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Abstract

This paper focuses on the concepts of justice in Miguel de Cervantes’ Don Quijote. First, it reviews the history of a justice system during the time that Cervantes lived, the 15th and 16th centuries. This historical analysis provides context for the system that is criticized by Cervantes in the novel. This paper also places an emphasis on the clash between the blurred perspective of Don Quijote and the harsh reality of the justice system. Cervantes uses and emphasizes this clash as a way of safely criticizing the justice system in Spanish society. This essay uses a Marxist analysis to explore two scenes from the novel in which Cervantes implies critique. The first, the episode which involves Andrés, a boy who is enslaved by Juan Haldudo, a peasant who does not pay Andrés a fair wage. The second is the episode with the galley slaves. In both scenes, Don Quijote intervenes in order to bring justice into two unjust situations. Both times, it becomes apparent that Don Quijote’s understanding of honor, which he learned from books of chivalry, clashes with the forces of power that exist in society. Within this juxtaposition, as seen through a Marxist analysis, there is a criticism of Spanish society and the way it values those who are rich and powerful over others.

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