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The final scene of Miguel de Cervantes’ novel, Don Quixote, the hero, now sane, becomes ill, recovers his sanity, and dies. Having recovered his sanity, he renounces the desire for adventure and devotes himself to writing his will and preparing for death. Perhaps the most significant thing about the ending is what it says about the nature of goodness. Don Quixote states “whether I'm a knight errant, as now, or a shepherd, later on, I'll never stop doing for you whatever needs to be done.” In other words, what matters is doing whatever good needs to be done. Because he is a fundamentally good man, he didn’t need the fantastical trappings of chivalry to do good deeds, and in fact, he can do good more effectively if rather than pretend to be a knight, he just, in his own persona, takes care of his friends and lives responsibly. Thus the final critique of chivalry is that it misleads the common man by thinking one needs a horse and armour to do good deeds, where actually the trapping of chivalry will mislead you into tilting at windmills when you should be caring for friends and family.
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