of an effort to show the true human cost of Don Quixote's actions? Does the novel pay proper respect to all of the people (or animals) Don Quixote wounds and harms throughout the book? Why or why not?
Chew on This
In Don Quixote, Cervantes gives us a realistic description of what would happen to someone who actually went out into the world and tried to be a knight.
In Don Quixote, Cervantes does a poor job of showing the physical consequences of madness.