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Don Quixote: What You Didn't Know About The Knight Of The "Mad" Image - Crazy Characters
Don Quixote: What You Didn't Know About The Knight Of The "Mad" Image - Crazy Characters

Video: Don Quixote: What You Didn't Know About The Knight Of The "Mad" Image - Crazy Characters

Video: Don Quixote: What You Didn't Know About The Knight Of The "Mad" Image - Crazy Characters
Video: 23. Don Quixote, Part II: Chapters LXXI-LXXIV 2023, March

Don Quixote of La Mancha is one of the first "crazy" heroes in the history of fiction. After Cervantes there will be more and more of them. By our time, almost the main part of the main characters shows mental deviations to one degree or another, which attracts increased attention of readers. Rhetorical question: are we no longer very interested in normal heroes?

Don Quixote, having read the novels of chivalry, was convinced that everything written in them was the pure truth. And he decided to become a wandering knight to fight evil. Such infantilism and gullibility in an adult, a manic imitation of the heroes of chivalric novels could be regarded as a manifestation of a kind of mental retardation. And the actions that he performed at the same time are perceived by us as conditioned by hallucinatory delusional experiences.

That is why Don Quixote's behavior causes bewilderment and laughter among those around him, they begin to consider him insane

The Knight of the Sorrowful Image sincerely believes that the world was bewitched by evil wizards, "in order to shroud and nullify the deeds of the righteous and to illuminate and magnify the deeds of sinners." Don Quixote begins to see the enemy even where he is not, and attacks the windmills with his spear. Since Cervantes' novel, the expression "fighting windmills" has become synonymous around the world with useless or ridiculous acts.

But the author, describing the absurd actions of his hero, was by no means going to present him as an idiot. Therefore, the reasoning of Don Quixote in the text of the novel on completely abstract topics of education, literature, freedom, war and peace is more suitable for a humanist thinker than for a crazy hidalgo. It is also worth carefully rereading the title of the novel, in which the author presents his hero as a "cunning" rather than a "crazy" hidalgo.

How to combine two "incompatible" facts: a combination of silly behavior occurring with psychotic disorders, with a sufficiently high morality and intelligence?

This becomes possible if we analyze the plot of the narrative from the psychopathological "bell tower". Cervantes began to write satire on the hero of knightly novels, but as he wrote, he became imbued with sympathy for his character. In the second volume, Don Quixote gradually "begins to see" and begins to see life as it really is. He is already making fun of those around him, who, out of habit, continue to consider him crazy, whom he supposedly is already deliberately pretending to be.

Don Quixote
Don Quixote

In the finale of the novel, Don Quixote, having suffered from a fever, begins to critically refer to his past fantasies. Before his death, he completely renounces his "knightly exploits" and admits that he behaved like a madman, and not like a healthy person: “My mind has cleared up, now he is already free from the thick darkness of ignorance, into which he was plunged by the unfortunate and constant reading of vile knightly novels. Now I see all their absurdity and deceit, and the only thing that saddens me is that the sobering up came too late … I was crazy, and now I am healthy, I was Don Quixote of La Mancha, and now, I repeat, I am Alonso Quihano the Good” …

Is it possible to assume that the Knight of the Sorrowful Image is in "dying remission"? But what kind of mental disorder? The German psychiatrist Wilhelm Mayer-Gross wrote about the possibility of such "near-death remissions" in relation to some forms of schizophrenia

Let's return to the original reasoning: Don Quixote's behavior resembled the actions of sick people in a state of hallucinatory delusional psychosis. But such terms could hardly have occurred to Cervantes. He just wanted to show his hero stupid and ridiculous in order to ridicule the knightly age that was leaving the past.

But it turned out that the created image corresponds to a mental disorder in which mental disorders (delusional fantasies and hallucinations) are combined with intact intellect and acquired knowledge. This is possible only with schizotypal personality disorder - a disease close to schizophrenia.

The main signs of this disease:

  • a) eccentric, eccentric behavior and appearance;
  • b) a view of reality that determines strangeness in behavior that does not correspond to cultural norms;
  • c) illusory perception, derealization and depersonalization;
  • d) episodic psychotic manifestations of a hallucinatory and delusional nature.

Thus, Don Quixote's inadequate and ridiculous behavior - of course, very conditionally - can be interpreted as a prolonged attack of schizotypal personality disorder

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