Is Don Quixote a Hero?
After reading The Man of La Mancha, I am convinced that Don Quixote de la Mancha is a hero not only in his mind, but by rational definition as well. What is the textbook definition of a hero? Someone who selflessly faces danger for the sake of others. Quixote was in danger many times in his adventures, even if the danger was amplified in his mind. Riding a charging horse at a windmill is going to be dangerous regardless of the fact that you think the windmill is a giant. The motives for his heroism are not as important as the deeds themselves.
However, the reason I think that Don Quixote is a hero has nothing to do with the textbook definition, however. Don Quixote is the name of a man who refused to be unhappy. The average life just got too boring for him, but instead of suffering, he did what most people then and now are not brave enough to do. He reinvented his life to make it something that he was happy living, no matter how crazy it seemed to other people. He had always wanted to be a knight so one day he decided to be a knight. He possessed the courage to follow his dreams, regardless of the judgment of others. Everyone should be able to respect that, and in my mind it makes him a hero.
The message behind the story of Don Quixote is as relevant now as it was the day the work was written. If I’ve learned one thing from history, it is that most true heroes are misunderstood in their own time. Don Quixote, though a fictional character, was set in a society that had the same condescending attitudes towards nonconformists that our society has today. We’re taught since childhood that we should not judge other people, and that is true. One man’s genius is another man’s insanity, just as one man’s giant is another man’s windmill. Don Quixote is a hero for following his dreams as well as deeds done, imaginary though they may be. As with all heroes, we can all learn something from him.
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Mr. Hakim Mansour
Buena High School