Courage and Fear in Don Quixote

Jamie Breyfogle and Dr. Tatevik Gyulamiryan, Department of Modern and Classical Languages, Hope College, PO Box 9000, Holland, Michigan 49422-9000

Miguel de Cervantes, one of the most celebrated authors of all time, fought heroically on behalf of the Spanish Empire in the Battle of Lepanto in 1547. Having exhibited unparalleled gallantry in service to an empire that glorified bravery, he expected that his valor would be celebrated upon his return and he would be heavily rewarded. However, after five years in captivity in Algiers he returned home only to discover that his participation in war was long forgotten and his heroism irrelevant. Cervantes’s disillusionment with society gave birth to the emotional depiction of his famous characters Don Quixote and Sancho Panza. Don Quixote, in an attempt to embody an idealized image of a knight-errant, exaggerates the definitions of courage as seen in the chivalric statutes of medieval periods, while Sancho Panza represents cowardice and fear, which were seen as dishonorable and despicable. Despite their appearances, however, neither character is a good representation of these chivalric notions. With a behavioral analysis of Don Quixote and Sancho Panza and through the lens of the medieval code of chivalry, I argue that Cervantes is trying to convey a more realistic picture of the emotional bearings of a knight/soldier to contest the unrealistic idealization of soldiers in the seventeenth-century Spain.

Additional Abstract Information

Presenter: Jamie Breyfogle

Institution: Hope College

Type: Poster

Subject: Linguistics & World Languages

Status: Approved

Time and Location

Session: Poster 8
Date/Time: Tue 5:00pm-6:00pm
Session Number: 5544