What role do these opposed pairs play in developing the novel’s themes?
The hero of the novel Don Quixote lived for ideals. The issue of the novel is the contradiction between the chivalrous ideals of the main hero and reality, which is not ideal. At first sight the characters of the novel of Servantes look as people with different views and opposed to each other. For example, Don Quixote is an idealist, while Sancho Panza is a practical man. Don Quixote gave advise to his armour bearer. It appeared to be an expression of the social program of humanism, an adherent of which was an author. For instance, Don Quixote, who was above all the feudal prejudices, convinced Sancho to not be ashamed of his peasant origin.
“Remember, Sancho, if thou make virtue thy aim, and take a pride in doing virtuous actions, thou wilt have no cause to envy those who have princely and lordly ones, for blood is an inheritance, but virtue an acquisition…” ( Servantes, 1615).
The Duke with Duchess did not waste any efforts to play a trick on the hero and his armour bearer. “The contrast between the Duke and Duchess’s thoughtless malice and Sancho’s anxiety-ridden compassion highlights the problem between a person’s class and a person’s worth“ (2014). Don Diego de Miranda, a sane man, educated and intelligent, who witnessed the battle of Don Quixote with a lion, presented him to his wife without irony as “… a knight-errant, and the bravest and wisest in the world” ( Servantes, 1615). Here emerges a theme of pursuing a dream in the face of ridicule. All those characters in their way reinforce Don Quixote in the belief that he is an errant knight. And gradually the world around him, thanks to the efforts of these characters becomes an entourage of chivalry.
In conclusion, those characters, so different in their social status, character and temperament complement one another and help to understand the peculiarities of the actions of the main heroes, their emotions, their thoughts and beliefs. Moreover, they help the reader to understand the main themes of the novel more clearly. All things considered, each of the characters assists to create an image of deep belief in the inexhaustible power of man, the ability by fighting prejudice, middle-class anger and obduracy to break to the clear understanding of reality.
Don Quixote Miguel de Cervantes (2014) Themes, Motifs & Symbols Retrieved from http://www.sparknotes.com/lit/donquixote/themes.html
Cervantes M. (1998). Don Quixote De La Mancha. New York, NY: Penguin Group