Visual Depiction of Don Quixote’s Imagination

As evidenced by Gustave Doré’s works that we looked at in class today, an artist depicting scenes from Don Quixote has to constantly consider how to represent the dichotomy of the protagonist’s imagination and reality. The two works below tackle this challenge. The first one, a visual from Terry Gilliam’s film, “The Man Who Killed Don Quixote,” shows the scene in which Don Quixote believes that the windmills are giants who he must defeat. The artist chooses to portray Don Quixote’s imagination as contemporaneous with and equivalent to his reality, including his envisioned identity as a knight. He makes Don Quixote’s confusion viable by giving the giant certain characteristics that closely resemble a windmill. While he does give credence to these ideas, the background of the painting also reveals the differing reality of the situation by showing windmills without giants.

The second illustration, by Daniel Torres, displays a shadow that embodies Don Quixote’s idealistic self-image as a confident knight with armor and a sword. His real identity in the world is depicted as a disadvantaged man wearing ratty clothing and sitting atop an animal that more closely resembles a donkey. This version of the protagonist looks out into the world of the viewer, shielding his eyes from the sun, as if preparing to confidently encounter the reality of his world with an imagination that contradicts it.

One Reply to “Visual Depiction of Don Quixote’s Imagination”

  1. Julia,

    I really like the images that you found. They are whimsical and, at least in my opinion, they better caption the mood of Don Quixote. The ones we saw in class today were a little too dark for my taste.

    Don Quixote is considered the greatest literary work of Spain and because of that reputation, I often think that it is taken too seriously. It’s a funny story and I think one well suited for children. I like these images because they look like children’s book illustrations. I think they would go well with a Don Quixote marketed towards young readers.

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