Is Don Quixote truly mentally ill, or is he a lonely person who has created an alternate reality to deal with his loneliness?
Students can debate this point at some length, but they should be directed to understand the depths of Don Quixote's loneliness and the lack of social interaction he had. This was, of course, exacerbated by the absence of media and other input that modern people rely on daily to stay in touch with their friends and the wider world. Students may also point out that the two options presented in the question may not be mutually exclusive, or that there is often a fine line between mental illness and self-soothing behavior that depends primarily on...
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