Character Analysis of Two Books: Cervantes’ Don Quixote and Dante’s Inferno

Don Quixote, the protagonist of Miguel de Cervantes’ Don Quixote, is a peerless knight who traverses the countryside of Spain while executing mighty feats. His first adventure is a failure, but he embarks on another, this time with his newly discovered squire Sancho Panza by his side. Don Quixote offers to convert Panza into a rich governor of an island in exchange for his services. He’s got his helmet, his trustworthy sword, body armor, and his ever-faithful horse with him. Together with Sancho, the two embark on a once-in-a-lifetime journey. In the story, one would best characterize Don Quixote as an idealist. He appears to be in his own world far from the ordinary. He is basically insane. He has read a lot of books on knight errantry such that he believes he himself is a valiant knight in combat with enchanters. Sancho in sharp contrast appears to be the “normal” party.

Despite the fact that Don Quixote is portrayed to be a normal individual who lives with both his niece and housekeeper, he lacks purpose in his life. The widespread corruption that exists in his societies causes conflict between him and his community. As a result he creates his own norms, beliefs and ideologies that he adheres to as he looks for spiritual meaning in the romantic chivalry novels that he constantly reads. He becomes lost deep within his illusionary world. His counterpart Sancho is the direct opposite of Don Quixote. He is a peasant who lives with his family in a tiny farm. In my opinion I think that the nature of the relationship that exists between these two parties can best be described as being a symbiotic relationship. They both needed each other to thrive and survive. Theirs is the simplest and purest examples of friendship.

We see Sancho in many instances pointing out the flaws in his master’s point of view and ideologies. For instance, he tries to tell his master that he is actually fighting windmills but not giants as he thinks.

Another element clearly visible in this text is the level of loyalty Sancho displays towards his master. He remains to be a devoted loyal servant to his master. In the text, we are told that most of the time Sancho bared the punishment that came about as a result of Don Quixote’s behavior. Don Quixote’s insanity caused him to do crazy things. Sancho was always ready to take the heat on his behalf. He truly was a gem sent from heaven.

From the excerpt, Sancho is portrayed as an unintelligent individual. We see him in the story mispronouncing several common English words only to be corrected by his master. “He was a good man but without much in the way of brains.” Moreover, he decides to leave everything behind and follow his newly found master blindly. The once simple peasant has been transformed into a squire ready to traverse new heights. Slowly by slowly, Sancho is sucked into Don Quixote’s world. “If you ask me master I would say that the best thing for your grace is to run his sword down the mouth of this one; maybe by doing so you would be killing one of your enemies.” This is the extract in the text where he goes on to persuade his master to commit murder.

It is also important to note that during their expeditions Sancho plays the straight man to his boss. He does his best to continuously correct his master’s outlandish fantasies. This clearly depicts true friendship. He struggles between displaying his love for his master and keeping up with his own reality. I think that a good friend is that particular individual who corrects his counterpart in the event he or she strays. It is not about resonating or praising a person while it is evident that the decision he or she is about to make will lead to their downfall. We should all strive to emulate this type of relationship.

Don Quixote’s could also be described as being chaste and honest. He convinces a couple of wily lodgers to pay their inn keeper. He is also capable of sincere gratitude. We see him standing at the road crossing in order to recommend the maidens of the new Arcadians. We also see him giving advice to the penurious basil on the strategies that he could employ in order to keep his new wife. Another instance in the excerpt involves counseling Sancho on how to be a good dependable governor. He is basically loved by the inhabitants of his village.

Their relationship is one founded on love and affection such that they always make up even though they get angry with each other from time to time. Ideally, all relationships should borrow a leaf from Don Quixote and Sancho’s. They stuck together until their downfall. From another perspective, I think that Don Quixote’s conflict is further enhanced by Sancho.

To some extent, it appears that Sancho used Don Quixote Don to achieve his personal objectives. “He had been watching the battle attentively and praying to God in his heart to give the victory to his master in order that he might gain some island where he could be governor as it had been promised by him.” Instead of him preventing Don Quixote from pursuing his foolish acts he leaves him to go into combat with his adversaries. He ends up being battered badly. Sancho says, “I myself am a peaceful disposition and not fond of meddling in the quarrels and feuds of others.”

As this mind-boggling piece of work comes to a conclusion, we see this relationship that began as common relationship between two adventurous individuals being transformed into a lifetime commitment. Don Quixote attempts to force his relationship with Sancho to adhere to his convoluted theories but his efforts were in vain. Sancho would remain a true friend to his compatriot through thick and thin.

In Dante’s Inferno, the relationship between Virgil and Dante is one that constantly changes. By critically studying the transformational nature of their relationship one is able to fathom the mindset of Dante. As the story commences we see Dante clearly looking up to his mentor Virgil. He holds his with utmost respect and esteem because of his literary genius. He follows him closely and is eager to improve his status. Slowly by slowly Dante is sucked into Virgil’s way of life. Within no time he becomes spiritually enlightened. As the story progresses we see Dante rising to a higher spiritual level than his counterpart Virgil. He rises to an entirely different status. He begins to develop conflicting ideologies to Virgil his mentor. Soon he realizes that he is free thinker. He no longer required the aid of his master. The servant had now become the master. He now wants to be an independent being.

The aftermath is actually devastating. Their relationship is transformed from being a mentor pupil relationship to being two autonomous independent individuals. There exist several elements that are similar between these two excerpts. First in both books, one party (the servant) starts from a subordinate level before being transformed to the same or even a higher level to their counter parts.

Secondly, as both story begins we observe that the two servants are extremely loyal and look up to their mentors. They are portrayed to be sources of motivation and inspiration for the mentors. The third element is that in both situations we see the servants developing conflicting ideologies to their masters. In Sancho’s case although he constantly encouraged Don Quixote his master to go into war with his adversaries he himself did not physically participate in these battles he claims that personally he is a reserved individual. Similarly in Dante’s case when he developed expertise in certain matters he began developing his unique set of conflicting ideologies.

The existing difference in these two excerpts is that in Don Quixote’s case, Sancho still requires his master aid to continue to thrive in his endeavors. His demise leaves him conflicted. In sharp contrast Dante develops into an independent party, a free thinker ready to take on the world alone.

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