Don Quixote and Sancho Panza

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Honore Daumier, Don Quixote and Sancho Panza,  1866
By ANIRUDH VADLAMANI

"Y salen los dos, en una aventura legendaria. Sancho Panza, el mejor compañero, y Don Quijote. Los dos encuentro un gigante poderoso." - Miguel Cervantes, Don Quixote

Don Quixote and Sancho Panza has always had a special place in my heart... or at least since last year when I based an entire Spanish movie plot off of a portion of the book. However, this is not about me or my wacky adventure playing Don Quixote's confused companion, Sancho Panza. This is about how Honore Daumier perfectly captures the obsessive, stern composure of the "great knight" Don Quixote, and the quizzical confusion of his chubby buddy on the donkey, Sancho Panza.

Throughout the original novel, Don Quixote is some whack-job who fantasizes about being a hero. He creates numerous situations and, with the help of Sancho, fights away the monsters or terror he thinks up. However, Sancho is never able to see the monsters. He blindly follows Don Quixote no matter where he goes. Whether the monsters are prisoners in a jail they broke into, or a wind-mill believed to be a giant, Sancho believes Don and fights alongside him in order to defend the people of the town.
In this painting, Daumier draws the mountains in such a way, that it cuts Sancho on his donkey, Dapple, away from the proud Don who rides into the distance. The mountains act as a line of sanity. On one side is Don who has lost all sense and fights these mythical beasts which do not in reality exist, while the other side has Sancho Panza, who questions Don's sanity, but blindly follows him into whatever challenge he and his ego get into.


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