Critical Essays Purpose of Don Quixote


Cervantes himself states that he wrote Don Quixote in order to undermine the influence of those "vain and empty books of chivalry" as well as to provide some merry, original, and sometimes prudent material for his readers' entertainment. Whether or not the author truly believed the superficiality of his own purpose is immaterial; in fact, Cervantes did make a complete end to further publications of chivalric romances. Despite the harmful extravagances of these novels, this form of writing has one advantage over more truthful literary forms, Cervantes writes in the latter section of Part I, for chivalry "offers a wide and spacious meadow through which the pen may run without any hindrance." Perhaps Don Quixote owes his genesis to these notions of his author. But as Cervantes launches his idealistic and possessed hero on a career open to public contempt, the possibilities of a many-leveled, kaleidoscopic theme must have become apparent very early.