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Abstract

This paper focuses on Cervantes’ Don Quijote through the lens of the modern-day feminist theorist Elaine Showalter. Specifically her application of gynocritics allows the reader to gain a wider perspective on the women in traditionally masculine-driven literature. Showalter breaks down gynocritics into: biological, linguistic, cultural, and psychoanalytical models, and this essay analyzes how her ideas can be applied to each female figure throughout Book 1 of Don Quijote. With these models in mind, the reader can see how the traditionally masculine society affects the men and women, as well as how male and female characters perpetuate these effects due to their environments, societal expectations, and other external forces. In my paper, each female character fits under at least one model, while some fit under multiple. Ultimately, it is noted that Cervantes shares very progressive ideas in his work, but is also still confined by the patriarchal conventions of sixteenth century Spain.

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