Don Quixote Online Summary

Read the Don Quixote Online Summary in order to briefly understand the main features of the Miguel Cervantes’ masterpiece.

In answer to the question about which novel is the most important of their language, any Spanish speaker would likely respond Don Quixote of La Mancha by Miguel de Cervantes. However, if you ask him or her if they have fully read the book, well, not everyone would say yes. The following is an online summary of Cervantes' masterpiece; we hope you will be inspired to read it.

Alonso Quixano is an Hidalgo, a low-ranking Spanish person of nobility. He is about 50 years old and lives in a settlement near the La Mancha region in Spain towards the beginning of the 17th century. He loves reading literature about knights and fantastic stories about chivalry, princesses, magicians, and enchanted castles. In fact, he is so involved with these fantasies that he slowly starts to lose touch with reality and begins to believe that he is one of these fictional heroes.

Alonso finds some old armor and prepares an old horse from the stable, which he names Rocinante. The knight decides he needs to have a maiden, so, in his imagination, he converts a young villager named Aldonza Lorenzo, who he was once in love with, into the lovely Lady Dulcinea del Toboso. As for himself, he bestows the name Don Quixote because it rhymes with the name of the famous knight Lanzarote, also known as Lancelot.

So, the new knight sets off on an adventure with a ridiculous new costume and the hope of committing heroic deeds. However, it will not take long for misunderstandings to occur between the real world and the fantasy world of Don Quixote. In one scene, Don Quixote arrives at an inn, which he believes to be a castle, and demands that the innkeeper dubs him the noble title of “knight.” Later, he tries to free a young shepherd who is being beaten by his master. Next, Don Quixote is insulted by some merchants who he promptly attacks. The merchants give Don Quixote a brutal beating and leave him on the side of the road where he is found by a peasant and delivered home.

Don Quixote convinces his neighbor, Sancho Panza, to be his squire by promising him riches, fame, and the governorship of an island. Sancho, unlike Don Quixote, is a practical albeit ignorant man. Little by little, he is seduced by the wild dreams of his new master. Together, they sneak away in the early dawn and their famous adventures begin.

The duo quickly come upon large windmills which Don Quixote believes to be ferocious giants and thus attacks. The pair continues on to live many other exciting adventures when Don Quixote attacks a flock of sheep believing it to be an army, when his horse Rocinante pursues some mares, when he has a sword duel with a Biscayan, frees some inmates that then attack him, finds a barber basin which he believes to be a magical helmet and many other comical situations that occur in an inn. Later, the outrageous knight decides to move to a mountaintop in order to show his penance and earn the love of his imaginary maiden. His two best friends, a priest and a barber, are forced to trick him into a cage in order to bring him back to his settlement.

Throughout their adventures, Sancho Panza and Don Quixote will encounter a wide range of diverse characters including innkeepers, pirate prisoners, prostitutes, goatherds, soldiers, priests, escaped convicts and scorned lovers.

In the second part of the famous Don Quixote of La Mancha novel, published 10 years later, Don Quixote departs on another adventure with Sancho. This part of the novel is more critically acclaimed by critics because the protagonist, treated with more respect by the author, is successful in some of his endeavors and becomes a more reflexive and self-conscious character. Sancho, on the other hand, becomes more of a dreamer. The second part of Don Quixote of La Mancha is written under the assumption that all of the characters have already read the first part of the novel and are thus familiar with both Don Quixote and Sancho. As a result, the people they meet will try to take advantage of the pair.

A Duke and Duchess encounter Don Quixote and Sancho and decide to invite them to their palace for amusement and practical jokes. For example, they tell Don Quixote that Dulcinea is under Merlin's spell to put him through a series of tests. They also deceive Sancho into lashing himself, believing that it will release the maiden from the spell. The Duke later gives Sancho a false governorship and Sancho proves to be a wise and practical ruler, however, this is also a deceptive prank that leads to humiliation.

Don Quixote is forced to lay down his arms and abandon his acts of chivalry for a period of one year when he is conquered in a battle with the Knight of the White Moon. The conditions were agreed upon before the battle with the knight, who was really one of Don Quixote's friends dressed in a costume. Defeated, they start their journey home.

Don Quixote retires in the countryside and eventually falls sick. He recovers his full sanity and, despite Sancho's encouragement to restore his faith in fantasy, takes back the name of Alonso Quixano and the former adventurer called Don Quixote is no more. In his place, Alonso Quixano apologizes for all the craziness and any harm that he may have caused before passing away.

The second part of Don Quixote of La Mancha by Miguel de Cervantes is considered to represent the birth of modern literature in the 20th century. The novel is the first example of a literary figure acknowledging that he has been written about.