For our project we have decided to analyze the female characters in Don Quixote more fully. We have spoken briefly on the female characters in class such as Dulcinea and the the Duchess, but we have not been able to explore them to a deeper extent. These characters, though they are small, have a great influence on the mindset of the reader, and more often than not the characterization of females in Don Quixote is negative. For example, one female character is stalked and harassed by another character, Grisostomo, even though she did not ask for his love or attention and he becomes mad when she rebukes him and the reader is forced into the belief that she is in the wrong here and not Grisostomo. Is this highly sexist attitude in the novel a indication of the historical time period? Or is this an idea that Cervantes wanted his readers to delve into more deeply? We will be analyzing this idea using specific female characters through the lense of feminism and sexuality. Our character list includes Dulcinea, the Duenna Dona, the Dutchess, Altisidora, Teresa Panza, Marcella, Maritormes, Dorothea, Claudia Jeronima and Countess Trifaldi.
We will also be using a source that briefly describes the lenses we will use to introduce our reader for a better understanding, Don Quixote: The Quest for Modern Fiction. We will also delve deeper into the mind of Cervantes and what he wanted out of the women readers using “Cervantes and His Women Readers” by Lisa Vollendorf. Using the article “Evoking Astraea: the Speeches of Marcela and Dorotea in Don Quijote I” by Carolyn A. Nadeau we will be able to examine closer some of the areas in Don Quixote where the women are allowed to speak for themselves. In the article “Border Crossings: Transvestism and ‘Passing’ in Don Quixote” the author Barbara Fuchs describes the theme of cross-dressing and why it is important and interesting in the novel. We will use this article to speak specifically about the character Dorotea and how she uses cross-dressing as female empowerment. In “Steel-Plate Petticoats: The Heroism of Women in Don Quijote”, Derby talks about how women are typically portrayed as “damsels-in-distress” and how it was essential for knights-errant to protect the dignity and honor of women. He also mentions how Dulcinea del Toboso becomes a personification of loyalty to Don Quijote and that that is why he will go to any means to defend her.
For our digital humanities project we came up with the idea to create a webpage in which all of the female characters study have their own page. This web page would be a platform and almost like a blog, where the women would be able to express their point of view of the story. Then in addition we would have the story from the book and how it was portrayed then. We would then add additional links for the readers to look at if they would like to find more information in regards to our topic.