1. What is Don Quixote's armor made of? 2. Why do we continue to hold him up as a hero when he's clearly out of touch with reality? 3 Why does the charge of " tilting at windmills" still carry a...

1. What is Don Quixote's armor made of?

2. Why do we continue to hold him up as a hero when he's clearly out of touch with reality?

3 Why does the charge of " tilting at windmills" still carry a tinge of respectability-- or does it?

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Ashley Kannan eNotes educator | Certified Educator

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Like so much with him, Quixote's armor is his own creation.  Quixote's armor is of his family name and something that is homemade:  "The first thing he did was to clean up some armour that had belonged to his great-grandfather, and had been for ages lying forgotten in a corner eaten with rust and covered with mildew."  Quixote recognizes that the armor needs cleaning so "he scoured and polished it as best he could".  Quixote recognizes that the visor on the helmet is not effective.  In typical Quixote fashion, he constructs his own solution, as if willed by his own desires:

This deficiency, however, his ingenuity supplied, for he contrived a kind of half-helmet of pasteboard which, fitted on to the morion, looked like a whole one. It is true that, in order to see if it was strong and fit to stand a cut, he drew his sword and gave it a couple of slashes, the first of which undid in an instant what had taken him a week to do. The ease with which he had knocked it to pieces disconcerted him somewhat, and to guard against that danger he set to work again, fixing bars of iron on the inside until he was satisfied with its strength; and then, not caring to try any more experiments with it, he passed it and adopted it as a helmet of the most perfect construction.

Given how Quixote has committed himself to "righting every kind of wrong, and exposing himself to peril and danger from which, in the issue, he was to reap eternal renown and fame," it makes sense that his own armor represents "the most perfect construction."  From this, Quixote is able to set out on his voyage of the knight.

The remaining answers are based purely out of opinion.  I would suggest that Quixote is continued to be held as a hero precisely because he is out of touch with reality.  Quixote is out of touch with reality, and this is what enables him to envision what can be as opposed to what is.  When we consider that some of the worst crimes in humanity have been perpetrated because individuals have been bound and tethered to the world in which they live, Quixote's heroism lies in how "out of touch with reality" he actually is.  Carlos Fuentes argued as much in suggesting why Quixote's appeal is lasting:

Don Quixote is a great hero of fiction and of philosophy—I think of thought  as...

(The entire section contains 820 words.)

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