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Abstract

Cervantes' 17th century novel, Don Quixote, details the story of passive, stagnant Alonso Quixano, who then abruptly declares himself Don Quixote, a chivalric knight who goes on to fight passionately for his identity and reality. In his dying moments, however, he once more becomes Alonso Quixano, just as abruptly renouncing his previously-claimed identity. Cervantes' work demands discussions of reality, identity, and above all, authenticity. The following paper explores the differences between Alonso Quixano and Don Quixote on these fronts, and argues that Don Quixote, author of his own life, demonstrates authenticity, while Alonso Quixano does not.

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