19 April, 2013

Quixote: Man, Myth, My Future?

Don Quixote is a fictional character, first and foremost, and that's not even his real name. It's Alonso Quijano, and he has read so many chivalric novels that he gets it in his head that it's up to him to revive chivalry itself, under the name Don Quixote. It could also be said that his is a story of dementia. Either way, he's one of those characters I hold to be a hero, which, in and of itself, probably says more than I'd like about my own mindset. Stop judging.

So, long story short, he reads one too many romance novels (but really, is there such a thing?) and deems himself a knight-errant. Labeling his next door neighbor his squire, he dons a suit of armor and hijinks ensue, from beating the crap out of a couple of friars, to a hilarious misadventure that begins with traveling for a time with some goatherds, and ends with his horse trying to mate.

I don't know, that sounded better in my head.

In any event, the hint I gave yesterday ("We all have our windmills.") was referencing Quixote's first adventure, and, quite possibly, his most famous, in which he and his trusty squire charged into battle with what he thought were ferocious giants. In reality, they turned out to be...windmills. This brings up three things I want to mention, so first one, then the other, then the last.

Thing the first: A transcription of the passage.

    Just then they came in sight of thirty or forty windmills that rise from that plain. And no sooner did Don Quixote see them that he said to his squire, "Fortune is guiding our affairs better than we ourselves could have wished. Do you see over yonder, friend Sancho, thirty or forty hulking giants? I intend to do battle with them and slay them. With their spoils we shall begin to be rich for this is a righteous war and the removal of so foul a brood from off the face of the earth is a service God will bless."
              "What giants?" asked Sancho Panza.

    "Those you see over there," replied his master, "with their long arms. Some of them have arms well nigh two leagues in length."

    "Take care, sir," cried Sancho. "Those over there are not giants but windmills. Those things that seem to be their arms are sails which, when they are whirled around by the wind, turn the millstone."
    —Part 1, Chapter VIII. Of the valourous Don Quixote's success in the dreadful and never before imagined Adventure of the Windmills, with other events worthy of happy record.

Thing 2: Although I could not tell you where, I have seen my hint used as a metaphor throughout most of my literate life. (Take out "literate" and it would still be true.) I remember having to figure out what it meant on my own, at a young age. I've looked up the proper metaphor since then ("tilting at windmills"), but haven't bothered to change my own internal dictionary, as I managed to get rather close.

When one sees giants when looking at windmills, that means there is some sort of whimsy going on around the person, meaning that they're not necessarily over-exaggerating their problems, but they seem to be more grandiose than they actually are. An example of one of my windmills: writing. I'm scared to death that I'm not going to be able to come up with the next day's blog. At least with the A-to-Z Challenge, I have some sort of guidance, some sort of structure. What about the blog for 1 May? (Well, I won a Liebster award [thanks, J], so that's going up 1 May.) So...what about 2 May?

I'm scared to death that I've used up all of my good ideas. The problem isn't really as grandiose as I'm making it out to be. Yes, I'm out of ideas, but I've been able to come up with something to blog about every single day so far, and it's been pretty much by the seat of my pants. (KIBOSH. Need to wrap up. More later. [Hmmm. A meta-solution to my problem!])

Thing...C? Yeah. C: Don Quixote is not supposed to be an idiot. He's a very intelligent man, but for you D&D nerds out there, his intelligence is high, but wisdom is a dump stat. If you didn't get that reference, well, it's fairly self-explanatory, so tough. He is an avid reader, as made obvious in the second part of the first book, in which his library is sealed up and most of his books on chivalry burned.

So yeah, he's intelligent and reads, but he just never left the world of his writings. Can't really say that I blame him.

Oh! The "My Future" bit in the title? A post for later, I suppose.


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1 comment:

  1. thougtful posting- I almost used the word "Quixotic" but settled for Queen. Have a great day!

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