In total dissonance and collision with its social fate, the romantic, idealist and finally tragic Bulgakov’s Don Quixote invoke hindered dreams in a tragicomic fashion. It also invokes the cynicism in which concepts such as justice, ideal, dream are intertemporally treated. The play, written in 1938, is an adaptation of the epic novel by Cervantes. A comic, yet dark allegory on the human condition under the circumstances of totalitarianism. Behind every word by Cervantes, the writer’s personal anguish in the face of his absolute exclusion from the Stalin’s regime is revealed. His words pop up in the desperate letters Bulgakov wrote to Stalin. Don Quixote dies out of realism and the deprivation of his freedom. A little while later, Bugakov dies due to the same reasons.
Nevertheless, the concept of totalitarianism is much broader today. It is expressed through the totalitarianism of ideas, of the media, of the banks, of cynicism and intolerance. In this environment, the element of violence is always central. Whoever resists, whether a romantic hero or a conscious rebel, will have to bear with it, in his body and spirit. However, Bulgakov isn’t only interested in the utopia of the claim for a better world. He digs into an existential dimension. He attributes the comic Don Quixote with elements of the tragic hero, as he prefigures –through him– the course of man towards delusion. For Don Quixote, totalitarianism is the others. Everyone apart from Sancho Panza.