The Women of Don Quixote Book Review by foofan

A look at the theme of silence and sound through the women of Don Quixote in Miguel de Cervantes' "Don Quixote".
# 150788 | 4,658 words | 8 sources | MLA | 2012 | US
Published on Apr 23, 2012 in English (Analysis) , Literature (Spanish)

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This paper examines how Miguel de Cervantes surprised readers in "Don Quixote" by taking an unusual approach with regards to how women are portrayed in the novel. It looks at how some women in the novel remain completely silent while others vocalize a strong, dominating voice. By examining both the silent and verbal female characters in Don Quixote, the paper discusses how readers can gain a better perspective into the underlying messages in the text and the motives for writing about traditional and non-traditional women.

The Silent Woman
The Verbal Woman
The Silent and Vocal Woman
Equality Through Debate
Wise Words from Non-Prominent Female Characters
Hidden Messages, Cultural Impact
Final Thought

From the Paper:

"Cervantes used negative consequences of traditional behavior towards women to show the fault of societal expectations and hypocrisies while simultaneously proving that the viewpoint of the man is not always correct. Cervantes finds a way to poke fun at Don Quixote and other men in the story, "Cervantes mocks the inflated, then deflated, phallic activity of dueling..." (Russ 43). The distinction Cervantes places on showing the foolishness of people in general does not disappear between gender differences. Readers throughout various points in the novel may sympathize with a scorned man one minute and realize he is a coward, misinformed or a liar the next. Women in the novel may be frowned upon as the men are telling a story, the next moment they may be celebrated or admired.
"The men in Don Quixote perceive that they have the power whether it is land ownership, a job or any other matters women were not allowed to participate in. Most of the male characters miss their wife or desired partner and in return do almost anything to be with her. Male characters also succumb to the wishes of their love interests and/or wives regularly and seek to ensure their happiness. Cervantes proves that while women may lack in rights, they do not lack in influence, power and decision."

Sample of Sources Used:

  • Cardenas, Anthony J. "Horses and Asses: Don Quixote and Company." Romance Languages Annual 2 (1990): 372-77.
  • Ciallella, Louise. "Teresa Panza's Character Zone and Discourse of Domesticity in Don Quijote." Cervantes: Bulletin of the Cervantes Society of America, 23.2 (2003): 275-96.
  • Eisenberg, Daniel. Romances of Chivalry in the Spanish Golden Age. 1. Harrisburg: The University of Philadelphia, 1982. 70-71. Print.
  • Russ, Joanna. "Do Not Reach Up from Readers' Laps and Punch the Readers' Noses": Joanna Russ's Provocative Message in Her Ending to The Female Man." Vol. 67 Issue 2 (2009). 142-146. JSTOR. Web. 3 March 2012.
  • Saavedra, Miguel de Cervantes, Edith Grossman, and Harold Bloom. Don Quixote. New York: HarperCollins, 2003. Print.

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