Don Quixote

as Anti-Romance

Key elements in a medieval romance:

Romance stresses tales involving knightly adventures
Romance's values are those of a chivalric age
Motivations include courtly love, pious faith, and desire for deeds of valor
Romance stresses the values of fantasy and mystery
Romance tends to light-hearted
Romance tends to be loose in structure


Cervantes' Don Quixote reverses these values yet also ironically reaffirms some of them:

Don Quixote offers tales involving knightly adventures, but they are illusionary and Quixote's adventure always seems to result in disgrace for Sancho and himself.
Quixote's values are those of a chivalric age, but no one else's is. Chivalric values are out-of-place at best; at worst they result in injustice and harm. Yet, they also haunt the scenes; perhaps, suggesting what might be.
Quixote's motivations include courtly love, pious faith, and desire for deeds of valor. But each of these is overturned. Dulcinea is a farm hand. Quixote's faith seems more like madness, and his valorous deeds include tilting at windmills and attacking herds of sheep.
Cervantes stresses the dangers of fantasy. Quixote at least deserves our laughter and pity. Does he offer anything more?
Don Quixote tends to light-hearted because it stresses the disparity between Quixote's dreams and reality, as well as Sancho's low class humor.
Don Quixote tends to be loose in structure; it moves from episode to episode with little overall structure or plan.

"All manner of thing shall be well/ When the tongues of flame are in-folded/ Into the crowned knot of fire/ And the fire and the rose are one." -- T.S. Eliot, Little Gidding