Don Quixote, titular character of Cervantes' famous novel is certain that a scribe who is recording all of his actions will make him famous in history. Such a scribe, in the Quixotic sense, does not really exist, but Cervantes fulfills the role. If Cervantes had inserted himself into his novel Quixote would have been sure to call him a scribe because of his omniscience and knowledge of everything that Don Quixote was experiencing. In "On the Power of the Imagination" Montaigne is also a faithful recorder of fantastical events who discusses the peculiarities of imagination. As the authors speak to the readers they try to keep their feet on the ground so they can reasonably examine the relationship between imagination and language and how it plays out in writing.
[...] Don Quixote on the other hand is the complete opposite and has no qualms proclaiming that in the future he will be the greatest knight the world has ever known. How ironic is it that Don Quixote did end up becoming quite famous and revered? His fancies and his exploits were recorded by the sage Cervantes, and so the imagination must be a powerful thing indeed if even a fictional character's thoughts can have such fulfilling power. As the sage, Cervantes still uses a reasonable, if light-hearted, [...]
[...] As the narrator Cervantes is able to account for conflicting views by giving different styles of speech to his speakers and providing running commentary on what is actually taking place. Even if Montaigne cannot be objective or omniscient about the experience of humanity he clings to a belief in it. He knows that the imagination is an unavoidable interpretive lens of experience, and Montaigne states in his introduction that “everyone feels its impact, but some are knocked over by (36). [...]
[...] Cervantes too is wary of fabulous language and he blames the florid writing in the chivalric histories for turning Don Quixote's mind: deeply did he steep his imagination in the belief that all the fanciful stuff he read was true, that to his mind no history in the world was more authentic” (32). Even historical writing becomes dangerous, gripping Don Quixote in madness and causing him to receive numerous beatings and thrashings from annoyed citizens going about their business. Who knows how the tale might have turned out if Quixote had been reading contemporary accounts. [...]
[...] Somehow, Don Quixote has been able to transform himself from a madman to the Cid: the mirror of chivalry in Spain. He is no longer of his wits” and his chivalric phrases are not preposterous but compared to those of Rome's greatest orator instead of ignored as mad chattering. If Don Quixote had known he was a lean old man he might not have had cause for such valour and confidence, but his wild beliefs are so strong and forceful that everyone else starts to think similarly of him and similarly to him. [...]
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