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Summary Book

Don Quixote of La Mancha

Don Quixote or Part 1 The ingenious gentleman don Quixote de la Mancha and Part 2 Second part of the ingenious gentleman don Quixote de la Mancha, is a novel published in two parts (part 1, 1605 and part 2, 1615) by the Spanish writer Miguel by Cervantes, who became one of the most widely read classics in Western literature.

Originally conceived as a parody of chivalrous romances that had been in literary vogue for a long time, it realistically describes what happens to an elderly gentleman who, confused by the reading of such romances, embarks on his old horse, Rocinante, with his pragmatic squire, Sancho Panza, to seek adventure.

Summary

Part 1

The work begins in a town, La Mancha, Spain, where the infatuation of a country gentleman with chivalry books leads him to decide to become a wandering knight, and assumes the name of Don Quixote. Find ancient armor and attach a cardboard visor to an old helmet. Then he declares that his old horse is the noble horse Rocinante. According to Don Quixote, a knight errant also needs a lady to love, and he selects a peasant from a nearby town, naming her Dulcinea del Toboso.

Thus dressed, he goes to perform acts of heroism on his behalf. He arrives at an inn, which he believes to be a castle, and insists that the innkeeper make him a knight. After being told he should bring extra money and clothes, Don Quixote decides to go home. On his way, he starts a fight with a group of merchants and they beat him up. When he recovers, he convinces the peasant Sancho Panza to act as his squire with the promise that Sancho will one day have an island to rule.

Don Quixote and Sancho, mounted on a donkey, left. In his first adventure, Don Quixote confuses a field of windmills with giants and tries to fight them, but finally concludes that a magician must have turned the giants into windmills.
Later he attacks a group of monks, thinking they have imprisoned a princess, and he also fights with a herd of sheep, among other adventures, almost all of which end with Don Quixote, Sancho, or both being beaten. Finally, Don Quixote acquires a metal sink from a barber, which he believes to be a helmet once worn by a famous knight, and then frees a group of convicted criminals.

Later, Don Quixote meets Cardenio, who lives as a wild man in the forest because he believes that Luscinda, the woman he loves, betrayed him. Don Quixote decides to emulate him to demonstrate his great love for Dulcinea, and sends Sancho to deliver a letter to him. When Sancho stops at an inn, he finds two of Don Quixote’s old friends, a priest and a barber, looking for him.

They decide that someone must impersonate a damsel in distress to try to lure Don Quixote home. Along the way, they meet a young woman, Dorotea, who was betrayed by Don Fernando, who married Luscinda.

Dorotea agrees to pretend to be a princess whose kingdom has been captured by a giant, and Don Quixote is convinced to help her. They stop at the inn, where Don Fernando and Luscinda arrive soon. Luscinda meets with Cardenio and Don Fernando promises to marry Dorotea. Later, the priest and the barber put Don Quixote in a wooden cage and persuaded him that he is under an enchantment that will take him to Dulcinea. Finally, they return him home.

part 2

Part 2 begins a month after the end of Part 1, but many of the characters have already read that book and know about Don Quixote. She convinces herself that Dulcinea is under an enchantment that has made her a common peasant. Don Quixote and Sancho meet a duke and a duchess prone to jokes.

In one of these tricks, the two men are persuaded that Sancho must take 3,300 lashes to break the curse in Dulcinea. Later, the duke turns Sancho into the governor of a city that, according to him, is the island of Barataria. There, Sancho is presented with several disputes, and shows wisdom in his decisions. However, after a week in office and being subjected to other pranks, he decides to resign from the governorship. Meanwhile, the duke and duchess play other tricks on Don Quixote.

Finally, Don Quixote and Sancho leave. After learning that a false sequel to the book about him that says he traveled to Zaragoza, Don Quixote decides to avoid that city and go to Barcelona. After several adventures there, Don Quixote is challenged by the Knight of the White Moon (a La Mancha student in disguise), and is defeated. In accordance with the terms of the battle, Don Quixote is required to return home. Along the way, Sancho pretends to administer the necessary restraints for himself, and they meet a character from the fake sequel. After arriving home, Don Quixote falls ill, renounces chivalry as silly fiction, and dies.

Genre: Satire

Don Quixote is a satirical picaresque romance that was written in response to the many exaggerated chivalric romances of the Cervantes era. It contains many ideas about the human psyche and the reasoning of the collective conscience. The main meaning in Don Quixote is that society does not accept a deviation from the norm.

A Romance is a fictional story in verse and prose that relates improbable adventures of idealized characters in a remote or enchanted setting. This description of the romantic form fits Don Quixote like a glove. Dotted with verses every few chapters and telling the story of a Spanish nobleman (Don Quixote de la Mancha) who, by reading too many cavalry tales, comes to think that he is a knight who must fight the injustices of the world.

Characters

  • Don Quixote: the tragicomic hero of the novel. Don Quixote’s main quest in life is to revive the wandering cavalry in a world devoid of chivalrous virtues and values.
  • Sancho Panza: The peasant worker, greedy but kind, faithful but cowardly, whom Don Quixote takes as his squire. A representation of the common man.
  • Rocinante: Don Quixote’s horse. Rocinante is slow but faithful, and is as exhausted as Don Quixote.
  • Rucio: Sancho’s donkey. Rucio’s disappearance and reappearance is the subject of much controversy both in history and in literary criticism of Don Quixote.
  • Cide Hamete Benengeli: The fictional writer of decent Moors whose manuscripts Cervantes allegedly translates the novel.
  • Dulcinea Del Toboso: the invisible force that drives all the adventures of Don Quixote. Dulcinea, a peasant woman that Don Quixote imagines as his beloved.

Analysis

Don Quixote attempts to be a flesh and blood example of a knight errant in an attempt to compel his contemporaries to face their own failure to maintain the old system of morality, the chivalrous code. This conflict between the old and the new comes to an absolute standstill: nobody understands Don Quixote, and he does not understand anyone.

Only simple-minded Sancho, with self-motivated desires and a basic understanding of morals, can mediate between Don Quixote and the rest of the world. Sancho often subscribes to the morale of his time, but then surprises us by demonstrating a belief in the anachronistic morale of chivalry as well.

In the first part of the novel, we see the stagnation between Don Quixote and those around him. Don Quixote cannot, for example, identify with the priest’s rational perspective and goals, and Don Quixote’s belief in charm seems ridiculous to the priest.

However, towards the end of the Second Part, Cervantes compromises between these two apparently incompatible systems of morality, allowing the imaginary world of Don Quixote and the common world of the Duke and Duchess to infiltrate each other. As the two worlds begin to mix, we begin to see the advantages and disadvantages of each. Sancho finally prevails, subscribing to his timeless aphorisms and ascetic discipline, on the one hand, and using his rational abilities to adapt to the present, on the other.