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Word Count: 1,348
During the late Middle Ages the ideals of chivalry and honor emerged as the dominant themes in literature Romantic tales of gallant knights and courtly love captured the imaginations of medieval readers and this influence carried over into the Renaissance and early modern Europe In the fifteenth and sixteenth centuries these romantic medieval values clashed with the new emphasis on reason The influence of both sets of values is seen in the Spanish author Miguel de Cervantess novel Don Quixote In this work Cervantes presents the idealistic character of Don Quixote who is deluded by chivalric ideas of heroism and valor Don Quixote sets out to reform the world along with his sensible companion Sancho Panza After an ill-starred career as a knight-errant Don Quixote renounces his ideals and is restored to excessive sensibility At the same time Sancho Panza champions the very ideas that Don Quixote comes to reject Through his use of names and through the nave ideals of Don Quixote and his subsequent exchange of beliefs with Sancho Panza Cervantes reveals the need for a proper balance between the extremes of idealism and rationalism The subject of names is a prevalent one in Cervantess work Cervantes begins the work with the peculiar declaration In a certain village in La Mancha the name of which I do not choose to remember Don Quixote makes his residence1 The anonymity of the village parallels Cervantess ambiguity when discussing Don Quixotes real name He explains that he is said to have gone by the name of Quijada or Quesadathough it is most likely that he was called Quijadas2 Cervantess deliberate manner of forgetting and his vagueness in relating Don Quixotes real name contrasts sharply with Don Quixotes own naming of things In taking on his new role as knight-errant he assumes the name Don Quixote de la Mancha which according to him reveals his lineage and honors his fortunate country3 In fact Quixote signifies the armor
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