Women Through Don Quijote De La Mancha

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Women through Don Quijote de la Mancha

Throughout history women have been oppressed to man in terms of society in which we live as in literature. In patriarchal standards there are expectations that a woman must follow. According to these norms, a woman serves for pleasure, exploitation and their virtues. When the woman decides to go against the norms and go against her lower social position she causes an imbalance within society. Through the novel Don Quixote de la Mancha, Miguel Cervantes presents several women fighting the inequality of social norms. Cervantes is aware of women’s limitations in their society and through their novel he exhibits multiple women but especially Marcela, Dorotea and the Duchess who demonstrate women fighting against patriarchal norms.

During the era of Cervantes, women were considered ineffective and it was believed that their education was simply to be used to enrich their charms and virtues – which included their virginity, their reco and their silence – through a marriage of convenience. In addition, the conventional formation that the woman received an unattainable ideal of virtue and promoted guilt – characteristics that we see manifested in Dorotea and Marcela, respectively – and in this way they committed their human quality. The role that was expected of her was that of only and exclusively being a woman without identity, since the one who had an individualized personality was blank view.

The liberation of women is considered a radical act for the times of Cervantes and for the Spanish literature of the time. However, in the first part of Don Quijote de la Mancha, Cervantes presents Marcela y Dorotea to represent the transgression of women. Both face patriarchal norms and act freely. Marcela wants to defend her reputation and refute the guilt imposed by other male characters before the death of Grisóstomo, while Dorotea seeks to restore her honor as a woman before Don Fernando’s eyes, her parents and the rest of society. Both, in the process of achieving their goals, use unconventional tactics in order to reveal a questioning of social values which facilitates their own liberation.

Although Marcela’s character is less developed, the episode from Chapter 12 to 14 in which she appears, represents a complex interwoven of speeches. These speeches demonstrate how men like to blame women, in case of men they blame Marcela for the death of Grisóstomo. However, Marcela only appears figuratively when other men name her in most of the episode and does not appear physically until the end of chapter 14. Marcela is confined textually and contextually within the work, which leads her to resort to feminist strategies to deal with her isolation. As a result of its confinement and susceptibility to male claims, Marcela symbolizes the notion of guilt, a notion that prevails during their time and aims to keep the woman subjugated before the man. HOW IT WANT, MARCELA Finds how to free himself through his escape to the pastoral world and then through his explicit rejection of the passive attitude in women who manifest himself in his use of male legal language to defend his reputation. 

Considering everything, Marcela, although not as developed as Dorotea, still personifies the social transgression that the woman’s woman was forced to use if she wanted to free themselves from the claws of society.  

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