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23. Don Quixote, Part II: Chapters LXXI-LXXIV

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Uploaded on Mar 1, 2011

Cervantes' Don Quixote (SPAN 300)

González Echevarría focuses on the end of the Quixote. He starts referring to Cervantes' humor, which allows us to see humanity in contrast to the mad hero and thus appreciate everyone's folly. The novel's plot, with Don Quixote's repeated returns home, suggests that life consists of going and coming back, and this is probably why we approach the end by returning to the beginning. In his last return home Don Quixote has conquered himself. By accepting his defeat by the Knight of the White Moon, who is a reflection of himself, he accepts himself for what he is. In the process of returning, Cervantes has underlined that reality has become fictionalized in Part II independently of Don Quixote. Cervantes is aware that his hero, as we see in Sancho's comments at the last inn, belongs to the great fictions of the ages. The Quixote closes in three ways, corresponding to a three-part conception of the worlds in which Don Quixote lives: Don Quixote is defeated; he regains his sanity; and he dies. Death is necessary in the novel, as it is a form of closure that everyone understands. A reference to Unamuno's, Borges' and Picasso's visions of Don Quixote ends this lecture.

00:00 - Chapter 1. Humor; Cervantes' Self Portraits
10:08 - Chapter 2. Repeated Returns Home
23:31 - Chapter 3. Why Endings are Important
34:30 - Chapter 4. Three Forms of Potential Closure
47:17 - Chapter 5. Unamuno's, Borges' and Picasso's Visions of Don Quixote

Complete course materials are available at the Open Yale Courses website: http://open.yale.edu/courses

This course was recorded in Fall 2009.

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