“The scepters and crowns of actor-emporers,” responded Sancho Panza, “are never pure gold but only tinsel or tinplate.”
“That is true,” replied Don Quixote, “because it would not be proper if the finery in plays were really valuable instead of merely illusory and apparent, as the plays themselves are; 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 narration, holding up a mirror to every step we take and allowing us to see a vivid image of the actions of a 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.”