Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)


Communication Studies

Document Type



This dissertation explores the rhetorical components of the famous novel Don Quixote by Miguel de Cervantes. Cervantes’ novel continues to be celebrated around the world four hundred years later. His two main protagonists epitomize opposite virtues, but their love for one another, and the promise of an ínsula, creates a bond that overcomes their differences. Don Quixote, the mad knight, values lofty ideas idealized in chivalric romance. Conversely, Sancho, the simple squire, values tangible materials he can see and touch in his own life. While the two characters first appear to be contrary in nature, by the journey’s end, as displayed in their speeches, have grown and learned from one another. Analyzing how these two rhetors develop throughout the course of the novel is the aim of this dissertation. By developing their models, I show the essence of their rhetorical strategies as example for real life practice. Literature provides what Kenneth Burke calls “an equipment for living.” On the one hand, the essence of Don Quixote’s rhetoric romantically transcends tragic situations inspiring heroic action to provide catharsis and experiences for learning. Readers can use his failures and successes as equipment for living, as he stubbornly challenges opposition and never backs down. On the other hand, Sancho’s rhetoric prudently imitates those around him, transcending lofty ideas into grotesque realism. He is the perfect sidekick: loyal, compassionate, critical, and funny. Both Don Quixote’s and Sancho’s rhetorical strategies act as resources for approaching changes in society. Coupled together, the persuasive skills of Don Quixote and Sancho Panza provide great insight for students of rhetoric as these two characters create rhetorical strategies for confronting impious change in society.



Document Availability at the Time of Submission

Release the entire work immediately for access worldwide.

Committee Chair

Crick, Nathan



Included in

Communication Commons