What is the significance of closing scene in Miguel de Cervantes Saavedra's novel Don Quixote?

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The conclusion of Cervantes' Don Quixote, for all of its ostensible solemnity, is as satirical as the rest of the novel. The copious language indicating a return to sanity and the renunciation of chivalric ideals needs to be taken with a grain of salt. If Cervantes were interested in creating a moralistic fable about the unfortunate consequences of pursuing one's dreams, it is unlikely that he would have ended the novel in such a complicated and self-contradictory way. True, in the concluding scene, Don Quixote is depicted as an exemplar of a penitent, sober "realist" of a sort, who has recognized and repented of his folly. Yet, Cervantes notes approvingly that the fictive version of the "author" of the story of Don Quixote, Cide Hamete, omitted to mention the real name of his hero's village, so as to allow for competition amongst rival villages for the honor of claiming Don Quixote as their native son. In summarizing the demise of his hero, Cervantes remarks,

"Such was the end of the...

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