Why Don Quixote Does The Things He Does
Emotions play a crucial role in the development, thoughts, and actions of an individual. They are behind the controls of judgment, attitude, and even love. In "Don Quixote", Cervantes uses the valiant knight Don Quixote to demonstrate the power emotions have over the dynamics of a human being.
Don Quixote's short temper, and sudden outbursts of anger lead him into some hazardous situations, causing much harm to his self, as well as his comrade, Sancho Panza. His quick tounge causes him to lash out at Cardinio in the middle of his story, resulting in the acquaintance with a very large stone:" 'That is not true, I swear,' answered Don Quixote in great rage. 'it is the height of calumny, or rather villainy, to say so. Queen Madasima was a very noble lady, and it is not to be presumed that so high a princess would grant her favors to a quack, and whoever states the contrary lies like a rouge, and I will make him understand it on foot, on horseback, armed or unarmed, by night or by day, as he likes best' "(Cervantes, 236). His incapacity to restrain his emotions of anger result, time and time again, in ill happenings upon Don Quixote's part. It seems he lacks a temper all together, hampering his use of it. Again, Don Quixote's quick anger leads him into the fight with the Biscayan:" 'Now quoth Agrages, you will see,' shouted Don Quixote. Flinging his lance to the ground, he drew his sword, clasped his buckler and rushed at the Biscayan with the firm determination of taking his life"(Cervantes, 104). There is no entity stopping the rampage of emotions currently storming around in his mind. When he is in the pursuit to kill, he will stop at nothing to satisfy his anger. This knight of the rueful figure's temper is out of control, causing the pain and suffering to all those in the vicinity.
The love Don Quixote has overflows, being his love for Dulcinea, or that of his books of chivalry. Don Quixote's profane actions in the mountains are for the sole purpose of paying penance to his lady Dulcinea:"....and was so grieved that he went mad, rooted up trees, troubled the waters of the clean springs, killed shepherds, destroyed flocks, dragged off mares, and committed a hundred thousand other deeds worthy of eternal renown"(Cervantes, 242). Don Quixote does these things no for the love of Dulcinea, but for the love of his books. He pays penance to the his good lady because he is supposed to, according to the books of chivalry. Because the gallant knights in the literary works had a love so fair and pure, Don Quixote feels he must also do so. There is no question as to the fondness Don Quixote had for Dulcinea, but it was doubtfully real, true, genuine love. His actions are a clear reflection of the books he reads:"For his imagination at all hours of the day and knight were full of battles, enchantments, adventures, follies, loves, and challenges as are related in the books of chivalry, and all his words, thoughts and actions were tuned to such things"(Cervantes, 170). From dawn till dusk Don Quixote's mind is filled with that of the actions of other knights, swaying him into the same direction. All his actions are simple emulations of other knights mentioned in his collection of stories. Don Quixote's love, real or not, drives him to do all the wild things he does.
Pride, cockiness, and arrogance are among the worst of Don Quixote's traits. These properties of the brave and willful knight get him into his first(and not last) spout at the inn:"Just at that moment, one of the carriers of the inn took it into his head to water his team of mules.... he gave the carrier such a hefty blow on the plate, that he felled him to the ground...."(Cervantes, 71). This pride and arrogance of Don Quixote continuously throws him into the lions den, leaving no way out. His quick attack on a "lowlife" civilian brings showers of debre down on him. His big head is of no help to the predicaments he has already placed him in:" 'I am equal to a hundred,' replied Don Quixote, and without another word, he clapped hand on his sword, and flew himself at the Yanguesans"(Cervantes, 147). This outlook on himself is the sole cause for his running off into battles. His big ego lets him bite-off-more-than-he-can-chew, landing him into the focal point of he turmoil. Don Quixote's pride is the trait most hazardous to his health and well being.
With three emotions pulling, pushing, twisting, and turning Don Quixote, his actions reflect that of his feelings. He acts on a whim, strikes at the drop of a hat, and lashes out when he so desires. These driving forces guide Don Quixote through his brave sallies, right back to his home, where the whole of the events were sparked.