Up until the XVIII century, Quixote was only considered a master piece in comedy, people weren’t really aware of the play’s transcendence and importance. This critique changed in the XIX century when the romantics considered Quixote was a pathetic play that only defended the crushed ideals of a flat reality.
Since the generation of 98, the analyses have been very diverse. Starting with the strictly philological analyses (where the most interesting observations are from Riquer, who talks about the antecedents and the literary models of the crazy characters), the Hispanic essentialists (like Unamuno, who considers the play, the Spanish Bible), up until the idiologicals, who point out Erasmo’s influence (Bataillon) in the utopian satires (Maravall) or in the progressive messages (Osterk), and the racial point of view who see Quixote as a convert and Sancho as an old Christian (A.Castro).
Nowadays, the critics get to an agreement when it comes to the recognition of medieval elements in Cervantes’s plays, especially the heroic spirit, right next to other modern components closely related to Eramism. However, they also highlight the transcendence of the historical circumstances in which the play was inserted.
Recently, Abellán has insisted in the play’s baroque connotations. From the esthetical point of view, the premise of Quixote as a work of art follows a baroque tendency, which can be observed in many aspects. The most obvious one is the polarity between Quixote and Sancho throughout the whole play, where the first character represents idealism and the second one represents realism; they can never understand each other or get to an agreement, not even when Quixote acts a little bit like Sancho or vice versa, they still aren’t able to get to a middle point.