Method To Madness Essay, Research Paper
Don Quixote: Method to Madness
Don Quixote is a middle-aged gentleman of La Mancha who reads one too many books of chivalry and decides to become a knight. He polishes an old suit of armor, takes a peasant named Sancho Panza as his squire, and sets out into the world to do good deeds in the name of his love, Dulcinea. To the concern of friends from his village, he has dozens of hapless adventures: he rescues prisoners, defends the weak, and reunites old loves. He also battles enemy knights and soldiers. His only problem is that he often gets things wrong, mistaking strangers for enemies, falling off his horse, and being beaten senseless by mule-drivers. He blames every failure on the magic of an evil enchanter he believes to be his nemesis.
Everywhere he goes, Don Quixote sees the everyday as the legendary: he confuses inns for castles, windmills for giants, and prostitutes for princesses. These misinterpretations often make him the center of other people’s jokes: a duke and a duchess play tricks on him, even Sancho and his friends the barber and the priest try to fool him for his own good from time to time. But just as often, Don Quixote’s vision of the world asserts itself in the lives of those around him, and those who begin by mocking him end by following his example. A young student named Sampson Carrasco first poses as the Knight of Mirrors and does battle with Don Quixote as a jest, but when he loses, he dedicates himself to revenge and becomes the Knight of the White Moon, who will finally end the great hero’s career.
Don Quixote travels throughout Spain, from La Mancha and the Sierra Morena to Barcelona, stopping at countless inns and villages along the way. He befriends goatherds and gentlemen, and his story is written as a history . The knight is sometimes triumphant, as in the battle with the Knight of Mirrors, and sometimes ridiculous, helplessly trampled by cattle or pigs as the result of some misadventure. But in each of his exploits, he ignores social convention and remains faithful to his fantastic vision of the world. When he finally renounces chivalry on his deathbed, his once-skeptical friends beg him to reconsider, and even the practical Sancho Panza longs to resume their adventures. Though he is out of place and often ludicrous, Don Quixote’s innate goodness and unwavering commitment to chivalry persuade those around him that his madness is profound.
Man of La Mancha, written by Dale Wassermann, is a powerful blend of tragedy, romance, comedy, and adventure which moves its audience through the entire spectrum of emotion. While the ravaging of Aldonza may challenge the limits for the faint of heart, it is a “must have” theatrical experience for all.
Wassermann?s Don Quixote De La Mancha (based on Cervantes’ character, and in part on Cervantes himself) personifies romantic idealism (a state of mind that exists just this side of madness) in its purest form. Don Quixote?s Madness exemplifies ideals of romance, heroism in an attempt to bring back civility to the world. The story becomes an inspiration to pursue our personal quests with unfailing dedication, unbridled optimism, unwavering courage, and unparalleled chivalry.
Man of La Mancha is not the easiest of constructs: it features a play within a play, with a third layer thrown in for good measure. Cervantes and an associate are brought to prison to await a hearing with the Inquisition. He is set upon by the prisoners, who decide to hold a mock trial in order to find him guilty and steal all his possessions (including a package he seems to value greatly). Cervantes presents a play as his defense, to give the “jury” insight into the “crimes” of which they accuse him. They agree, and become actors in his play. Cervantes plays Aldonza Quiana, a man who has set his own reality aside and become Don Quixote De La Mancha. Man of La Mancha simultaneously tracks the experiences of the three men (Cervantes, Quiana, and Quixote), focusing mostly upon Quixote. It can be confusing at first exposure, but with this framework in mind to lend additional clarity — it can be transformational.