How was Don Quixote’s Knight-Errant Oath in Conflict with His Deathbed Oath?

Don Quixote, written by Miguel de Cervantes, is a unique and interesting tale, about a wannabe knight. Don Quixote, who is the main character of the story, was a man who was enthralled with works of literature on knighthood. This obsession in knighthood eventually leads Don Quixote to certain madness and causes him to make the decision to take an oath of knighthood. The madness goes to the point that Don Quixote begins to see things, distort reality; even to the point that he convinces a simple farmer named, Sancho Panza to assist him on his so-called quests of knighthood. Near the end of the novel, Don Quixote who was close to his death regains some of his sanity, and on his deathbed swears another oath: an oath of repentance.

These two oaths that Don Quixote swore on clearly contradicted each other; how was Don Quixote’s knight-errant oath in conflict with his deathbed oath?

During Don Quixote’s quest of chivalry and knighthood, he commits many questionable deeds. Though his oath of knighthood stated that he would protect the weak and uphold justice, in many instances he went against the technicalities of this oath, even doing the opposite. Because he had lost his sanity, his actions as a “knight,” often did not make sense, and went against the moral standard that was upheld in his life. He became violent: even blindly attacking innocent people because of his lost sense of reality. Don Quixote is not a young spry man, he often gets battered in his “battles,” but this does not stop him or help him see sense to stop his madness. This madness even led him to kill an innocent Friar, because he believed that this Friar was a magician.

Don Quixote’s relationship with Sancha Panza (a simple farmer), was a close one. Sancha Panza follows along with the madman’s decisions and antics, even to the point that he began to adopt some of Don Quixote’s insanity. Sancha Panza is there when Don Quixote regains his sanity, he is also there during his death. 

When Don Quixote begins to regain his sanity, he realizes his wrongdoing and becomes deeply depressed. On his deathbed he swears an oath that goes against his previous oath of chivalry. He confesses his sins and repents of all of the harm he had done, which puts him at peace. Don Quixote passes peacefully in his own bed as a new man, surrounded by the people who were close to him in life. The reason why this deathbed oath conflicted with his oath of knighthood is due to his different mental states when swearing to these oaths. The first oath, Don Quixote was falling into his madness, and truly was not in a right state of mind. The second oath, he had now regained his sanity and realized his wrongdoing, which led him to decide that the past oath was no longer valid. 

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