Method to Madness

Length: 3 Pages 709 Words

Don Quixote: Method to Madness Don Quixote is a middle-aged gentleman of La Mancha who reads one too many books of chivalry and decides to become a knight. He polishes an old suit of armor, takes a peasant named Sancho Panza as his squire, and sets out into the world to do good deeds in the name of his love, Dulcinea. To the concern of friends from his village, he has dozens of hapless adventures: he rescues prisoners, defends the weak, and reunites old loves. He also battles enemy knights and soldiers. His only problem is that he often gets things wrong, mistaking strangers for enemies, falling off his horse, and being beaten senseless by mule-drivers. He blames every failure on the magic of an evil enchanter he believes to be his nemesis. Everywhere he goes, Don Quixote sees the everyday as the legendary: he confuses inns for castles, windmills for giants, and prostitutes for princesses. These misinterpretations often make him the center of other people's jokes: a duke and a duchess play tricks on him, even Sancho and his friends the b Continue...

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But just as often, Don Quixote's vision of the world asserts itself in the lives of those around him, and those who begin by mocking him end by following his example. They agree, and become actors in his play. Man of La Mancha, written by Dale Wassermann, is a powerful blend of tragedy, romance, comedy, and adventure which moves its audience through the entire spectrum of emotion. A young student named Sampson Carrasco first poses as the Knight of Mirrors and does battle with Don Quixote as a jest, but when he loses, he dedicates himself to revenge and becomes the Knight of the White Moon, who will finally end the great hero's career. arber and the priest try to fool him for his own good from time to time. While the ravaging of Aldonza may challenge the limits for the faint of heart, it is a "must have" theatrical experience for all. Wassermann's Don Quixote De La Mancha (based on Cervantes' character, and in part on Cervantes himself) personifies romantic idealism (a state of mind that exists just this side of madness) in its purest form. It can be confusing at first exposure, but with this framework in mind to lend additional clarity -- it can be transformational. Man of La Mancha simultaneously tracks the experiences of the three men (Cervantes, Quiana, and Quixote), focusing mostly upon Quixote. Man of La Mancha is not the easiest of constructs: it features a play within a play, with a third layer thrown in for good measure. The story becomes an inspiration to pursue our personal quests with unfailing dedication, unbridled optimism, unwavering courage, and unparalleled chivalry. But in each of his exploits, he ignores social convention and remains faithful to his fantastic vision of the world. When he finally renounces chivalry on his deathbed, his once-skeptical friends beg him to reconsider, and even the practical Sancho Panza longs to resume their adventures. He befriends goatherds and gentlemen, and his story is written as a history .


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