The Man of La Mancha -- Crazy Good

To dream the impossible dream
To fight the unbeatable foe
To bear with unbearable sorrow
To run where the brave dare not go
To right the unrightable wrong
To love, pure and chaste, from afar,
To try, when your arms are too weary
To reach the unreachable star

This is my Quest, to follow that star,
No matter how hopeless, no matter how far;
To fight for the right
Without question or pause,
To be willing to march into hell
For a heavenly cause!

And I know, if I'll only be true
To this glorious Quest,
That my heart will lie peaceful and calm
When I'm laid to my rest.

And the world will be better for this,
That one man, scorned and covered with scars,
Still strove, with his last ounce of courage,
To reach the unreachable stars!


The Man of la Mancha is based on a Broadway musical about the author/playwright/poet Cervantes as he lives out his idealistic ambitions in real life as well as through Don Quixote (the infamous fictional character). Cervantes chooses to see reality "not as it is, but as it should be," a mindset which he immortalizes partly through his public resistance to the Spanish Inquisition, mostly through his fictional alter-ego Don Quixote.

At the beginning of The Man of la Mancha, Cervantes puts on a play that pokes fun at the Spanish Inquisition. To the inquisitors this is the same as poking fun at God Himself, so they arrest him. It's not surprising that the fiery playwright clashes with Catholic church officials since, during that time, the church had reached new heights of religious insecurity.

While Cervantes waits in prison, he tells his story to fellow prison mates by putting on a musical about Don Quixote. They appreciate the fact that he includes them as part of the production. The grubby men and women are skeptical at first but, by the end of the movie, Cervantes wins them over with his creative, idealistic zeal.


Don Quixote (Cervantes) demonstrates the fact that there is a good kind of craziness. Raw idealism might be seen as insanity to someone who has given up all hope that there is any goodness in the world. Then again, a man would have to be mad to sacrifice his own well-being for the good of other people, when those people might never appreciate that man's sacrifice.

Don Quixote is crazy enough to see a castle where others see a run-down inn; he sees adventure in scenarios that would inspire depression in most people. He is delusional enough to see untainted purity in a woman who the world esteems as a whore. He is crazy enough to resist evil in a thoroughly evil world.

At one point in The Man of la Mancha, the priest points out, "One might say Jesus was mad... or St. Francis." This is a astute observation.

"The Jews were again divided. Many of them said, 'He is demon-possessed and raving mad. Why listen to him?' But others said, 'These are not the sayings of a man possessed by a demon. Can a demon open the eyes of the blind?'"
--John 10:19-21


ratatouille's archives said...

Wow!...I love the words to this song with all the "hopelessness" there is hope!..."I wonder if The Man of la Mancha which is based on a Broadway musical about the author/playwright/poet Cervantes as he lives out his idealistic ambitions in real life as well as through Don Quixote (the infamous fictional character)." (Your quote is intermingled with my thoughts)

Is available on dvd.If so, I most definitely, plan to seek this film out to watch!...I sometimes feels so "lost" because of all the films that I have not watched yet!...


Pat R said...

it is available on DVD

ratatouille's archives said...

Why Thank-you!...Patrick Roberts,
Btw, I just added this title to my shopping cart.Once I watch this film I hope to comment on it!


Okie said...

Man of la Mancha has been one of my favorite musicals since I was a kid. I had my parents take me to productions at local colleges a couple of times growing up.

The Impossible Dream is an amazing song of hope, persistence, faith and courage to do what's right.

I'm still trying to work through the novel in the original 17th century Spanish but find I'm reading the dictionary as much as the novel. :)

Thanks for a review of the movie version. Makes me want to go watch it again.

Lavonda Pflug said...

What a beautiful post. I've always loved this song. The words typed out on a page are powerful. It would do American voters good to digest these words before going to the polls.
Thanks for stopping by today and leaving your comment. I'm glad you got to see the movie. Stop back bay again soon.

Gina Conroy said...

I saw this musical last year and it inspired a post about Dulcinea and how God sees us!