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The Sage: Don Quixote

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  1. Montaigne devotes a little bit of time to discussing his own modest experience with the power of imagination but for the most part his examples are taken from far-off places and times.
  2. Cervantes shows how differences in language can completely change what seems to be a fairly straight-forward event.
  3. Like Montaigne, Cervantes is concerned with examining the influence of the imagination.
  4. As a nonfiction writer Montaigne does not pretend to be omniscient, the only things he is remotely omniscient of are his thoughts and everything else is second-hand.
  5. Cervantes goes about beginning his novel with caution and modesty, albeit disguised in wit.
  6. How ironic is it that Don Quixote did end up becoming quite famous and revered?

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). [...]

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