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How is the digression, "Ill-Advised Curiosity" in the novel Don Quixote a symbol of...

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ilovecats2 | Honors

Posted January 17, 2013 at 9:48 AM via web

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How is the digression, "Ill-Advised Curiosity" in the novel Don Quixote a symbol of true history?

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accessteacher | High School Teacher | (Level 3) Distinguished Educator

Posted January 17, 2013 at 12:27 PM (Answer #1)

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It is important to consider what is meant by "true history." This digression is of course not an example of something that actually happened, and is yet another story that is insterted as something of a digression in the main text. However, in a sense, it is a story that contains truth within it, no matter whether it is "true" or not. The story of Anselmo and his wife shows an extreme of somebody who will only trust in what they feel they have proven through experience, no matter what the truth is. He is a character who insists on endless proof of his wife's fidelity and, through this process, ironically drives her to be unfaithful. Note what Anselmo writes, reflecting on this incident, before he dies:

A foolish and ill-advised desire has robbed me of life. If the news of my death should reach the ears of Camilla, let her know that I forgive her, for she was not bound to perform miracles, nor ought I to have required her to perform them; and since I have been the author of my own dishonour, there is no reason why--

There is therefore significant truth in this story, that there is a danger in having an approach that what is overt is actually an example of reality. Anselmo takes the surface appearance of his wife's fidelity as a fact, and this results in his ignoring what is obvious and clear to everyone else, and of course ultimately contributes in his own death when he realises the truth of what has actually gone on. This story is therefore an example of "true history" in the sense that it does communicate an important message about human existence, even though it is not strictly "history."

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