Miguel de Cervantes


Summary DON QUIXOTE - Miguel de Cervantes

The ingenious nobleman, Don Quixote of La Mancha, is one of the most famous characters from the rich body of world literature.
The story about him begins with a nobleman in a Spanish village whose mind was clouded by excessive reading of popular kitschy novels about the adventures and heroism of wandering knights, to the point where he himself decided to become a wandering knight. He then sets out to travel the roads of Spain in search of adventures, fame, and romance, ready to defend the weak and helpless and rescue innocent maidens! In doing so, the delusional knight stubbornly distorts the reality around him, seeing it solely through the fiction of traps and plots from the cheap novels he has read.

Although Don Quixote is described as a humorous character, he is much more than that, as he exists as an inseparable part of the human nature of every individual. He appears in people in every situation when desires and dreams of justice, courage, fame, and romance collide with the harsh and unforgiving reality. Through his appearance, it is shown how ideals of love, courage, romance, fame... can be the result of great exaggeration to the point of the impossible.

Interestingly, the moment Don Quixote becomes aware and realizes that his desire for a knightly life is just an unattainable delusion, the only thing he still wants is to write his will. He does not want to continue living an empty life devoid of honor, ideals, dreams, struggle, excitement, and soon dies.

Immediately after the character of Don Quixote, we encounter the striking presence of his faithful companion, the squire Sancho Panza. Unlike Don Quixote, he is just a simple peasant, for whom small material benefits are much more appealing than great knightly fame. However, there was something "Don Quixote-like" in him as well because he never abandoned his master and sometimes even accepted his crazy views of reality. Together, they became an extremely unusual and unforgettable pair, still traveling the paths of literature to this day.


  • In a Spanish village, Alonso Quijano, a poor nobleman in his fifties, loved to read many very popular books about wandering knights, their fame, and adventures. Obsessed with knightly adventures, one day he decides to become a wandering knight himself and make a name for himself by performing great knightly deeds.

  • He makes himself a funny armor and declares himself a knight named Don Quixote del La Mancha. He names his old horse, the nag, Rocinante. Like a true great knight, he wanted to dedicate his future heroic deeds to a beautiful lady and become the protector of her name. However, as he did not know any real ladies, he named a peasant woman from a neighboring village, named Aldonza Lorenza, as his lady, renamed her Dulcinea del Toboso, and set out in search of adventures.

  • After a whole day of riding, he arrives at an inn. But instead of an inn, he seems to see an enchanted castle. Don Quixote enters inside, and when the innkeeper notices his behavior of an imaginary knight, who was a great joker, he decides to treat him as a real knight for fun. Don Quixote asks him to declare him a knight as the lord of the castle. The jocular innkeeper agrees, declares him a knight, and even advises him that he must find a squire for himself.

  • Don Quixote continues on the path chosen by his horse until he meets a group of merchants. He asks them to show respect to his lady, Dulcinea del Toboso. When the merchants realize that he is a disturbed man, they start mocking him. This angers Don Quixote, who charges at them, but then his horse throws him off the saddle, and then their servant beats him up well. A beaten Don Quixote is found by one of his neighbors and taken back home.

  • At home, his niece and the housekeeper, as well as two of his friends, who were a barber and a priest, realize that Don Quixote has gone mad from reading too many books about knights, so they immediately burn all his books and forbid him from reading. But as soon as he recovers, he convinces a rude peasant, Sancho Panza, to become his squire and accompany him on his journey to glory. As a reward for Sancho's services, Don Quixote promises to make him the ruler of a conquered island. Then the two of them (Don Quixote tall and thin on a horse and the short and chubby Sancho Panza on a donkey) sneak out of the village and set off on new adventures.

  • When they see a field in front of them with thirty or more windmills, Don Quixote calls them vile and wicked giants, and despite Sancho's warnings that they are not giants but windmills, he goes into battle. He charges with his horse and lance at one of them. In that fight, Don Quixote's lance gets caught in the windmill's sail and throws him and his horse into the air. He gets bruised but then continues on in his adventures.

  • Don Quixote ate very little and slept very little because he spent the whole night thinking about his lady, Dulcinea del Toboso. He did this because he read that all wandering knights who had their ladies did the same and were infinitely devoted to them.

  • In the following days, Don Quixote sought opportunities for glorious battles everywhere. When he saw two monks following a lady's carriage, he thought they were evil sorcerers and princess abductors, attacked them, and drove them away. He asked the lady to go to Dulcinea del Toboso and tell her how he saved her.

  • In the next adventure, both of them were beaten by muleteers. While resting, Don Quixote's horse, Rocinante, approached a herd of horses looking for mares to mate with. This sparked a fight between the horse owners and the knight with his squire, in which two heroes were well beaten.

  • They arrived at the inn, the same one Don Quixote had seen earlier as a castle. Inside, they were welcomed and taken care of to recover. However, Sancho arranged a secret night love meeting with the innkeeper. During the night, the innkeeper made a mistake and instead of going to Sancho's bed, she ended up in Don Quixote's bed, causing confusion as they didn't know who was hitting whom in the dark. In the morning, Don Quixote declared the inn a bewitched castle and left without paying the innkeeper. As a result, the innkeeper and guests grabbed Sancho Panza and made him pay the entire debt.

  • Moving on, both of them saw a large herd of sheep ahead of them. Don Quixote said that it was the whole army he wanted to fight against alone. He charged into the flock of sheep and started stabbing them. When the shepherds noticed him, they pelted him with stones, knocking out several of his teeth, and he fell to the ground. Thinking he was dead, the shepherds quickly gathered their seven dead sheep and fled.

  • Continuing through the night, they encountered a procession of oddly dressed people carrying torches, singing something sad. Don Quixote saw them as devilish beings and attacked them. They thought Don Quixote was a ghostly apparition and quickly dispersed. Don Quixote managed to catch one of them and interrogated them to find out who they were. He then learned that it was just a funeral procession taking the deceased to the morgue.

  • Further along the way, one day they saw a group of prisoners being escorted by only one guard. Don Quixote felt sorry for these poor people, so he decided to set them free. He somehow managed to drive away the guard and release the prisoners. In return, he asked the prisoners to go to his lady, Dulcinea del Toboso, and pay their respects to her. When the prisoners realized he was a bit mad, they robbed him and threw stones at him. Don Quixote was disappointed by how ungrateful people could be, while Sancho Panza was worried that the authorities would arrest Don Quixote for releasing the prisoners.

  • Don Quixote accepts Sancho Panza's warning that he could be arrested for releasing prisoners, so they head towards the mountain. There they meet a man who went mad because of unrequited love and called himself the Knight of the Sorry Countenance. Don Quixote sees himself and his love in his fate and immediately imitates the madness. He sends Sancho to deliver a letter from El Toboso to Dulcinea, in which he informs her that he has gone mad with love for her. Sancho then realizes that Dulcinea del Toboso, in whom Don Quixote was in love, is actually a simple peasant girl named Aldonza Lorenza.

  • Along the way, Sancho meets two of Don Quixote's friends, a priest and a barber, who were looking for him. They learn from Sancho about their adventures and where Don Quixote is. They then make a plan to bring him back home.

  • With the help of various travelers they encounter, who are also on their own exciting and convoluted missions, they manage to persuade Don Quixote to return, in order to entrust him with a supposedly important knightly task of protecting a princess. Don Quixote agrees and does his best to fulfill the task, making new foolish acts in the process. Eventually, when he realizes he has been deceived, the priest and the barber capture him and lock him in a cage on ox carts to take him back home.

  • Don Quixote resists the return, but the priest, knowing from the stories Don Quixote read that he lives in a world of knights and wizards, presents himself as a wizard who magically takes him home in a carriage where honors await him. Don Quixote believes in this, although Sancho tries to explain to him that the ox carts are no magical carriage. However, along the way, Don Quixote manages to create new troubles when he attacks hooded penitents, who were carrying the statue of the Virgin Mary in the carts, claiming they are bandits who have kidnapped and imprisoned a good lady. He gets beaten up again so that Sancho Panza, lamenting, believes his master is now dead. But Don Quixote was not dead; he quietly returned home, where his niece and housekeeper nursed him, feeling that the wandering knight would soon become a restless spirit again.


  • In the second part, Don Quixote, together with Sancho Panza, sets out for the third time from the village in search of adventures. By then, they had already become very famous, as stories of their experiences had spread far and wide, even books about their exploits were being printed.

  • Don Quixote decides to go to El Toboso to pay homage to his beloved lady, Dulcinea. On the way, they meet three girls who were ordinary peasant women. Sancho tries to trick Don Quixote into believing that one of them is Dulcinea del Toboso with her attendants, hoping that his master will recognize one of them as Dulcinea. However, as he does not recognize any of them as his lady (and neither do they recognize him), Sancho Panza invents a story that an evil wizard has turned Dulcinea into an ugly peasant. Don Quixote believes in such a story and continues on in search of justice.

  • In the village, the priest and the barber conspire with the student Samson Carrasco on how to return Don Quixote to his home. They send Carrasco disguised as the Knight of the Mirrors to challenge Don Quixote to a duel, defeat him, and prove to him that he is not a true knight. Carrasco does just that; he challenges Don Quixote to a duel but, by an unfortunate accident, loses in the combat, so he shamefully flees while Don Quixote continues on.

  • On the way, Don Quixote encounters people transporting a lion in a cage on a cart. He demands to fight the lion. When they open the cage door, the lion refuses to come out but instead lies down. Don Quixote declares it as his victory and changes his name to the Knight of the Lions. He rewards the people who were transporting the lion with money and tells them to spread the word everywhere that he defeated the lion in combat.

  • In one town, they came across a puppet show about a knight who set out to save his wife in a foreign land. Watching the show and the dangers the knight goes through, Don Quixote got so carried away that he chopped the stage to pieces. Later, when he calmed down a bit, he paid the theater owner, Master Pedro, for the damage caused.

  • The stories about the funny knight Don Quixote spread far and wide, so much so that a duke and duchess wished to meet him and have fun with him and his squire themselves. They welcome him as a famous knight and order their subjects to behave according to the stories of knights. They put on a show where great honors are shown to Don Quixote, the maidens pretend to fall in love with him, but he rejects them because of his loyalty to Dulcinea del Toboso. The highlight of the entertainment was the appearance of a girl who claimed to be the enchanted Dulcinea, who would be freed if Sancho gave himself 3,300 lashes on his bare buttocks. Sancho is forced to agree but with the condition that he will do it when he decides (so, never!).

  • The duke learns about Don Quixote's promise to reward Sancho Panza by giving him an island to rule. Because of this, he appoints Sancho Panza as the governor of the "island," which was actually a small town called Barataria. He asks him to behave properly, not to eat or drink too much, and since Sancho was illiterate, he has to pretend that his hand is paralyzed. There, he arranges various complex cases and situations for him to solve as a ruler. Although the duke wanted to mock Sancho as an illiterate and clumsy man who wants to rule, Sancho, guided by simple peasant wisdom, unexpectedly solves all those cases very wisely, much to everyone's surprise. After some time, they come up with a plan to inform Sancho that an enemy is coming to attack the island and kill its ruler. Then, out of fear, Sancho resigns, cowardly leaves them, and returns to Don Quixote.

  • Together, they leave the duke and duchess and head towards Saragossa, where a knightly tournament was supposed to take place. But on the way, they meet people who show them a book about the fake Don Quixote. They inform them that the false double of Don Quixote has set off for Saragossa. Because of this, Don Quixote decides to never go to that city again.

  • Tired of waiting for Sancho to whip himself to remove the enchantments from Dulcinea, Don Quixote decided to beat Sancho himself. The two of them then argued and fought. Sancho knocked his master to the ground and, before allowing him to get up, forced Don Quixote to swear to refrain from further fighting.

  • Don Quixote and Sancho Panza arrive in Barcelona, where they are greeted by thousands of enthusiastic followers. But even there, they do not escape new troubles. A boy in the city puts burrs in the tails of their horse and donkey, causing the animals to throw their masters off their backs. This amuses everyone except Don Quixote and Sancho. Then, some people put a sign with his name on Don Quixote's back. Those who read the name called out to him, and Don Quixote believed that these calls were a confirmation of his fame. At the ball that night, Don Quixote dances happily until he falls.

  • Upon returning from Barcelona, Don Quixote meets once again with the student Samson Carrasco, who this time presents himself as the Knight of the White Moon. He challenges Don Quixote to a duel, with the condition that the loser renounces knightly life for a year. This time, Sanson Carrasco defeats Don Quixote. Don Quixote declares himself the Knight of the Sorry Countenance and Sancho returns to the village to engage in a year of pastoral life.

  • Don Quixote once again suggests to Sancho to whip himself. Sancho refuses. Don Quixote offers money to Sancho if he does it. Sancho goes into the forest and beats a tree to make his master believe that he is whipping himself. Don Quixote believed that this freed Dulcinea from the evil magic.

  • Upon returning to the village, broken by defeat, Don Quixote falls ill with fever. Sancho stays by his side the whole time to take care of him along with friends. After an illness that lasted six days, he woke up as a completely sane man who was not a knight at all. Sancho and his friends urged him to embark on new adventures in the name of Dulcinea del Toboso, but he only asked to write a will. In the will, he renounced the name of Don Quixote and all knightly follies and a few days later died as Alonso Quijano.

  • In the end, the author of the work about Don Quixote admits that the whole story of Don Quixote's follies arose from his contempt for novels about funny and unimaginable knightly exploits, which are the worst lies.

Briefly Summarized Books