Idealism vs. Pragmatism in Don Quixote

Category: Don Quixote, Pragmatism
Last Updated: 10 Mar 2020
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Don Quixote is about an old, retired man named Alonso Quixano. He spends most of his time reading chivalrous tales-so much so that he hardly eats or sleeps, causing people to think he has lost his mind. One day, he decides to become a knight and go out in search of adventure. He renames himself Don Quixote de la Mancha, and his horse Rocinate. He enlists Sancho Panza, a neighbor, to be his squire, promising him governorship of an island. The two sneak off in the early dawn, and the adventures begin The first example of idealism vs. ragmatism was in the opening scene. A young Alonso is shown outside in a field playing and talking to himself, pretending to slay some enemies. His fantasy is shattered and he is brought back to the real world when his mother calls him inside to go to bed. The next example comes when Alonso is talking to his friends, who happen to be workers. He is optimistic that all of their lives could turn around and that there is an even bigger world full of opportunity out there just waiting to be discovered.

All of his friends are realistic and tell him that they are going to be working for their entire lives. Next, Alonso Quixano wanted to be a knight. The barber was over at his house to give him a shave, and everyone was in the room. He started talking about his dreams of being a knight, and everyone laughed at him, telling him to just let the barber shave him. He ignored them, though. He ran outside and made his plans with Sancho Panza to escape and find an island to govern. This brings us to our next example of idealism vs. pragmatism.

Alonso and Sancha take off on their horse and donkey, respectively. Remember, they are in search of an island. They will not be able to get to an island on their animals. After this, Don Quixote de la Mancha thought he would bring glory to himself and Sancha Panzo by killing the “giant monsters” that they ran into on their way to an island, when in reality the monsters were just windmills. He also thought a bleating flock of sheep were an army of singing soldiers. As you can easily tell, idealism and pragmatism are both extremely strong and important facets of Don Quixote.

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Idealism vs. Pragmatism in Don Quixote. (2017, Apr 05). Retrieved from

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