SUMMARY Introduction . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 6 Duck Quixote . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 17
DON QUIXOTE OF LA MANCHA
Don Quixote and Sancho Panza in an etching by Gustave Doré for an edition of Cervantes’ novel published in the 19th century.
THE PARODY IS SET NEAR
In a village of La Mancha, the name of which I have PRESENT-DAY HOLLYWOOD. no desire to call to mind, there lived not long since AT THE START DONALD one of those gentlemen that keeps a lance in the DUCK IS UNAWARE THAT HE lance-rack, an old buckler, a lean hack, and a IS JUST ABOUT TO BE greyhound for coursing... The age of this gentleman of TRANSFORMED INTO DON ours was bordering on fifty; he was of a hardy habit, QUIXOTE. spare, gaunt-featured, a very early riser and a great sportsman... You must know, then, that the abovenamed gentleman whenever he was at leisure (which was mostly all the year round) gave himself up to reading books of chivalry with such ardour and avidity that he almost entirely neglected the pursuit of his field-sports, and even the management of his property.
The ingenious gentleman Don Quixote of La Mancha: this is the full title of Miguel de Cervantes’ book, known across the world simply as Don Quixote. The work is divided into two parts that were published ten years apart, in 1605 and 1615. Don Quixote is a delightful parody on tales of chivalry; the author gently pokes fun at the archetypical knight in shining armour, the protagonist of many famous stories popular in Spain in the sixteenth century. Cervantes’ re-working immediately proved successful: readers appreciated his writing and Don Quixote was destined to enter that small circle of great masterpieces of world literature. The hero of this story is Don Alonso Quixano, a hidalgo – in other words a noble but penniless country gentleman.
Don Alonso is a lover of tales of chivalry: he reads them day and night and becomes so immersed in them that he goes mad; completely lost in his own world, he decides to become a knight errant, to win fame for himself and honour for his country. From now on he will be called Don Quixote of La Mancha.
So, without giving notice of his intention to anyone, and without anybody seeing him, one morning before the dawning of the day (which was one of the hottest of the month of July), he donned his suit of armour, mounted Rocinante with his patched-up helmet on, braced his buckler, took his lance, and by the back door of the yard sallied forth upon the plain in the highest contentment and satisfaction at seeing with what ease he had made a start with his grand purpose... a terrible thought struck him... It occurred to him that he had not been knighted, and that according to the law of chivalry he neither could nor ought to bear arms against any knight.
THE WEARY, FEEBLE KNIGHT AND DONALD DUCK QUIXOTE’S ARMOUR AND WEAPONS, RECALL THE IMAGERY OF CERVANTE’S HERO. The knight Don Quixote did not have a lady to whom he could dedicate his feats and “to be in love with; for a knight-errant without love was like a tree without leaves or fruit”. Remembering his neighbour, a countrywoman, who went by the unromantic name of Aldonza Lorenzo, he chose her as his idealised lady and decided to call her Dulcinea del Toboso, a decidedly more musical name that was better suited to her role. Reaching an inn that he mistook for a castle with many towers, a moat and a drawbridge, he asked the castle keeper, or rather the innkeeper, to knight him after spending the night keeping the traditional vigil.
THAT NIGHT, DURING HIS VIGIL, DONALD
DUCK QUIXOTE MEETS A BULL. THE INNKEEPER, A TYPICAL MEXICAN WEARING A SOMBRERO, IS NOT MUCH HELP TO HIM.
DUCK Quixote HIGH UP, WAY ABOVE THE CLOUDS, IN AN ENCHANTED PLACE WHERE KNIGHTS OF OLD AND THEIR FAITHFUL SQUIRES AND THEIR NO LESS FAITHFUL STEEDS LIVE IN A STATE OF BLISSFUL IMMORTALITY …
WHAT IS IT SIRE? WHY DO YOU SIGH SO? SIGH!
I’VE GOT PLENTY OF REASON TO GROAN AND SIGH! LOOK, THE WORLD HAS FORGOTTEN US! LOOK, WE’RE GOING MOULDY AND GATHERING COBWEBS!
EVERYONE KNOWS LA MANCHA, BUT HOW MANY KNOW DON QUIXOTE...PHOOEY...THERE IS NO MORE CHIVALRY LEFT IN THE WORLD! VERY TRUE! NOW WE HAVE TANKS INSTEAD OF THE CAVALRY!
GOOD GRACIOUS! YOU ARE MISTAKEN SIRE! EVERYONE KNOWS DON QUIXOTE OF LA MANCHA!
FOOL! I MEAN CHIVALRY, A KNIGHT FIGHTS FOR HIS LADY AND SEEKS ADVENTURES, BATTLES WITH GIANTS AND STANDS UP TO WIZARDS AND POEMS ARE WRITTEN ABOUT HIM!
BUT THEN, WHO READS POETRY ANY MORE?! WHO? I’D LIKE TO KNOW TOO!
HERE’S WHAT’S KILLED POETRY! THE CINEMA, THE RADIO AND... EVEN WORSE! TELEVISION!
AND SPORTS MAGAZINES, THRILLERS AND COMIC BOOKS!
DID YOU SAY COMICS?
SANCHO! YOU ARE A GENIUS! THAT’S A GREAT IDEA! COMICS!
YES SIRE! THOSE THINGS THEY MAKE NOWADAYS!
YOU DESERVE A PRIZE, I’LL GIVE YOU AN ISLAND!
THAT’LL BE THE DAY! YOU’VE BEEN PROMISING ME THAT FOR THREE HUNDRED YEARS!
SLAM! UGH! EMMM! BZZ! SNIFF!
THAT’S A GREAT IDEA! COMICS WILL IMMORTALISE MY DEEDS AND A NEW HERO WILL TAKE UP MY QUEST!
OH SHIELD! NOBLE BATTLE-WEARY SHIELD! (KISS, KISS) NEW GLORY AWAITS YOU! YOU WILL GO DOWN TO EARTH IN MY STEAD AND BELONG TO HE WHO IS MOST WORTHY!
TO THE MOST WORTHY!
WHAT ARE YOU DOING SIRE?
I WILL THROW MY GLORIOUS SHIELD INTO THE WORLD! WHOEVER RECEIVES IT WILL BE THE NEW DON QUIXOTE, THE KNIGHT OF THE SAD COUNTENANCE!
GO! I CAN’T WAIT TO SEE WHO GETS IT!
WITHOUT DOUBT! THE MOST HEROIC OF HEROS WILL RECEIVE IT, THE BOLDEST OF THE BOLD,THE MOST IMPASSIONED OF THE PASSIONATE!
...AND THE SPINNING SHIELD MADE ITS WAY TOWARDS EARTH...
WHERE, SOMEWHERE NEAR HOLLYWOOD, CAPITAL OF CINEMA, OF STARS, OF BEAUTY CONTESTS AND OTHER FILMTASTIC STUFF
THERE YOU GO! THANK YOU, MY GOOD MAN!