Don Quixote – Losing Sanity While Searching for Meaning Essay

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Don Quixote – Losing Sanity While Searching for Meaning

Readers of Cervantes’ Don Quixote come away wanting one question answered: Is Don Quixote sane? The following is a detailed account of Quixote’s visit with a psychiatrist upon his return to his village. This incident was apparently not recorded in the original novel for fear that Quixote’s reputation might be tarnished. Documentation of his visit was recently recovered by researchers who discovered the incident in a psychiatrist’s manuscript. The practitioner was evidently very interested in the meeting as he transcribed the conversation word for word. The recovery of this important information reveals some shocking revelations about Quixote’s state of mind. The psychiatrist’s
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Quixote: Ay, sir. The finest occupation in the land.

Psychiatrist: Now I remember. Sancho told me about these fantasies of yours. To quote Cervantes: “These writings drove the poor knight out of his wits” (32). Oh, here’s an interesting passage: “From little sleep and much reading, his brain dried up and he lost his wits” (32). Why didn’t you tell me? This may be the root of your problem.

Quixote: Lack of sleep sir? I hardly think—

Psychiatrist: Let’s get back to the subject of knight errantry. Why did you venture off in the first place, deserting everything you had?

Quixote: I had to sir! It was my calling. I was “impelled by the thought of the loss the world suffered by my delay” (35).

Psychiatrist: I see.... So you feel personally responsible for the well-being of the entire world?

Quixote: I was given a gift of skill in battle; it is my duty to defend the weak and ensure justice.

Psychiatrist: How do you explain people’s belief that you are “mad”?

Quixote: They are simply unable to understand greatness.

Psychiatrist: There is one incident that still bothers me. You set convicts free. You let these convicted, terrible men loose. How can you explain this action?

Quixote: The men were being taken by force, not of their own free will. It was my duty to assist them.

Psychiatrist: You fail to understand that justice was being served. The horsemen were “only punishing them for their crimes” (171). Your inability to

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