Summary of «Don Quixote de la Mancha». Analysis and characteristics

Summary of «Don Quixote de la Mancha». Analysis and characteristics

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It has been repeatedly said that «Don Quijote of La Mancha", better known as "The Quijote»Was written as a satire to the chivalry books.

The author, Miguel de Cervantes Saavedra, says in the prologue that the work is “an invective against chivalry books”, Conceived with the purpose of parodying their nonsense and undo "the authority and place they have in the world”.

In this order of ideas, the work narrates the adventures of a gentleman named Don Alonso Quijano. He lived in the La Mancha region -Castile—He was the owner of land of little value.

His fondness for reading chivalric novels had dire consequences, lost his mind and decided to do errant knight in order to undo grievances, protect the underdog, correct wrongs; in short, do everything that, according to what I had read, used to do knights errant.

In its knight role dust off some old guns that had belonged to his great grandparents; He conditions and season them as best he can and, satisfied with them, he goes in search of his horse.

It took him four days to name his rocín, a skinny and lanky horse that, in his opinion, “not even the Bucephalus of Alexander nor Babieca the one of the Cid with him they equaled themselves ”. Called him Rocinante.

Put already name to His horse He decided to find one for himself, a task that took him eight days; finally honored his lineage and his country as he had read that knights did, choosing the very sonorous of Don Quijote of La Mancha.

There is only one lady to whom he can dedicate his precious and courageous adventures; for this he turns his attention to a peasant woman with whom he was in love at one time, she is Aldonza Lorenzo, Originally from Toboso, she gives a name to her way of seeing "pilgrim and significant", worthy of the lady of her thoughts: Dulcinea del Toboso.

Finished the details and provided with your weapons, go out in search of adventure.

its first outing it is the occasion to be knighted, according to what was believed to be the rituals of the knights errant law.

Framed in his work, he comes out in defense of a young man who, is beaten by his master and when responding to the taunts of some merchants, is severely beaten and left badly injured.

A friend finds him and takes him to his village, where the priest Y the barber, his faithful companions, they make an inventory of his novels and decide to eliminate them, considering them the reason for his friend's madness.

Once all the chivalric literature is burned, Don Quixote prepares his second exit, this time decide to look for a squire.

To do this, he turns to his neighbor Sancho Panza, a rough farmer of little reasoning, to whom he promised many things, among them an island, persuading him to follow him.

Together they undertake multiple adventures, among them the one of the Windmills, The one of the Frailes and the Vizcaíno, that of the goatherds, the penance of Don Quixote in Sierra Morena, imitating Amadís de Gaula.

He sends Sancho to bring a letter to Dulcinea, the priest and the barber find out his whereabouts and come looking for him, forcing him to return to his homeland.

In its third exit, the hidalgo goes to Toboso, because he wants to find out what happened to him enchantment of his beloved Dulcinea.

Later he fights with the knight of the mirrors and obtains a total triumph without recognizing in him his friend, the bachelor Sansón Carrasco. Go down to the cave of Montesinos; has an encounter with Master Pedro and his soothsaying monkey.

He goes to Barcelona where he fights with him Knight of the White Moon, who turns out to be the same high school graduate Carrasco; this time he is defeated.

As penance Bachelor Carrasco imposes him to live for a year in his land of birth.

He returns to his village, he wants to be a shepherd, but nostalgia takes hold of him. He falls victim to a disease and suddenly regains his reason, hates chivalric novels, makes and writes his will and dies, to the dismay of his friends.

Structural diagram of Don Quixote de la Mancha

The novel is made up of two parts.

First part of Don Quixote

Made by 52 chaptersIn it, Cervantes strives to show exactly a parody of chivalric novels. It contains a series of digressions where the author intersperses extracts from novels that distract interest from the work.

A vague characterization of the hero's character can be observed; Don Quixote is not yet outlined precisely as the knight which is defined in the second part of the novel.

The predominant aspects of this first part are the following:

  1. Embarrassed by madness, Don Quixote transforms any ordinary event into an extraordinary event. His courage and chivalric skills emerge in the face of any lawlessness or injustice that comes his way.
  2. With a rich imaginative variety, the author contrasts the hero's hallucinations, interpreted according to the libretto of chivalric novels, against reality. Thus the great windmills become gigantic enemies:

In this they discovered thirty or forty windmills that are in that field and just as Don Quixote saw them, he said to his squire: "Chance is guiding our things better than we were right to wish; because you see there, friend Sancho Panza, where thirty or a little more outrageous giants are discovered with whom I intend to do battle and take their lives from all, with whose spoils we will begin to enrich ourselves ”.

A well-defined mood from grotesque, yet everyday situations:

Don Quixote came forward, and asked another his crime, who responded with no less, but with much more gallantry than in the past: -I am going here because I made fun too much with two first cousins ​​of mine, and with two other sisters who did not. they were mine; finally, I made fun of all of them so much that it resulted from the mockery to grow the family so intricately, that there is no devil to declare it.

In this first part the details of two of don Quixote's departures and the various adventures he undertakes during them.

Second part of Don Quixote

Published ten years after the first, it consists of 74 chapters.

The work appears with a more elaborate artistic style, where the author already has a mastery of his character. The fundamental traits of his character are defined: nobility and goodness.

Despite his erroneous and ridiculous actions, the reader becomes fond of this hero who strives to practice the well and the Justice. This second part contains the account of the Don Quixote's third outing and the actions that it performs.

The character complexity, by alternating chivalrous nonsense and sensible reflection:

I am a gentleman and of the profession that you say; and although sadness, misfortune and misfortune have their own seat in my soul, that is not why the compassion I have for other people's misfortunes has been driven away from it.

The Highlights of this second part are analyzed below:

  1. The transformation of reality is no longer a solitary effort of the knight of the sad figure, as Don Quixote defines himself. Realizing his delirium and madness, other characters go along with him. Some just want to help him, as is the case with the bachelor Sansón Carrasco, Don Antonio Moreno, the priest, the barber. Others just make fun of him.
  2. When the evidence shows Don Quixote how fanciful his reasoning is, he resorts to the artifice of the enchanters who pursue him. In this way you see your obsession confirmed without having to deny the facts at your own risk:

-Sancho, what do you think about how bad I am of charmers? And look at the extent of their malice and their anger at me, because they have wanted to deprive me of the contentment that my mistress could give me to see in her being. And you must also warn, Sancho, that these traitors were not content to have returned and transformed my Dulcinea, but they transformed her and returned into a figure as low and as ugly as that of that villager.

He says this so as not to recognize that, Aldonza Lorenzo, is not even remotely a great lady worthy of knights errant, as he had imagined.

    1. When he was confined to his native land for a year and in total abandonment of his life as a knight-errant, he decided to fulfill his penance by becoming a shepherd and dedicating himself to the life of the country. Together with Sancho Panza, he plans their new lifestyle, and in these musings they arrive at their village and are received by family and friends. However, the noble knight suffered a rare disease, attributed by his friends to the melancholy and sadness of being defeated and, not having fulfilled his desire to disenchant his lady Dulcinea.
    2. Don Quixote regains his wits and abhors chivalric novels, apologizes to Sancho Panza for having involved him in his mad adventures, draws up his will and dies in the company of his niece and friends.

Relationship of the title of the work with the content

Don Quijote of La Mancha It is the name adopted by a noble gentleman in his fifties; He leads a life devoid of incentives, without a defined love or goals to follow.

Due to the excessive reading of knighthood novels, he loses his mind and decides to launch himself into the world as a knight errant.

He admires their courage and thirst for justice. In his ravings he really believes in his character, that his nag is Rocinante, a spirited and powerful horse; that Sancho Panza is his squire and that the farmer Aldonza Lorenzo is Dulcinea del Toboso, his beloved and refined mistress, to whom he dedicates all his adventures.

Even within his madness Don Quixote presents the typical aspects of the human soul, with its strengths and weaknesses.

Form of presentation of the story.

Type of narration in Don Quixote

In Don Quixote We do not find a single type of narrator or a single narrative point of view. At first, we visualize a narrator in the third person, omniscient, knows everything about the feeling and thinking of each character. From Chapter VIII a new narrative perspective.

Cervantes includes an editor in the story, a Moorish sage whom he calls mockingly Cide Hamete Benengeli:

When I heard Dulcinea del Toboso say, I was astonished and suspended, because later it was represented to me that those folders contained the story of Don Quixote. With this imagination, I hastened him to read the principle and, grasping it there, suddenly turning the Arabic into Spanish, he said that it said: History of Don Quixote de la Mancha, written by Cide Benengeli arabian historian. […] Then I separated myself with the Moorish man through the cloister of the main church, and I begged him to return those folders to me, all those that dealt with Don Quixote, in Spanish, without removing or adding anything to them.

That translation is the one we are going to read from now on.

By introducing this figure, the author distances himself from the story, obtaining the freedom to contribute humorous or skeptical comments that, had he been the narrator himself, would have had no place.

Introducing this historical fiction which generates a type of witness narratorIt is a resource widely used by chivalric novels; perhaps Cervantes uses it for the parodic tone of the work.

Narrative sequences in Don Quixote

The novel has a travel structure with the particularity that it is made up of three outputs. Each of them presents a circular movement: departure, adventures accomplished, return home.

This happening is frequently interrupted by brief stories interspersed that function as retarding elements of the narrative: a narrative pastoral in the story of Marcela and Crisóstomo; a novel sentimental in the history of Dorotea and Cardenio; a novel picaresque in the adventures of the Galeotes, Maritornes, Guinesillo and others.

The structure is open, consisting of a series of episodes, related only by the physical presence and vision of the world of Don Quixote and Sancho

Don Quixote characters

This itinerant novel with many episodes contains a conglomeration of representative figures of attitudes and groups from 17th century Spain.

It portrays innkeepers, muleteers, party girls (prostitutes), galleys, Moors, bandits, puppeteers and all kinds of travelers.

The aristocracy is also present in the figure of the dukes and their court. In view of this; we will select only a part of the secondary characters in the play.


    • Don Quijote of La Mancha
    • Sancho Panza
    • Aldonza Lorenzo: Dulcinea del Toboso.
    • Rocinante, Don Quixote's horse personified by him.
    • Sancho's donkey.
    • Cide Hamete Benengeli, the writer of the story of Don Quixote.


  • He loves.
  • Don Quixote's niece. Antonia Quijana.
  • Pedro Pérez the priest.
  • Nicolas the barber.
  • A "waiter of field and square"
  • A landlord and "two maidens" (whores) who served Don Quixote.
  • A farmer, Haldudo and Andrés his servant.
  • The merchants.
  • Pedro Alonso, his neighbor who rescues him from his first adventure.
  • Frestón, the wise man who stole Don Quixote's books and room.
  • Juana (Teresa) Panza, Sancho's wife.
  • A Biscayan lady and her companions.
  • Six goatherds, where Antonio stands out, a young man who sang a romance for them.
  • Marcela, a beautiful and haughty shepherdess.
  • More than twenty yangüeses muleteers.
  • Juan Palomeque, a landlord, his wife and daughter.
  • Maritornes, an Asturian girl.
  • The priest Alonso López.
  • A barber carrying a golden basin.
  • The shepherds of the sheep and rams that Don Quixote saw in his madness as two armies.
  • Some galley slaves and their guards.
  • Guinés de Pasamonte, thief and rogue that we later see in the second part as a puppeteer.
  • Cardenio, a man who was wandering around Sierra Morena because he suffered from love sickness.
  • Luscinda, Cardenio's love interest.
  • Dorotea, a beautiful young woman who pretends to be Princess Micomicona.
  • Samson Carrasco, a bachelor who ends the hidalgo's madness by first posing as the Knight of Mirrors and then as the Knight of the White Moon.
  • Tomé Cecial, Sancho's neighbor, pretends to be the squire of the Knight of Mirrors.
  • Diego de Miranda, the hidalgo.
  • Labradors, students, dancers, musicians, zagales.
  • Maese Pedro, the same Ginés de Pasamonte now a puppeteer.
  • Dukes and their servants.
  • Álvaro de Tarfe.
  • The Morisco Ricote, friend of Sancho Panza.
  • Servants of Sancho on the island.

Don Quixote atmosphere


The physical displacement of the protagonists he is outlining the place where the events or adventures take place; We also know that the knight of the sad figure lived in "in place of the spot”.

Through the adventures they face on their pilgrimage, the protagonists show us their wanderings through the eastern lands of Spain: The Stain, Aragon Y Catalonia.

His last adventure as a knight errant was lived in Barcelona:

On leaving Barcelona, ​​Don Quixote returned to look at the place where he had fallen, and said: - Here was Troy! Here my misery, and not my cowardice, took away my achieved glories; here I use the fortune with me from its twists and turns; here my exploits are darkened; here finally, my luck fell never to rise.


The psychological profile of the characters it is diverse and very rich.

We have a courageous hero determined to fight for the weak and needy; being beaten, beaten, stoned, teased; all motivated by the madness of Don Quixote and the ignorance and naivety of Sancho Panza.

Loaded with a melancholic and sad mood, the work presents us with the psychic journey of the protagonists revolving around a set of ideales from Justice, freedom Y goodness; difficult to reach, but not for that reason neglected.

The deluded and idealistic knight fight in a dimension out of all context.

Beside him, Sancho's personality evolves as he assimilates the motives and way of feeling of his master. The deep human sense of the protagonists, collides with the harsh reality of a society that does not understand altruists.

Don Quixote believes that society it would be better if it were as he imagines her in his chivalric hallucination: clean of evil and selfishness.

The regretful and fatalistic attitude of Don Quixote it shows constantly in his speech:

"Get up, Sancho," Don Quixote said at this point; I already see that fortune, not fed up with my evil, has taken all the roads through which some contentment can come to this petty soul that I have in my flesh.


Language type

The language of the work is apparently simple and plain, but by deeply analyzing the form of expression, we find a astonishing diversity in its morphology, through the management of innumerable rhetorical figures (ironies, ellipsis, comparisons, antitheses ...), used by the author to configure his story.

Don Quixote reflects the 16th century way of writing, but it presents variations according to the speaker.

With a very refined Castilian language, the novel exhibits an expressive gala rich in nuances and registers, with a rhythmic structure that gives the story unique perspectives.

The style of Cervantes is cultured, clear and attached to the Renaissance literary currents:

With these reasons, the poor gentleman lost his mind, and was awakened by understanding them and unraveling their meaning, that Aristotle himself would not take it out or understand them, if he were resurrected for that alone.

The characters are defined by careful linguistic characterization. Don Quixote uses a rhetorical expression, in various slang, depending on the circumstances in which it is. When you are in your role as errant knight, uses a language archaic, typical of the imitation of the language of chivalry:

"Do not be your mercies or fear any misgivings; ca to the order of chivalry that I profess does not touch or concern anybody, the more so high maidens as your presence shows. […] __The moderation seems good in the beautiful ones, and the laughter that comes from a slight cause is also a lot of nonsense; But I'm not saying it because you go or show a bad mood; that mine is not the one to serve you.

On the other hand, if the conversation doesn't focus on chivalric topics, his speech is that of the polite and simple time:

Don Quixote said to him: __Sancho friend, the night is beginning to walk us more, and with more darkness than we had needed to reach to see Toboso with the day, where I have determined to go before I put myself on another adventure.

If it is a question of discourse, then his speech adopts a style widely rhetorical:

Happy age and blessed centuries are those to whom the ancients gave the name of gilding, and not because in them the gold, which in our iron age is also esteemed, was reached in that fortunate one without any fatigue, but because then those who lived in it They ignored these two words of yours and mine.

In the way of talk that exhibits the character of Sancho Panza, there is less variety and more regularity. She is affectionate, funny, expressive and at times irrational.

In his voice-overs uses infinity of sayings popular and although their lord is bothered, he never gives up on them; so much so that he even uses them:

God can remedy that –answered Sancho-, because I know more sayings than a book, and so many come to my mouth when I speak, that they quarrel with each other for going out; but the tongue spews out the first ones it finds, even if they don't come bareback. More I will have an account from here before saying those that suit the gravity of my position; that, in a full house, dinner is soon cooked; and whoever shuffles does not shuffle; and safe is the one who rings, and giving and having, it is necessary.

In general, this work boasts an unparalleled linguistic richness, where each character brings the nuances of their role.

Expressive forms

Don Quixote is a novel narrated in the form of chronicle, However, it is possible to fully distinguish expressive forms (narration, description and dialogue), which are part of the exposition of the narrative text. Let's see the following examples:


That night the mistress burned and burned all the books in the corral and in the whole house, and such books must have burned that they deserved to be kept in perpetual archives; but their luck and the laziness of the scrutinizer did not allow it, and thus the saying in them was fulfilled that they sometimes pay just for sinners.


He had in his house a mistress who was over forty, and a niece who was less than twenty, and a country and plaza waiter who thus saddled the nag as he took the pruning shear, Frisa was our hidalgo's age at fifty. He was of strong complexion, dry of meat, lean of face, great early riser and friend of the hunt.


As Don Quixote saw him. He said: "What's up, Sancho, my friend? Can I mark this day with a white or black stone?

"It would be better," answered Sancho, "that your grace designate her with the labels of professorships because those who see her look good on her."

"In this way," replied Don Quixote, "you bring good news."

"So good," replied Sancho, "that you have only to do your mercy but sting Rocinante and go out to see Mrs. Dulcinea del Toboso, who with two other maidens of hers comes to see your mercy."

-Holy God! What do you say, Sancho friend? Don Quixote said. Look, do not deceive me, nor do you want with false joys to cheer up my true sorrows.

Literary Resources in Don Quixote

The widely rhetorical language of Don Quixote constitutes one of the fundamental characteristics of his narrative style.

Don Quixote and Sancho Panza they express a linguistic antithesis that occurs in a popular and rustic language, and in another cultured one, where realistic phrases alternate with chivalric jargon.

In this novel we find a rich range of resources stylistic that make it a well-finished work of art. Examples of this are the following:


Our mistress, dressed and adorned; in short, like who she is. Her maids and she all They're a golden ember, all pearl ears, they are all diamonds, all rubies, all brocade fabrics over ten high; the hair loose from behind, there are so many sunlight that are playing with the wind.

This is how Sancho expresses the virtues of the supposed mistress (Dulcinea) and her maidens

Don Quixote for his part defines his features and characteristics with intertwined metaphors:

It should be enough for you, miscreants, to have changed eye pearls my lady in cork gills, and its hair of pure gold in oxtail bristles bermejo […] without touching the smell; that for him we even remove what was concealed under that ugly crust. […] Because I know well what [Dulcinea] smells like that rose among thorns, that lily of the field, that faded amber.


The saddle's rear saddle jumped past, and without spurs makes the hacanea run like A zebra. And his maidens that all they run like the wind. […] He put the spurs on Rocinante, and, putting the spear at the hand, under the] from the coastline as a lightning.


The hair that somehow pulled manes, he marked them by strands of lucid gold from Arabia, whose brightness to that of the sun itself darkened.

Of pure ground and broken you could not have on the donkey, and from time to time it gave a few sighs that put them in heaven.


The sky moved by my tears and prayers has ordered that Rocinante cannot move; and if you want to persist and spur, and dalle, it will anger fortune.

Sensory images in Don Quixote

Visual image

They did so and stood on a hill, from which the two herds that don Quixote made armies could be clearly seen if the clouds of dust they raised did not disturb and blind their view; but, with all this, seeing in his imagination what he did not see and did not have.

The nobleman Diego de Miranda, riding on the back of a very beautiful tordilla mare, dressed in a coat of fine green cloth […]; the mare's dressing was […] also purple and green; […] The spurs were not golden, but given with a green varnish.

Auditory imaging

The hunt began with a great roar, shouting and shouting, so that one another could not be heard, both by the barking of the dogs and by the sound of the horns.

Touch image

From the dust and fatigue that Don Quixote and Sancho brought out from the discomfiture of the bulls, a clear and clean fountain helped that among a fresh grove of trees they found […] he wiped his mouth, Don Quixote washed his face.

Olfactory image

It has another property very different from what I have heard said of demons; because, it is said, they all smell like sulfur and other bad smells, but this one smells like amber from half a league.

Synaesthetic image

Was the night, as said dark, and they happened to enter between some tall trees, whose leaves moved from the soft wind, they made a fearful and quiet noise; so that the loneliness, the darkness, the noise of the water with the rustle of the leaves, all caused horror and fright.

Other narrative characteristics in Don Quixote de la Mancha


There it was the desire of the sword of Amadis against whom no enchantment had force; there was the cursing of his fortune; there it was exaggerating the lack of his presence in the world as long as there was delighted; there the to remember again his beloved Dulcinea del Toboso; there it was calling his good squire Sancho Panza.


God have you by his hand, poor Don Quixote; that it seems to me that you fall off the high summit from your madness to the deep abyss of your simplicity!


This my master, for a thousand signs I have seen that he is a madman to tie up, and even I also do not lag behind, because I am more foolish than him, because I follow him and serve him, if the saying that says “Not with who you are born but with whom peace”.


If some beautiful woman comes to ask you for justice, take your eyes off her tears and yours ears of their moans, and slowly consider the substance of what it asks, if you do not want it to be flooded your reason in her crying Y your goodness in their sighs.


Blood is inherited and virtue is acquired, and virtue alone is worth what blood is not worth.


Let us drink and live; that time is careful to take away the lifes, without us looking for appetites so that they are finished before their season and term arrives and that they fall when they are ripe.


I embrace these legs, well, as if I embraced the two columns of Hercules, oh famous reviver of the already forgotten errant cavalry! Oh, never how should be praised knight Don Quixote de la Mancha, courage of the fainted, support of those who are about to fall, arms of the fallen, staff and consolation of all the unfortunate!


Look, my father's body, "answered Sancho," what sable chives or what flakes of carded cotton he puts in his bags, so as not to crush the hooves and make the bones henna! But even if they were filled with silk cocoons, know, my lord, that I am not to fight.

Verisimilitude of the story

The events narrated in Don Quixote are fictitious, but not for that reason devoid of logic.

In the plot of this novel gravitates the hectic life of the Baroque Spain, with a feeling of failure, pessimism and abandonment; They only have a defeated and exhausted country left.

Cervantes cannot evade this reality, his own life reflects it.

In 1605Just the year in which he published the first part of his magnum opus, he was taken prisoner along with his sisters, his niece and his daughter, because a Navarrese gentleman appeared dead in front of his house.

The honor of a whole family goes to jail, but he does not faint; fight and manage to get out of this impasse.

We see in Don Quixote, skepticism and tolerance of a man who, tragedies and adversities, did not lose his understanding spirit and humanity.

The Ingenious Gentleman Don Quijote of La Mancha He is not a grotesque madman, he is a character full of humanity, kind and a lover of justice.

On the other hand, his squire Sancho Panza, represents an ignorant and naive figure, motivated by the satisfaction of immediate material desire.

However, Sancho's practical vision does not rival quixotic idealism, because both practicality and goodness are values ​​that are integrated into the human being.

Cervantes tries to merge them into a game of contrasts that show their benevolent irony in life.

Artistic significance and universality of Don Quixote de la Mancha

The universality of Don Quixote extends to all artistic fields; at the literary level it has been the subject of various analyzes and studies. It is the most translated and edited book after the Bible.

Musical works inspired by this novel have been written. Painters with extensive experience such as Goya or Salvador DaliThey have drawn allusive canvases to the knight of the sad figure.

In his honor, great artistic monuments have been made in engravings and sculptures and, the sculptural group that, is known worldwide, represents Don Quixote de la Mancha and his squire Sancho Panza; located in Plaza España in Madrid.

This work is undoubtedly an unparalleled literary creation, where Cervantes, wishing to parody the chivalric novels, wrote the best of them.

Here you can read Don Quixote de la Mancha.

Consulted bibliography

Sawing Poncela, Second. Western Literature. Edition of the Central University of Venezuela, Caracas, 1963.

Steban Scarpa, Roque. Classic Spanish Readings. Editorial Zig-Zag. Santiago de Chile.

Marquez Villanueva. Don Quixote characters and themes. Editorial Taurus. Madrid Spain, 1972.

Rosenbalt, Angel. The language of Don Quixote. Editorial Gredos. Hispanic Romanesque Library. Volume II. Madrid Spain, 1978.

Castro, Americo. The thought of Cervantes. Editorial Noguer. Barcelona Spain, 1972.

Cervantes Saavedra, Miguel de. Don Quijote of La Mancha. Editorial Bruguera. 2 volumes. Barcelona, ​​Spain. 1971.

Video: Classics Summarized: Don Quixote