Prof. Steven Alvarez
English 363: Experimental Hispanic Literatures
30 September 2011
“Moral Closure: The Way in Which Miguel de Cervantes Saavedra finalizes his novel, The Ingenious Hidalgo Don Quixote de la Mancha”
Like all good narratives, an ending needs to be announced, or in a way, needs to lead the reader into its final moments for the reader to gain closure and not be stunned by the terminality of the story. In Manfred Jahn’s Narratology: A Guide to the Theory of Narrative, Jahn argues that the ending of any narrative is “closure, the type of conclusion that ends a text. Formally, narratives often conclude with an epilogue or a scene (usually, a final dialogue). In traditional, plot-oriented texts, the main conflict is usually resolved by marriage, death, or some other aesthetically or morally satisfactory outcome producing a state of equilibrium” (Jahn N4.9). This could not have been done more perfectly than it is done in Miguel Cervantes’, Don Quixote, because the narrator states,
“Since what is human is not eternal, but is in continuous decline from its beginnings to its conclusion, this being particularly true of men’s lives, and since Don Quixote’s life had not been granted any special privilege by heaven to halt the course of its decline, it reached its end when he was least expecting it to…” (Cervantes, 975)
I felt that the introduction to the ending chapter was done perfectly because he compared the narrative to the life of man, which in fact is what this history was about: The life of a madman named Don Quixote and his faithful companion Sancho Panza. I also found that those lines gave the history a personal and emotional feel because he compared the narrative to an actual life; which from its beginnings is always awaiting its demise, so is a novel, story, or narrative that has been read from the beginning to its finality. What is tragically beautiful as well is how Cervantes ends the history after Don Quixote’s character realizes that he has to forsake his ideals of chivalry because the world has also abandoned and has left behind all notions of knighthood and gallantry. This makes the audience feel compassion towards Don Quixote because it is as if a man without his ideals and beliefs cannot exists. The ending also goes along with the guidelines of what a closure should be because it gives the audience a “morally satisfactory outcome producing a state of equilibrium” (Jahn N4.9).
(For some random reason Coldplay’s representation of Don Quixote through song, was interesting to me.)
De Cervantes Saavedra, Miguel. The Ingenious Hidalgo Don Quixote de la Mancha. 1605. Trans.
John Rutherford. Columbus, MT: Penguin, 2003. Print.
Jahn, Manfred. “Narratology: A Guide to the Theory of Narrative.” 28 May 2005. Web. 30
September 2011. <http://www.uni-koeln.de/~ame02/pppn.htm>.