“I want you, Sancho, to think well and to have a good opinion of plays, and to be equally well-disposed toward those who perform them and those who write them, because they are all the instruments whereby a great service is performed for the nation, holding up a mirror to every step we take and allowing us to see a vivid image of the actions of human life; there is no comparison that indicates what we are and what we should be more clearly than plays and players. If you do not agree, then tell me: have you ever seen a play that presents kings, emperors, and pontiffs, knights, ladies, and many other characters? One plays the scoundrel, another the liar, this one the merchant, that one the soldier, another the wise fool, yet another the foolish lover, but when the play is over and they have taken off their costumes, all the actors are equal.”
“Yes, I have seen that,” responded Sancho.
“Well, the same thing happens in the drama and business of this world, where some play emperors, others pontiffs, in short, all the figures that can be presented in a play, but at the end, which is when life is over, death removes all the clothing that differentiated them, and all are equal in the grave.”
“That’s a fine comparison,” said Sancho, “though not so new that I haven’t heard it many times before, like the one about chess: as long as the game lasts, each piece had its particular rank and position, but when the game’s over they’re mixed and jumbled and thrown together in a bag, just the way life is tossed into the grave.”
“Every day, Sancho,” said Don Quixote, “you are becoming less simple and more intelligent.”
—pearls of wisdom from Don Quixote, by Miguel Cervantes