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Abstract

This essay integrates a critical feminist lens and theoretical aspects from the theories of Marxism and psychoanalysis to provide a comprehensive investigation of the functions of Marcela and Dorotea in Don Quixote by Miguel de Cervantes. I contend that Cervantes deliberately chooses to present a social commentary criticizing the practices that limit the development and fulfillment of the identity of women through his portrayal of Marcela and Dorotea. I present my analysis in three parts: first, I provide a summary of the life, customs, and attitudes about women in the sixteenth century to facilitate the exploration of the female psyche; second, I investigate the consciousness and self-liberation of Marcela in her quest to restore her reputation; and third, I examine the psychological development of Dorotea and the way in which she negotiates her transgressions to restore her virtue as a woman. Finally, I utilize this sociopsychological analysis to declare Cervantes as a precursor feminist author who uses his understanding of the female psyche to criticize the oppressive social structures of his time.

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