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Soon the proofs multiply; for the clown-blows that continue to rain upon Don Quixote in Part One cannot hold him from his organic growth.With Part Two, written ten years later, the blows and buffets are less frequent.
Meantime, there is the tale to tell—with much laughter—of his absurd adventures.
Cervantes wishes to mock this medieval scarecrow jousting against the Modern.
It is clear that some day his madness will discomfit him entire.
At which time he will be forced to return to his poor house where the good nurse and the niece will staunch his wounds, bathe the dust from his eyes and put him to bed.
So here, Don Quixote will have his knightly spell of penitent madness, in anguish of his absent lady love. And there was the wistful melancholy way of Amadis.
Don Quixote is fifty: he elects the quieter madness.So Don Quixote is transfigured beyond the sprightly scheme and function of his maker.He was conceived and formed, as a broken writer’s bitter turning against his heroic soul and his heroic age: he becomes the Body of sublime acceptance—the triumphant symbol of what his misfortunes were to mock. And this is plain almost from the outset in the fact that the Manchegan knight, despite his author’s assurance, We had an inkling of this already in the too conscious, too ironic naming of Rocinante.This is the golden helmet of Mambrino; and as such Don Quixote takes it.But in the parley before and after, with Sancho Panza, it is plain that the knight accepts Sancho’s about the dish: he merely turns it, for his own purpose, into his knightly “truth.” In the Sierra Morena, Don Quixote resolves to follow a great tradition.Don Quixote is but the final name of the ingenuous knight of La Mancha.In Chapter One of his book, it is set forth that he was known as Quijada, Quesada or Quejana.Four chapters later a worker in the neighboring fields addresses him as Quijana and as such he made his will at the end of his last journey. Quixote (Quijote in modern Castilian) was the choice of the old man himself. He is a cadaverous, lantern-jawed, brittle-boned, deep-eyed fellow.And as Cervantes gives him birth, he is old—old for his fifty years in a frustrated Manchegan village. His naked house, one room of which is stocked with the chivalric books that have sucked his substance and addled his slight brains, is cared for by an old nurse and a young niece.” The reader will be aware of a curious shift in this Don Quixote’s madness: a note of self-conscious irony, not usually found in the insane upon the point of their mania.However, this strange madman to whom Cervantes introduces us seems at first consistently the creation of his author. He loses teeth as his molested countrymen lose tempers.