• Year Published: 1605-1620.
  • Pages: 1023.

Don Quixote summary

Learning is always fun and exhilarating. You get to discover a different world from the one you are used to. It expands your horizon and enlightens you while challenging your mental capability. Learning is not without its challenges but a well-prepared student makes the most out of the experience. Our focus will be on the famous Spanish novel written by Miguel de Cervantes and originally titled ‘The Ingenious Gentleman Don Quixote of La Mancha’. This write-up will be solely on the Don Quixote summary.

The novel which was published in two volumes – one in 1605 and the other in 1615 is regarded as the most influential work of all time spanning from the Spanish Golden Age and its literary canon. It was one of the earliest canonical novels and serves as a founding work in the modern Western literature.

The first part of the novel:

Don Quixote’s first expedition

A look into Don Quixote summary tells of a middle-aged gentleman that came from La Mancha in central Spain. Moved by the chivalrous ideals he read from books, Quixote took it upon himself to take up the sword and lance to fight for the helpless who have been undergoing torment from the wicked strong men. He failed at the first attempt he made, but that did not deter him. He decided to embark on a second adventure in the company of Sancho Panza, a befuddled labourer of a kind that Quixote persuaded to be his companion as a faithful squire. Panza agreed mainly because Quixote promised him that he would make him a governor, which will also make him very wealthy. The astonishing thing is that Quixote denied himself of comfort, food, shelter because of Dulcinea del Toboso, a peasant woman that he regarded as a princess.

Don Quixote’s second expedition

Here Quixote forfeits being the saviour he was supposed to be and became a bandit. He stole and hurt citizens in what he perceived to be the preservation of his knighthood. In all of these, Panza stood by him and took the brunt of the consequences resulting from Quixote’s behaviour. At some point, Panza had to stand up to his master in an effort to correct his outlandish fantasies. The barber and the priest – Quixote’s two friends came and dragged him home with the conviction that Quixote was under an enchantment. This brought the first part of the novel and Quixote’s second expedition to an end.

The second part of the novel:

This is the sequel to the phoney side of Don Quixote which showed Quixote as a passionate character. His former character, however, preceded him. Panza in the second part of the novel lied to his master that an evil enchanter had turned his beloved Dulcinea into a common peasant girl. This became Quixote’s next objective to undo the enchantment. He went through a lot of challenges to undo this enchantment which brought him the way of the Duke and Duchess.

A young maid fell in love with him, but his heart was already sold to Dulcinea, which never allowed him to consummate his relationship with the young maid. Just when Quixote embarked on another journey, he met his end in Barcelona in the hands of an old friend, the White Moon Knight who disguised himself.


Don Quixote Characters

Don Quixote Main Characters

Don Quixote is the main hero and takes the title of the novel. He is a middle-aged man and he has read a lot of books to such that he went mad. The books were about chivalry knight. He only takes what he believes and he views the world from different perspectives different from what layman can see. He is proud, idealistic, honest, and has dignity. He has good intention to the society usually harm those he come across for he can’t see the real world. Even though he is full of intelligence, he has turned out to be mad because he has read a lot. He rides a horse named Rocinante.

Sancho Panza is a farmer following Don Quixote. He is uneducated but he knows a lot of wise sayings. He is greedy, curious, and loyal. He lives two lives one of Don Quixote and his normal life. He loves the lifestyle of Don Quixote. He loves his wife and he shows a sense of humour. He creates his own niche in the world of Don and the real world. He has taken the aspects of life both good and bad. He has grown his own self-confidence even though he adores Don Quixote. He uses a donkey by the name Dapple, in his journey. Dapple once disappears and the reappears in in the story context.

Don Quixote Minor Characters

Cervantes puts suggestions in the story at key moments. He intentionally creates impressions that he is not concerned with the innovation of the Don character. He doesn’t physically present himself in the novel. He has a self-referential nature and makes a reader think of the pros and cons of literature.

Dulcinea Del Toboso is a peasant woman whom Don Quixote has chivalric love despite her knowing. He has not met anywhere in the book but he optimizes Don Quixote chivalric conception.

Sampson, a student from Don Quixote cottage who ridicules him at first and later he determines to revenge. He fails to understand that playful nature of Don Quixote madness.

The priest, a friend to Don Quixote doesn’t agree with the fictional books. He claims that they negatively influence the society.

Dorothea is love to Ferdinand. She leaves tradition to follow her love. Ferdinand takes away her chastity and refuses to marry her. Dorothea turns out to be deceptive, cunning and aggressive.

The barber is a friend to Don Quixote. Once he recognizes the madness in him he helps the pastor in carrying on with his plan. He doesn’t approve the chivalry of the Don Quixote Countess Trifaldi is a factious maid who is impersonated by Duke’s steward. She is ridiculous than any other character in the novel.

Teresa Panza is a good hearted woman and she is wise. She turns out to be greedy, unambitious. He supports Sancho in prayers even though he is exploitive to her.

Lucinda, the cardeinos wife is silent and he is taken to be a model of country women.

Ferdinand is arrogant and he steals Lucinda from Cardenio with no regret.

Gines de Pasa monte is a slave whom Don Quixote frees.

Roque Guinart is a chivalrous bandit who believes in justice generosity.


Don Quixote topics

The classic literary novel follows Don Quixote doing his best to revive chivalry and anyone who joins him in his ventures is bound to have a few questions. The author, Miguel de Cervantes, applied a variety of literary techniques to his novel to portray different narrative perspectives and make his characters more dimensional. Don Quixote is referenced to this day and there are several topics that are worth discussing or writing about. Here are some Don Quixote topics.

What does Don Quixote tell us about perception?

Anyone who has read the novel knows that the protagonist comes off as very deluded to other characters. Some tried to make him see reality like they do while others played along hoping to further understand him. Differences in perspective can cause a lot of strife between people or bring them harmony. How does seeing something differently than another informs us about how we see the world?

Is Don Quixote really crazy or does he want to be crazy?

It’s not common for the main character to be off their rocker, but readers do expect the main character to have an impact on others around him. However, Cervantes never explains Don Quixote’s crazy talk or his evolution throughout the novel. This leaves the answer to Don Quixote’s odd antics up to the audience. How can you interpret the mental health of someone when you’re not sure there is a problem in the first place? Throughout the novel, is it easier to come to a conclusion by relying on your own understanding or adopting the perspective of another character that was influenced by Don Quixote’s actions and adventures?

Why did Cervantes change the narrator’s point of view?

The narrative style throughout the novel changes in each section. The first two sections are written in third person allowing readers to observe the characters and their setting from an “all-knowing” stance as third-person narration often does. In the third section, Cervantes switches to first-person by channelling the narration through a character with limited perspective. It’s very strange for a narration style to switch in the middle of a novel. What were the author’s intentions behind that? Does the change in narration style parallel the overall theme of the novel?

What is Don Quixote’s stance on social classes and social norms?

Don Quixote wasn’t the only character to cause others to think outside the box. When other characters followed Don Quixote’s unconventional ways of interacting with others and interpreting who they are, the lines dividing social classes suddenly became blurred. Can a high-class individual be less intelligent than someone who is considered a peasant? Sancho may have proved that. Does someone suppress their genuine nature when they obey social norms by the letter? There are some who believe that social norms are good while other norms are detrimental. What is the risk of obeying or disobeying social norms or social classes?

Cervantes lived an interesting life. Do his ventures reflect in his novel?

For many writers, fiction parallels their reality. Cervantes lived with a poor family, joined the army when he was young, got captured by pirates with his brother, and was practically enslaved for five years. It was thanks to this novel that brought him wealth and status. Cervantes has seen both sides of the same coin when it comes to status and social classes. Are there other details of his life that burst through the characters or the situations in the novel?


Don Quixote quotes

Quixote is a very complicated character with views that differ from what is conventional. His quotes are therefore not usual but are laden with knowledge from the seemingly insane man. He, however, is not insane and a deep look at his sayings will show that he is full of wisdom, perhaps not showed in what would be expected conventionally, but wisdom nevertheless.

Hunger is the best sauce in the world.

– Miguel de Cervantes, Don Quixote

Where is madness in life? It could be that the one being too practical is the mad one or the one who surrenders his dream is the mad one. Being too sane may also be madness but the maddest are those who see life as it is instead of seeing it as it should be.

– Miguel de Cervantes, Don Quixote

The truth can be stretched but it will never break. Like oil floats over water, the truth will always surface above lies.

– Miguel de Cervantes, Don Quixote

Not everyone is intelligent enough to see things from the right point of view.

– Miguel de Cervantes, Don Quixote

The maddest thing a man can do in his life is to let himself die.

– Miguel de Cervantes, Don Quixote

Fortune is a flighty woman who drinks too much and is blind. She cannot see what she is doing and she does not know who she is lifting up or who she is knocking over. So, brave hearts need to be patient when things go badly and be happy when things go well.

– Miguel de Cervantes, Don Quixote

Blessings to whoever invented sleep. It is a mantle to cover all thoughts, food to satisfy all hunger, drink to slake thirst, fire to warm the cold, cold to moderate the heat and the currency to all busy things. It balances the shepherd and the king, simpletons and sages.

– Miguel de Cervantes, Don Quixote

Being a historian and a poet are two different things. A historian must recount things as they were, not as they should have been. On the other hand, a poet may sing tings as they ought to be.

– Miguel de Cervantes, Don Quixote

I do not give you my arm so you may kiss it. I give it so you may see how its sinews are structured and muscles held together, the veins’ breadth and capacity so you calculate the arm’s strength.

– Miguel de Cervantes, Don Quixote

I think I am enchanted and I am satisfied by this. It would be stressing if I was not enchanted and had to be locked up in a crate like a crazy person.

– Miguel de Cervantes, Don Quixote

When it comes to asking stupid questions and answering crazily, I need not go looking foe help.

– Miguel de Cervantes, Don Quixote

As evil lasts a long time, god must be near.

– Miguel de Cervantes, Don Quixote


Don Quixote outline

Basics of Writing An Essay

Important things to note about essay writing

Essays are writings you do while in school. You will be demanded to write essays before you can complete your education and get your certificate. When writing an essay, there are things you are expected to take note of. Taking note of the basics will help you come up with a great essay. Your grades will improve. Before writing any essay, it’s important you outline your points. This will ensure that you write your essay in a transitional manner. Each paragraph should introduce the next paragraph.

Let’s use the Don Quixote outline for example. If you want to write a summary of the novel, you should make sure you have pointed out the various chapters of the book. From the chapters, you write down valid points that you will develop later. When you’ve gotten points from all the chapters, then you’re 80 percent done with your essay. The next thing to do is to develop them in paragraphs.

Before delving into the body of your essay, you need to have an introduction to your essay topic. This is where you catch the reader’s attention and interest to read on. After the introduction, next would be the supporting paragraphs. This is where you bring in what you have learned. Let us take a look at the basic steps you should take.

Steps to take to write a Don Quixote essay:

Step 1

– Introduction:

This is where you give your audience a reason to continue reading your essay. The introduction should be captivating and spell bounding. If you are writing an essay on the example we gave above, Don Quixote outline and the highpoints of the novel should be stated in the introduction.

Step 2

– Paragraphs:

The paragraphs should be on the chapters of the book. If you have 5 chapters in a book, it is best you divide your paragraphs into 5. These paragraphs will build up the body of your essay. For each paragraph, you connect it with the preceding paragraph with words like firstly, secondly, thirdly etc. You can also use words like furthermore, in addition to, also, etc to add more details. To show cause and effect, you can make use of words like consequently, thus, therefore, as a result, etc.

Step 3

– Closing:

This is the last paragraph and should contain a summary of the main ideas of your essay. You can also add a call to action for your audience if the essay calls for it.


Don Quixote questions

There are many questions you can be asked to answer based on the ancient literature work titled Don Quixote. Here is a look at the common ones you are likely to encounter and their answers.

Does Don Quixote’s perception of the world affect that of others? How?

In the book, Don Quixote has a disregard for social convention. He tries to transform many people and objects to become more dramatic and energetic version of themselves. The people around him are forced to choose between accepting his unconventional way of thinking or rejecting it. Some even try to change him. These include the priest and the barber. They, however, end up being the ones whose view is changed. As they attempt to change Quixote’s wild fantasies, they end up understanding his fantasy world better and appreciating it. Others, on the other hand, oppose Don Quixote’s views from the very start. These are the Duke, Duchess and Sampson Carrasco. All of them, however, end up appreciating Don’s fantasies eventually. Sampson, for instance, decides to become a knight like Don so as to stop him. The events that unfold before the Duke and Duchess match Don’s visions making them start to believe Quixote’s perceptions.

Is Don Quixote insane or is his behaviour a conscious decision?

In the beginning of the novel, Don Quixote seems to be really insane with episodes of not recognising people and those of attacking strangers. As the novel progresses, however, he seems to become more aware of his actions and is completely sane at the end of the book. He occasionally hints to that he knows more than people think as he talks to his friends. This is an indication that he might be sane and doing all those insane actions consciously. By the time he dies, Don is completely sane. It is most likely that the character was intended to be a sane person with a different outlook in life that many interpret as insanity.

Discuss social class issue from the novel

The novel has characters of different social classes. There is Sancho the peasant, the Duke and Duchess who are aristocrats and many of the classes in between. Throughout the novel, lovers are faced with the challenge of the social class barrier but they eventually prevail as people get to see their worth beyond their social classes. Don Quixote is a useful character in closing the gap between the social classes. He is good-natured and imagines people to be of higher social classes than they actually are. He, for instance, sees country girls as princesses.

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