don quixote essay topics

101 Don Quixote Essay Topics You Can Trust for Top Grades

Don Quixote is a Lan Macha, a middle-aged Spanish man who stood out because of his novels. The books he read motivated him, alongside the personal desire to fight for the helpless through attacking the wicked. Yes, he tried and failed but kept trying together with his trusted landlords, including Sancho Panza, who promised to make him governor. His work is one of the common references in college literature and it is not uncommon to get your lecturers asking you to prepare essays on Don Quixote. To get you started, here is our list of top Don Quixote essay topics for top grades.

Argumentative Don Quixote Research Essay Topics

  • Explain the tale’s relationship to the primary narrative in Don Quixote.
  • A review of the theme of chivalry in Don Quixote.
  • Explain Don Quixote’s view and attitude towards other social classes.
  • Verbalization in Don Quixote.
  • Why do princesses hand-feed Don Quixote?
  • How can the expression “the road to hell is paved with good intentions” from the 6 th century be used in connection with Don Quixote?
  • Are there expressions or examples from Don Quixote used in modern literature?
  • How is Don Quixote’s madness depicted in the novel?
  • Does Don Quixote help or hurt humanity?
  • How would you view the three Don Quixote’s expeditions? Why the three expeditions instead of one?
  • Critique to Cervantes free-thinking on religious ideas during the Don’s Adventure with the Penitents. Using examples refute the notion of Cervantes’ religious orthodoxy.
  • In his view, Aubrey Bell says that Don Quixote should be read at least three times, in youth, maturity, and old age. What is the appeal of the novel at each stage of life?
  • Compare Don Quixote to a new novel of your choice (must have been published no more than the last ten years).
  • Demystify the relationship between main body of Don Quixote and the intercalated novel of “the Curious Impertinent.”

Good Don Quixote Discussion Questions

  • What is the role of the Cid Hamet Benengali Invention?
  • Sancho’s self-lashing: What is its significance?
  • Dulcinea del Toboso: What is its significance?
  • Is Sancho Panza a realist by nature?
  • How does Sancho become quixotized?
  • Dorothea: How is she related to her role of a princess?
  • Who are the most important characters in Don Quixote?
  • Discuss the character of Samson Carrasco: Is he a false Quixote?
  • How is cave employed as a symbolic device in Don Quixote?
  • According to Cervantes, what qualities are considered the most important in works of literary art?
  • Why does Don Quixote fight with a lion?
  • Don Diego de Miranda, Antonia Quixana, and the scolding priest: What are their characters at the duke’s castle?
  • Some characters in Don Quixote act as opposites of other characters: How do these opposed pairs play in developing the novel’s themes?
  • Don Quixote: What makes it a novel?
  • How well does Don Quixote explain modern love affairs?
  • If Don Quixote was to be replayed today, what would be different?

Don Quixote Essays for Literature Students

  • In your own words, explore the nature of quixotism.
  • Explain the qualities of Alonso Quixano that are evident in Don Quixote.
  • Discuss the nature of quixotism: Can you highlight it in another novel of your choice?
  • “There is no book so bad … that it does not have something good in it.” Discuss this statement in relation to the novel Don Quixote.
  • Using examples, demonstrate how Sancho unsuccessfully tries to imitate Don Quixote.
  • What role does parody play in Don Quixote?
  • Don Quixote values romantic love, yet most love stories are resolved through trickery. What is Cervantes implying if only deceit can be used to realize true love?
  • What do Shakespeare’s plays and Cervantes’s work have in common?
  • “For me alone was the great Quixote born, and I alone for him. Deeds were his task and to record them mine, and we two, like tallies for each other struck, are nothing when apart.” Can you discuss this using own words.
  • The road to Barcelona: Don Quixote.
  • A closer look at the optimistic characters in Don Quixote.
  • Searching for meaning on Don Quixote.

Interesting Paper Topics on Don Quixote

  • A review of ten writers who were inspired by Don Quixote.
  • Do ideas of virtue and honor match in Don Quixote?
  • Don Quixote: Five key lessons for modern writers.
  • A compliment essay to Cervantes on Don Quixote.
  • Exploring the main similarities between Don Quixote and Cervantes.
  • According to you, which is the most famous scene from Don Quixote?
  • Is honor more important than morals, according to Don Quixote?
  • Don Quixote is one of the best books in the world: Do you support this argument?
  • How effective was Cervantes in portraying an ideal hero in an imperfect world?
  • How are peasants depicted in Don Quixote?
  • Don Quixote: Is he really insane?
  • Love: Is it a common thread in Don Quixote?
  • “Can there be hope where fear is?” Discuss.

Good Essay Topics for Don Quixote

  • The narrative modes applied by Cervantes.
  • What are the main literary techniques used in Don Quixote’s work?
  • Transforming reality in Don Quixote’s Novel.
  • How can you describe Don Quixote’s mental state?
  • Who was La Mancha’s ingenious man in the novel Don Quixote?
  • Assumptions and fantasies by Don Quixote.
  • How is female instability brought out in Don Quixote?
  • What is the meaning of sanity in Don Quixote?
  • Describe the idea of Rene Descartes in relation to Don Quixote.
  • The strength of Don Quixote’s belief and impact on his actions.
  • Why is Don Quixote the ultimate idealist?
  • Why was Cervantes against idealism common in chivalric romance novels?
  • How does madness protect Don Quixote from the world’s imperfections?
  • The hero does not notice evil ridiculing and is ready to assist the people who are humiliated. Discuss.
  • Don Quixote: How does it build your literary skills?
  • Don Quixote is a book made of pre-existing books: Discuss.

Top Essay Topics on Themes of Don Quixote

  • Discuss the main themes in Don Quixote novel.
  • The fantasies of Don Quixote.
  • Order and imagination in Don Quixote.
  • Faith and religion themes in Don Quixote.
  • The dark influence of Edgar Allan Poe.
  • Compare the theme of love in Don Quixote and Macbeth.
  • A critical essay on the theme of quixotism.
  • Prepare a summary of Don Quixote, capturing the main themes.
  • Discuss the theme of truth and justice in Don Quixote.
  • How effectively does Don Quixote bring out the theme of reality and fantasy?
  • Discuss five minor themes in Don Quixote.
  • Searching for meaning in Don Quixote and Macbeth.
  • Pick two themes depicted in both Shakespeare’s plays and Don Quixote’s work.
  • Realism as it appears in Don Quixote’s novel.
  • Fantasies and assumptions in Don Quixote.
  • Review the theme of violence in Cervantes’ Don Quixote.
  • The social destiny of Don Quixote.

Don Quixote Critical Essay Topics

  • Is Don Quixote really insane?
  • Why is Don Quixote considered the first modern novel?
  • Christianity in Don Quixote.
  • Dream and adventure on the life of Don Quixote.
  • Comparing Don Quixote with another novel of your choice from the 19 th century.
  • Examples of delusion in Don Quixote.
  • What was the main motivation for Cervantes to write Don Quixote?
  • “What I can tell you Grace is that it deals with truths, and they are truths so appealing and elegant that no lies can equal them.” Critique this quote in your own words.
  • How does Don Quixote mock books of Chivalry? How does it defend the?
  • Don Quixote values genuine romantic love, but the love stories in Don Quixote are only resolved via trickery. Discuss.
  • Don Quixote: A critical analysis through its characters.
  • A comprehensive review of the dialogues of Don Quixote.
  • A review of gender roles as portrayed in Don Quixote.

Seek Professional Help Writing Your Don Quixote Essay

After selecting the preferred Don Quixote essay questions, topics or ideas, the next step, which is the major one, is the actual writing. Well, it is never easy for most students. Often, it requires a comprehensive understanding of the novel and being able to answer several questions, from “What is the main point of Don Quixote?” to “What are the main Don Quixote themes?” You will also need to read other novels, such as William Shakespeare and William Caxton’s plays for comparison purposes. Furthermore, you need top-notch writing skills and time. These attributes and skills combinations are rarely possible for most students. This is why you should work with the best and fast professional writers.

Our online expert writers understand Don Quixote from cover to cover and can handle any related topic. So, whether it is the topic of Don Quixote moral of the story, controversial Don Quixote questions or “What is the theme of Don Quixote,” the experts will easily answer the question. They have also handled other literary books and know how to create the best papers. You will also love our services because they are cheap and we can handle even the essays with tight deadlines. Nothing is too tough for our writers!

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Themes and Analysis

Don quixote, by miguel de cervantes.

Miguel de Cervantes' classic book, 'Don Quixote,' presents a plethora of themes for the reader to consider, and they range from delusion to madness to knighthood to romance, among other themes.

About the Book

Victor Onuorah

Article written by Victor Onuorah

Degree in Journalism from University of Nigeria, Nsukka.

Cervantes’ mission is to aptly describe the idiosyncrasy of a man who is determined to go against the odds to save the world from all evil and corruption. However, the author does not fail to leave the reader with a stern warning about how much of a toll this nearly impossible mission can have on anyone who tries to achieve such a feat.

‘ Don Quixote’ Themes

The theme of quixotry is easily the commonest throughout the book, and Cervantes certainly manages to imprint this on the entire storyline of ‘ Don Quixote ‘. By definition, quixotry entails a usually wild, extravagant, and delusional pursuit of an idea or knightly honor or romantics, and this is the fuel that drives ‘ Don Quixote ‘ into his many journeys.

Quixote’s investment in chivalric books leads to his disillusionment of the world, and he finds himself believing that he can make a significantly positive change to the ways that people live in society. Against social order and institutional convention, he does so, pursuing new reforms on the better way to live even though these ideas are frowned at by other people, including the so-called groups he claims need saving.

Imagination, Delusion And Madness

A good number of fights ‘ Don Quixote ‘ gets involved in are described by Cervantes as though they involved real people, but in fact, these fights are merely a figment of Quixote’s imagination.

The most notable of these fights is the one involving windmills which Quixote sees as giant warriors. Even so from the onset, Quixote’s vivid imaginations result in him being delusional, the consequence of which sees him – an ordinary man – become a knight-errant and employing a company for his sallies, and then goes on a trip to try and rid the world of evil spirit and save the poor and helpless.

Leadership and Commitment

Cervantes tries to show the reader that despite ‘ Don Quixote’s ‘ folly and madness, he still has the stuff of a great leader, and this is seen in his ability to be courageous and see beyond what the ordinary person would see. Quixote, in some way, is able to replicate a similar kind of vision and commitment that great leaders, such as Jesus Christ of Nazareth or Joan of Arc, had during their time.

To society, this kind of vision is characteristically unconventional, antisocial, and outlandish, but ‘ Don Quixote ‘ does not care or does he second guess his goals, and he goes on to carry them out even though he gets a backlash and beaten up for doing what he believes in.

The themes explained above are found more than a few times throughout the book, but Cervantes pins a good number of other minor themes in the book, and some of them include; love and romance, royalty and conquest, reality vs fantasy, among others.

Analysis of Key Moments in ‘ Don Quixote ‘

  • Alonso Quixano finds himself getting addicted to reading books of chivalric exploits, and soon he starts to think that he too came become like one of the knightly heroes he reads in the book. He would sell some of his personal belongings to afford these books.
  • He decides to become a knight-errant and elected a team for his sally. He changes his name to ‘ Don Quixote ‘, picks a horse, and appoints Sancho Panza as his squire, a peasant girl he calls Dulcinea as his lady.
  • Clouded with rusty armor, ‘ Don Quixote ‘ begins his journey along with his team as they set out to reinstall the practice valor and chivalry. Quixote is determined to save the helpless and rid the world of all evil enchanters.
  • His friends and family in the village are worried the books he read may have cost him his sanity and they try to bring him back by sending a priest and a young man called Sampson Carrasco.
  • Quixote was heavily beaten by a group of traders after he contributed to them for insulting and making a mockery of lady Dulcinea, his love. He is transported back to the village to heal and recover.
  • He continues on his journey into a territory ruled by the dubious Duke and Duchess who are bent on exploiting him and his squire.
  • The priest finds Quixote doing penance by Sierra Morena. Dorothea, a mountain woman troubled by love, begs Quixote to help her reclaim her lost kingdom.
  • Quixote resumes his quest, determined with a new objective only to be obstructed by a fight with Sampson Carrasco – who is disguised as a knight of the white moon. Carrasco defeats Quixote and according to the terms, the loser must forfeit his mission.
  • Quixote is put in a cage and is shipped back to the village because of his defeat to Carrasco. As they travel, he loses hope on his trips and becomes sad and despondent.
  • On getting home, Quixote is sick and falls into a deep sleep. When he awakes, he comes back to his senses, denounces his knight-errantry, and reclaims his birth name Alonso Quixano the good. He dies afterward.

Style, Tone, and Figurative Language

‘ Don Quixote ‘ is one book that is prized for its ability to switch between historical, medieval, and modern styles of narration. Cervantes gives the book this ability when he incorporates a popular collection of old tales such as those found in Boccacio’s Decameron.

Although the adventures of ‘ Don Quixote ‘ revolve around the genre of chivalry, other styles such as myths, ancient ballads, and legends are included to make it more hybridized and innovative.

Another notable twist in literary styling that makes ‘ Don Quixote ‘ a special read is that its characters, whether minor or major, have independent purposes in their own stories outside of Quixote’s adventures, and are only just crossing paths or making a cameo in this book. For example, the forest-dwelling woman, Dorothea, maybe a minor character here but has her own independent tale on love trouble with Don Fernando.

In terms of tone used, Cervantes mostly opts for an admixture of satire and sobriety. The former is back by the reality of a lanky old man, ‘ Don Quixote ‘, becoming an actual knight who is on a mission to save the world. The latter hinges on the fact that Cervantes’ real motive for the book is to pass a strong message that one can also strive, against all odds, to be themselves and pursue their dreams.

Figurative Language

For the language, Cervantes made sure to be as formal as possible in other to cement the notion of being serious in all his satirical expressions. Personification appears to be the widely used figure of speech favored in the book, such as where Quixote battles windmills which he mistakes for living giants as seen in his expression below:

Those are giants that you see over there…. with long arms; there are giants with arms almost six miles long.

Aside from personification, there is also a substantial use of allusions, metaphors, and imageries among others.

Analysis of Symbol in ‘ Don Quixote’

There are several instances where ‘ Don Quixote ‘ is being accused of insanity, but the real proof of his unstable mental state is seen in his encounter with the windmills. These objects, which ‘ Don Quixote ‘ describes as giants with long arms, are the true depiction of Quixote’s circle of madness.

Quixote is so obsessed with books of chivalric romances to the extent that he would sell off his personal belongings just to afford more of them. It is clear that he was as normal as anyone in his past years prior to getting exposed to the books, but the moment he started feeding himself the stories and ideas therein, his disillusionment sets in.

There are a lot of references to popular books and manuscripts throughout the storyline, and this goes to show how important literature is giving us the ability to think deeply, visualize, and imagine things. It also works to shape our ideas and worldview.

Helmets, to ‘ Don Quixote ‘, can be taken to symbolize determination and perseverance to a cause. We see at least two kinds of helmets worn by ‘ Don Quixote ‘. The first is the absurd-looking one made with cardboard material, and the second is made of steel bowel.

This may look like a folly of a mentally unstable man even in the eyes of his squire, Sancho, but to Quixote, these helmets show his total dedication and unwavering disposition to his goals. This is why when Sancho tells him to put them away because they look ridiculous, he simply refuses.

Inns and Horses

In the era in which the book was written, inns were popular as they served as the meeting point between all classes of people in society. Inns represent the mixed atmosphere of the real society where a lot of socializing happens between the rich and the poor, royal and ordinary.

Quixote is very reluctant to spend time in inns and only does so when he absolutely has to, but on the other hand, his squire Sancho loves living and enjoying his life under the comfort of an inn. Quixote isn’t keen on inns because he is antisocial and only has his mind fixed on his mission.

Rocinante and Dapple being the two horses Quixote and Sancho rode through their sallies show their mission is a noble one filled with adventures, pilgrims, and excursions. It shows the value of their mission and beyond the horses’ purpose of transportation, they also served as good company for the travelers.

What is a predominant theme in ‘ Don Quixote ‘?

Self-belief is easily the most pronounced theme in the whole of ‘Don Quixote’ . However, other themes such as insanity, literature, and human culture are applicable.

Does ‘ Don Quixote ‘ have a moral lesson?

Yes, ‘ Don Quixote ‘ does have a moral lesson and it is the fact that it encourages the reader to go the extraordinary mile, putting behind the negative opinions and discouragement of people around you.

How much of a good read is ‘ Don Quixote’ ?

For a book that is widely regarded as the first modern novel, ‘ Don Quixote ‘ is understandably worthwhile for readers and this isn’t just for hype sake, but for the reason of it offering a wide range of entertaining and scintillating plots to the readership.

Victor Onuorah

About Victor Onuorah

Victor is as much a prolific writer as he is an avid reader. With a degree in Journalism, he goes around scouring literary storehouses and archives; picking up, dusting the dirt off, and leaving clean even the most crooked pieces of literature all with the skill of analysis.

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Home — Essay Samples — Literature — Books — Don Quixote

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Essays on Don Quixote

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Crime and Punishment and Don Quixote: Deconstructing The Concept of Madness

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The Concept of Madness in Don Quixote

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Theme of Journey in Don Quixote

King lear’s fool and don quixote’s squire: comparative study, the specific narrative techniques in don quixote, servantes' perspective on dichotomy of real and courtly love, declaring mysteries: narration, translation, and the figure of the interpreter in don quixote.

1605 (Part One) 1615 (Part Two)

Miguel de Cervantes

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All Kinds of ‘Don Quixote’ Topics – Make Your Choice

We have collected “Don Quixote” topics for those who need to write a paper on this book. Look through our lists to choose the topic you like or to come up with your own idea.

Argumentative “Don Quixote” Essay Topics

  • Argue whether or not Don Quixote helps or hurts humanity.
  • Consider how Don Quixote’s madness is portrayed in the novel.
  • What would happen to a modern-day Don Quixote? Are there examples in literature or film from the last 30 years that approach this subject in a similar way?
  • There is an expression dating from the 16th century but is still in common use. It claims that “the road to Hell is paved with good intentions.” How could this phrase be used in connection with “Don Quixote”?
  • Why do the “princesses” need to hand feed Don Quixote?
  • How does the author use the character’s (Don Quixote) verbalization to show how we may perceive them?
  • What is the tale’s relationship to the main narrative in “Don Quixote”?
  • What is Don Quixote’s view and/or attitude towards social classes other than his own?
  • Does Don Quixote choose to be delusional?
  • Morality and/or the chivalric code in “Don Quixote.”
  • Many characters in “Don Quixote” serve as foils, or opposites, of other characters. What role do these opposed pairs play in developing the novel’s themes?
  • What makes “Don Quixote” a novel?

Descriptive “Don Quixote” Paper Topics

  • Describe the friendship of Don Quixote with Sancho Panza. What kind of a friendship is it? Is it real friendship?
  • Describe how the novel portrays class status with narrative.
  • Describe realism in “Don Quixote.”
  • Describe notions of love and romance in “Don Quixote.”
  • Describe one of the three contrasts inherent to Don Quixote.
  • Describe Don Quixote’s mental state.
  • Describe the ideas of Rene Descartes in relation to “Don Quixote” and “Candide,” focusing especially on how these readings offer examples that confirm or belie Descartes’ theories.
  • Describe narrative modes that Cervantes uses in “Don Quixote,” and why.
  • Describe how violence is presented in “Don Quixote.”
  • Describe how Cervantes presents complexities of fact and fantasy, truth and lies, and justice and injustice.

Discussion Topics in “Don Quixote”

  • Discuss Altisidora as an example of a puppeteer who loses control.
  • Discuss how romantic love is depicted in the novel.
  • Discuss how sympathy for the Moorish population of Spain is presented in “Don Quixote.”
  • Discuss the best stage adaptations of the story of “Don Quixote.”
  • Discuss the role of parody in “Don Quixote.”
  • Discuss how philosophical idealism is presented in “Don Quixote.”
  • Discuss how the strength of Don Quixote’s belief affects his deeds.
  • Discuss why Don Quixote is an ultimate idealist.
  • Discuss why Sancho Panza is a realist by nature.
  • Discuss why Cervantes doesn’t support the idealism found in traditional chivalric romance novels.
  • Discuss how Cervantes made the hero crazy, and how madness protects Don Quixote from the imperfections of the world.
  • Discuss why the hero does not notice the evil ridiculing and bullying, and is always ready to help those who are humiliated and insulted.
  • Do you agree that Don Quixote is a man who in order to achieve a lofty goal is ready to go contrary to generally accepted opinions? Discuss.

Persuasive “Don Quixote” Research Topics

  • Do ideas of honor and virtue go hand in hand in “Don Quixote”?
  • Did a woman’s virtue encompass her modesty and her chastity in “Don Quixote”?
  • Is honor more important than a person’s morals in “Don Quixote”?
  • Is love a common thread in “Don Quixote”?
  • Is Don Quixote actually insane?
  • How does Cervantes raise questions of insanity with regard to other characters in “Don Quixote”?
  • How are peasants depicted in “Don Quixote”?
  • What are similarities between Cervantes and Don Quixote?
  • What is the most famous scene from the novel and why?
  • Is “Don Quixote” a book made of preexisting books? Why?
  • What writers were inspired by “Don Quixote”?
  • Why is “Don Quixote” considered one of the best books in the world?
  • Is “Don Quixote” a parody of the romance of chivalry?
  • In what way does Cervantes show the reader what will happen if you blindly believe your attitudes and back them up with actions that run counter to rational behavior?
  • Did Cervantes deal with the task to portray the ideal hero in an imperfect, hostile world? How?

10 Quotes From “Don Quixote” by Miguel de Cervantes

The central book in the works of Spanish writer and playwright Miguel de Cervantes (1547-1616) was the legendary novel “The Cunning Hidalgo Don Quixote of La Mancha.” For more than 400 years, this book has been one of the most popular works of world literature. The history of the adventures of the knight of a sad image and his squire Sancho Panza formed the basis of numerous theatrical performances and films.

In 2002, the Norwegian Book Club and the Norwegian Nobel Institute invited 100 writers from 54 countries to compile a list of the 100 most significant works of world literature. According to the results of the voting, “Don Quixote” by Cervantes scored 50% more votes than any other novel. It was voted the best book of all time.

We selected 10 quotes from it:

  • Finally, from so little sleeping and so much reading, his brain dried up and he went completely out of his mind.
  • The truth may be stretched thin, but it never breaks, and it always surfaces above lies, as oil floats on water.
  • This fierce basilisk, this ungrateful, cruel, supercilious wretch, will neither seek, serve, own, nor follow you in any shape whatever.
  • Can there be hope where fear is? Were it well, When far more certain are the grounds of fear?
  • By the Blessed Virgin! Is it possible that your grace is so thickheaded and so short on brains that you cannot see that what I’m telling you is the absolute truth.
  • …all human efforts to communicate—even in the same language—are equally utopian, equally luminous with value, and equally worth the doing.
  • What I can tell your grace is that it deals with truths, and they are truths so appealing and elegant that no lies can equal them.
  • At this the duchess, laughing all the while, said: “Sancho Panza is right in all he has said, and will be right in all he shall say.”
  • Fortune always leaves a door open in adversity in order to bring relief to it.
  • There is no book so bad…that it does not have something good in it.

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essay topics don quixote

I had task from my teacher to describe Don Quixote, but I didn’t know where to start. These topics inspired me a lot to write about this character! Thanks!!!

There are a couple interesting topics that draw a parallel between the genre of the novel and call it a parody. I have a question on this basis, what makes ‘Don Quixote’ a parody?

Despite the fact that the backbone of ‘Don Quixote’ novel is a serious idea, this masterpiece has elements of parody as well. The main theme is everyone who is sincere can be a hero, and with the help of parody, the author unleashes the 17th century’s obsession with romantic novels about damsels in distress and knights who save them.

I was looking for a catchy Don Quixote essay topic and just found it here! Great job >_<

Cool! I just picked up some ideas from this article for my further research.

Hi, thanks for so engaging topics on my favorite novel <3

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Literary Theory and Criticism

Home › Experimental Novels › Analysis of Miguel de Cervantes’ Don Quixote

Analysis of Miguel de Cervantes’ Don Quixote

By NASRULLAH MAMBROL on March 31, 2019 • ( 0 )

Many critics maintain that the impulse that prompted Miguel de Cervantes (1547 – 1616) to begin his great novel was a satiric one: He desired to satirize chivalric romances. As the elderly Alonso Quixano the Good (if that is his name) pores over the pages of these books in his study, his “brain dries up” and he imagines himself to be the champion who will take up the vanished cause of knighterrantry and wander the world righting wrongs, helping the helpless, defending the cause of justice, all for the greater glory of his lady Dulcinea del Toboso and his God.

As he leaves his village before dawn, clad in rusty armor and riding his broken-down nag, the mad knight becomes Don Quixote de la Mancha. His first foray is brief, and he is brought back home by friends from his native village. Despite the best efforts of his friends and relations, the mad old man embarks on a second journey, this time accompanied by a peasant from his village, Sancho Panza, who becomes the knight’s squire. The Don insists on finding adventure everywhere, mistaking windmills for giants, flocks of sheep for attacking armies, puppet shows for real life. His squire provides a voice of down-to-earth reason, but Quixote always insists that vile enchanters have transformed the combatants to embarrass and humiliate him. Don Quixote insists on his vision of the ideal in the face of the cold facts of the world; Sancho Panza maintains his proverbial peasant wisdom in the face of his master’s madness.

In their travels and adventures, they encounter life on the roads of Spain. Sometimes they are treated with respect— for example, by “the gentleman in green” who invites them to his home and listens to Quixote with genuine interest—but more often they are ridiculed, as when the Duke and Duchess bring the knight and squire to their estate only for the purpose of mocking them. Finally, a young scholar from Quixote’s native village, Sampson Carrasco, defeats the old knight in battle and forces him to return to his home, where he dies peacefully, having renounced his mad visions and lunatic behavior.

While it is necessary to acknowledge the satiric intent of Cervantes’ novel, the rich fictional world of Don Quixote de la Mancha utterly transcends its local occasion. On the most personal level, the novel can be viewed as one of the most intimate evaluations of a life ever penned by a great author. When Don Quixote decides to take up the cause of knight-errantry, he opens himself to a life of ridicule and defeat, a life that resembles Cervantes’ own life, with its endless reversals of fortune, humiliations, and hopeless struggles. Out of this life of failure and disappointment Cervantes created the “mad knight,” but he also added the curious human nobility and the refusal to succumb to despair in the face of defeat that turns Quixote into something more than a comic character or a ridiculous figure to be mocked. Although there are almost no points in the novel where actual incidents from Cervantes’ life appear directly or even transformed into fictional disguise, the tone and the spirit, the succession of catastrophes with only occasional moments of slight glory, and the resilience of human nature mark the novel as the most personal work of the author, the one where his singularly difficult life and his profoundly complex emotional responses to that life found form and structure.

If the novel is the record of Cervantes’ life, the fiction also records a moment in Spanish national history when fortunes were shifting and tides turning. At the time of Cervantes’ birth, Spain’s might and glory were at their peak. The wealth from conquests of Mexico and Peru returned to Spain, commerce boomed, and artists recorded the sense of national pride with magnificent energy and power. By the time Don Quixote de la Mancha was published, the Spanish Empire was beginning its decline. A series of military disasters, including the defeat of the Spanish Armada by the English and the revolt of Flanders, had shaken the once mighty nation. In the figure of Don Quixote, the greatest of a richly remembered past combines with the hard facts of age, weakness, and declining power. The character embodies a moment of Spanish history and the Spanish people’s own sense of vanishing glory in the face of irreversible decline.

Don Quixote de la Mancha also stands as the greatest literary embodiment of the Counter-Reformation. Throughout Europe, the Reformation was moving with the speed of new ideas, changing the religious landscape of country after country. Spain stood proud as a Catholic nation, resisting any changes. Standing alone against the flood of reform sweeping Europe displayed a kind of willed madness, but the nobility and determination of Quixote to fight for his beliefs, no matter what the rest of the world maintained, reflects the strength of the Spanish will at this time. Cervantes was a devout and loyal believer, a supporter of the Church, and Don Quixote may be the greatest fictional Catholic hero, the battered knight of the Counter-Reformation.

The book also represents fictionally the various sides of the Spanish spirit and the Spanish temper. In the divisions and contradictions found between the Knight of the Sad Countenance and his unlikely squire, Sancho Panza, Cervantes paints the two faces of the Spanish soul: The Don is idealistic, sprightly, energetic, and cheerful, even in the face of overwhelming odds, but he is also overbearing, domineering Sancho, who is earthy, servile, and slothful. The two characters seem unlikely companions and yet they form a whole, the one somehow incomplete without the other and linked throughout the book through their dialogues and debates. In drawing master and servant, Cervantes presents the opposing truths of the spirit of his native land.


The book can also be seen as a great moment in the development of fiction, the moment when the fictional character was freed into the real world of choice and change. When the gentleman of La Mancha took it into his head to become a knight-errant and travel through the world redressing wrongs and winning eternal glory, the face of fiction permanently changed. Character in fiction became dynamic, unpredictable, and spontaneous. Until that time, character in fiction had existed in service of the story, but now the reality of change and psychological energy and freedom of the will became a permanent hallmark of fiction, as it already was of drama and narrative poetry. The title character’s addled wits made the new freedom all the more impressive. The determination of Don Quixote, the impact of his vision on the world, and the world’s hard reality as it impinges on the Don make for shifting balances and constant alterations in fortune that are psychologically believable. The shifting balance of friendship, devotion, and perception between the knight and his squire underlines this freedom, as does the power of other characters in the book to affect Don Quixote’s fortunes directly: the niece, the housekeeper, the priest, the barber, Sampson Carrasco, the Duke, and the Duchess. There is a fabric of interaction throughout the novel, and characters in the novel change as they encounter new adventures, new people, and new ideas.

One way Cervantes chronicles this interaction is in dialogue. Dialogue had not played a significant or defining role in fiction before Don Quixote de la Mancha . As knight and squire ride across the countryside and engage in conversation, dialogue becomes the expression of character, idea, and reality. In the famous episode with windmills early in the first part of the novel (when Quixote views the windmills on the plain and announces that they are giants that he will wipe from the face of the earth, and Sancho innocently replies, “What giants?”), the dialogue not only carries the comedy but also becomes the battleground on which the contrasting visions of life engage one another—to the delight of the reader. The long exchanges between Don Quixote and Sancho Panza provide priceless humor but also convey two different realities that meet, struggle, and explode in volleys of words. In giving his characters authentic voices that carry ideas, Cervantes brought to fiction a new truth that remains a standard of comparison.

The Narrator

Don Quixote de la Mancha is also as modern as the most experimental of later fiction. Throughout the long novel, Cervantes plays with the nature of the narrator, raising constant difficult questions as to who is telling the story and to what purpose. In the riotously funny opening page of the novel, the reader encounters a narrator not only unreliable but also lacking in the basic facts necessary to tell the story. He chooses not to tell the name of the village where his hero lives, and he is not even sure of his hero’s name, yet the narrator protests that the narrative must be entirely truthful.

In chapter 9, as Don Quixote is preparing to do battle with the Basque, the narrative stops; the narrator states that the manuscript from which he is culling this story is mutilated and incomplete. Fortunately, some time later in Toledo, he says, he came upon an old Arabic manuscript by Arab historian Cide Hamete Benengeli that continues the adventures. For the remainder of the novel, the narrator claims to be providing a translation of this manuscript—the manuscript and the second narrator, the Arab historian, both lacking authority and credibility. In the second part of the novel, the narrator and the characters themselves are aware of the first part of the novel as well as of a “false Quixote,” a spurious second part written by an untalented Spanish writer named Avallaneda who sought to capitalize on the popularity of the first part of Don Quixote de la Mancha by publishing his own sequel. The “false Quixote” is on the narrator’s mind, the characters’ minds, and somehow on the mind of Cide Hamete Benengeli. These shifting perspectives, the multiple narrative voices, the questionable reliability of the narrators, and the “false” second part are all tricks, narrative sleight of hand as complex as anything found in the works of Faulkner , Vladimir Nabokov , or Jorge Luis Borges . In his Lectures on Don Quixote (1983), Nabokov oddly makes no reference to Cervantes’ narrative games; perhaps the old Spanish master’s shadow still loomed too close to the modern novelist.

None of these approaches to the novel, however, appropriate as they may be, can begin to explain fully the work’s enduring popularity or the strange manner in which the knight and his squire have ridden out of the pages of a book into the other artistic realms of orchestral music, opera, ballet, and painting, where other artists have presented their visions of Quixote and Sancho.Acurrent deeper and more abiding than biography, history, national temper, or literary landmark flows through the book and makes it speak to all manner of readers in all ages.

Early in the novel, Cervantes begins to dilute his strong satiric intent. The reader can laugh with delight at the inanity of the mad knight but never with the wicked, unalloyed glee that pure satire evokes. The knight begins to loom over the landscape; his madness brushes sense; his ideals demand defense. The reader finds him- or herself early in the novel taking an attitude equivalent to that of the two young women of easy virtue who see Quixote when he arrives at an inn, which he believes to be a castle, on his first foray. Quixote calls them “two beauteous maidens . . . taking air at the gate of the castle,” and they fall into helpless laughter, confronted with such a mad vision of themselves as “maidens.” In time, however, because of Quixote’s insistence on the truth of his vision, they help him out of his armor and set a table for him. They treat him as a knight, not as a mad old fool; he treats them as ladies, and they behave as ladies. The laughter stops, and, for a pure moment, life transforms itself and human beings transcend themselves.


This mingling of real chivalry and transcendent ideals with the absurdity of character and mad action creates the tensions in the book as well as its strange melancholy beauty and haunting poignancy. The book is unlike any other ever written. John Berryman has commented on this split between the upheld ideal and the riotously real, observing that the reader “does not know whether to laugh or cry, and does both.” This old man with his dried-up brain, with his squire who has no “salt in his brain pan,” with his rusty armor, his pathetic steed, and his lunatic vision that changes windmills into giants and flocks of sheep into attacking armies, this crazy old fool becomes a real knight-errant. The true irony of the book and its history is that Don Quixote actually becomes a model for knighthood. He may be a foolish, improbable knight, but with his squire, horse, and armor he has ridden into the popular imagination of the world not only as a ridiculous figure but also as a champion; he is a real knight whose vision may often cloud, who sees what he wants to see, but he is also one who demonstrates real virtue and courage and rises in his rhetoric and daring action to real heights of greatness.

Perhaps Cervantes left a clue as to the odd shift in his intention. The contradictory titles he assigns to his knight suggest this knowledge. The comic, melancholy strain pervades “Knight of the Sad Countenance” in the first part of the novel, and the heroic strain is seen in the second part when the hero acquires the new sobriquet “Knight of the Lions.” The first title comes immediately after his adventure with a corpse and is awarded him by his realistic companion, Sancho. Quixote has attacked a funeral procession, seeking to avenge the dead man. Death, however, cannot be overcome; the attempted attack merely disrupts the funeral, and the valiant knight breaks the leg of an attending churchman. The name “Knight of the Sad Countenance” fits Quixote’s stance here and through much of the book. Many of the adventures he undertakes are not only misguided but also unwinnable. Quixote may be Christlike, but he is not Christ, and he cannot conquer Death.

The adventure with the lions earns for him his second title and offers the other side of his journey as a knight. Encountering a cage of lions being taken to the king, Quixote becomes determined to fight them. Against all protest, he takes his stand, and the cage is opened. One of the lions stretches, yawns, looks at Quixote, and lies down. Quixote proclaims a great victory and awards himself the name “Knight of the Lions.” A delightfully comic episode, the scene can be viewed in two ways—as a nonadventure that the knight claims as a victory or as a genuine moment of triumph as the knight undertakes an outlandish adventure and proves his genuine bravery while the king of beasts realizes the futility of challenging the unswerving old knight. Quixote, by whichever route, emerges as conqueror. Throughout his journeys, he often does emerge victorious, despite his age, despite his illusions, despite his dried-up brain.

When, at the book’s close, he is finally defeated and humiliated by Sampson Carrasco and forced to return to his village, the life goes out of him. The knight Don Quixote is replaced, however, on the deathbed by Alonso Quixano the Good. Don Quixote does not die, for the elderly gentleman regains his wits and becomes a new character. Don Quixote cannot die, for he is the creation of pure imagination. Despite the moving and sober conclusion, the reader cannot help but sense that the death scene being played out does not signify the end of Don Quixote. The knight escapes and remains free. He rides out of the novel, with his loyal companion Sancho at his side, into the golden realm of myth. He becomes the model knight he hoped to be. He stands tall with his spirit, his ideals, his rusty armor, and his broken lance as the embodiment of man’s best intentions and impossible folly. As Dostoevski so wisely said, when the Lord calls the Last Judgment, man should take with him this book and point to it, for it reveals all of man’s deep and fatal mystery, his glory and his sorrow.


Major works Plays: El trato de Argel, pr. 1585 (The Commerce of Algiers, 1870); Ocho comedias y ocho entremeses nuevos, 1615 (includes Pedro de Urdemalas [Pedro the Artful Dodger, 1807], El juez de los divorcios [The Divorce Court Judge, 1919], Los habladores [Two Chatterboxes, 1930], La cueva de Salamanca [The Cave of Salamanca, 1933], La elección de los alcaldes de Daganzo [Choosing a Councilman in Daganzo, 1948], La guarda cuidadosa [The Hawk-Eyed Sentinel, 1948], El retablo de las maravillas [The Wonder Show, 1948], El rufián viudo llamada Trampagos [Trampagos the Pimp Who Lost His Moll, 1948], El viejo celoso [The Jealous Old Husband, 1948], and El vizcaíno fingido [The Basque Imposter, 1948]); El cerco de Numancia, pb. 1784 (wr. 1585; Numantia: A Tragedy, 1870; also known as The Siege of Numantia); The Interludes of Cervantes, 1948. poetry: Viaje del Parnaso, 1614 (The Voyage to Parnassus, 1870).

Bibliography Bloom, Harold, ed. Cervantes. New York: Chelsea House, 1987. _______. Cervantes’s “Don Quixote.” Philadelphia: Chelsea House, 2001. Cascardi, Anthony J., ed. The Cambridge Companion to Cervantes. New York: Cambridge University Press, 2002. Castillo, David R. (A)wry Views: Anamorphosis, Cervantes, and the Early Picaresque. West Lafayette, Ind.: Purdue University Press, 2001. Close, A. J. Cervantes and the Comic Mind of His Age. New York: Oxford University Press, 2000. Durán, Manuel. Cervantes. New York: Twayne, 1974. Hart, Thomas R. Cervantes’ Exemplary Fictions: A Study of the “Novelas ejemplares.” Lexington: University Press of Kentucky, 1994. McCrory, Donald P. No Ordinary Man: The Life and Times of Miguel de Cervantes. Chester Springs, Pa.: Peter Owen, 2002. Mancing, Howard. Cervantes’ “Don Quixote”: A Reference Guide. Westport, Conn.: Greenwood Press, 2006. Nabokov, Vladimir. Lectures on “Don Quixote.” Edited by Fredson Bowers. New York: Harcourt Brace Jovanovich, 1983. Riley, E. C. Cervantes’s Theory of the Novel. 1962. Reprint. Newark, Del.: Juan de la Cuesta, 1992. Weiger, John G. The Substance of Cervantes. London: Cambridge University Press, 1985. Williamson, Edwin, ed. Cervantes and the Modernists: The Question of Influence. London: Tamesis, 1994. Source :  Rollyson, Carl. Critical Survey Of Long Fiction . 4th ed. New Jersey: Salem Press, 2010

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Don Quixote Essay Topics

Don Quixote is a Lan Macha, Spain-based middle-aged chap known for his great novels. Don Quixote was motivated by the books he read alongside his desire to fight for the helpless by attacking the wicked. He tries and fails but keeps on trying alongside trusted landlords such as Sancho Panza, promising to make him the Isle governor.

In his expeditions, Don Quixote fights for the poor by giving them comfort, food, and shelter. Unfortunately, along the way, Don Quixote ends turning into a bandit that steals and hurts the poor he had promised to protect. He leaves a poor boy in the cruel hands of a wicked farmer just because the farmer promises and swears an oath not to harm him. Don also steals barber’s basin, which he assumes to be the well-known mythic Mambrino’s helmet.

In his story, don outlines all the evil deeds alongside the actions of wickedness that lead to the death of innocent people. It’s quite an exciting masterpiece that can keep you rocked and wanting to keep on reading to the end. If you’ve read this masterpiece and it happens your lecturer asks you to write an essay, you can use these enthralling Don Quixote essay topics.

  • Does Don Quixote Hurt or Help Humanity?
  • How the Characters in Don Quixote Serve as opposites or foils of the original characters?
  • How Don’s madness is depicted in this novel
  • Realism as it appears in Don Quixote’s Novel
  • Does Don Quixote have any virtues or honor?
  • The Inspirations Triggered by Don Quixote?
  • The main similarities between Don Quixote and Cervantes
  • Does the Don Quixote novel depict Don as a sane man?
  • The way peasants are portrayed in Don Quixote
  • The Theme of Love as in Don Quixote
  • Morals or honor? How Don Quixote value honor more than morals?
  • The most common and popular scene in the Don Quixote novel
  • Is Don Quixote a book on its own or a book consisting of preexisting books?
  • The way romantic love is portrayed in Don Quixote
  • The role parody plays in Don Quixote’s novel
  • What motivated Cervantes to write Don Quixote?
  • The road to Barcelona: Don Quixote
  • The man and the idiot: Don Quixote
  • Is Don Quixote a fool or a hero?
  • The optimistic characters in Don Quixote Guido and Ann Frank
  • Gender roles as portrayed in Don Quixote
  • Sanity and searching for meaning in Don Quixote
  • Miguel Cervantes: Don Quixote’s Imagination
  • Fantasies and Assumptions by Don Quixote
  • Faith and Reason as Portrayed in Don Quixote
  • How Don Quixote Compares to William Shakespeare’s Hamlet
  • Female instability as outlined in Don Quixote
  • Who indeed was the La Mancha ingenious gentleman Don Quixote?
  • Transforming reality in Don Quixote
  • Pursuing fairness in Don Quixote’s Novel
  • The literary techniques used in Don Quixote’s novel
  • A clear description of Don Quixote’s mental state
  • The narrative modes used by Cervantes in Don Quixote
  • How violence is depicted in Cervantes’ Don Quixote

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Don Quixote

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Part 2, Chapters 30-39

Part 2, Chapters 40-49

Part 2, Chapters 50-59

Part 2, Chapters 60-69

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Spanish Literature

  • Don Quixote

Miguel de Cervantes

  • Literature Notes
  • Technique and Style in Don Quixote
  • Book Summary
  • Character List
  • Summary and Analysis
  • Part 1: The Author's Preface
  • Part 1: Chapter I
  • Part 1: Chapter II
  • Part 1: Chapter III-IV
  • Part 1: Chapter V-VI
  • Part 1: Chapter VII
  • Part 1: Chapter VIII
  • Part 1: Chapter IX
  • Part 1: Chapter X-XIII
  • Part 1: Chapter XIV
  • Part 1: Chapter XV-XVIII
  • Part 1: Chapter XIX
  • Part 1: Chapter XX
  • Part 1: Chapter XXI-XXIV
  • Part 1: Chapter XXV
  • Part 1: Chapter XXVI-XXIX
  • Part 1: Chapter XXX
  • Part 1: Chapter XXXI-XXXII
  • Part 1: Chapter XXXIII-XXXIV
  • Part 1: Chapter XXXV
  • Part 1: Chapter XXXVI-XL
  • Part 1: Chapter XLI
  • Part 1: Chapter XLII-XLIV
  • Part 1: Chapter XLV
  • Part 1: Chapter XLVI-LI
  • Part 1: Chapter LII
  • Part 2: The Author's Preface
  • Part 2: Chapter I
  • Part 2: Chapter II-IV
  • Part 2: Chapter V
  • Part 2: Chapter VI
  • Part 2: Chapter VII-VIII
  • Part 2: Chapter IX-X
  • Part 2: Chapter XI
  • Part 2: Chapter XII-XIV
  • Part 2: Chapter XV
  • Part 2: Chapter XVI-XVII
  • Part 2: Chapter XVIII-XXII
  • Part 2: Chapter XXIII
  • Part 2: Chapter XXIV-XXV
  • Part 2: Chapter XXVI
  • Part 2: Chapter XXVII-XXXIV
  • Part 2: Chapter XXXV
  • Part 2: Chapter XXXVI-XL
  • Part 2: Chapter XLI
  • Part 2: Chapter XLII-LI
  • Part 2: Chapter LII
  • Part 2: Chapter LIII-LIV
  • Part 2: Chapter LV
  • Part 2: Chapter LVI-LVII
  • Part 2: Chapter LVIII
  • Part 2: Chapter LIX-LX
  • Part 2: Chapter LXI-LXII
  • Part 2: Chapter LXIII-LXIV
  • Part 2: Chapter LXV-LXXII
  • Part 2: Chapter LXXIII
  • Part 2: Chapter LXXIV
  • Miguel de Cervantes Biography
  • Critical Essays
  • Purpose of Don Quixote
  • Characterization in Don Quixote
  • Themes in Don Quixote
  • Essay Topics and Review Questions
  • Cite this Literature Note

Critical Essays Technique and Style in Don Quixote

Relation of Novelist to His Characters

Each author has a "point of view" from which he invents and constructs his characters and incidents. Some novels may be written in first person narrative to expose subjectively society's evils; other forms of writing stem from an omniscient author who can see into each person and recount past and future history at each point in the narrative. Dickens is an example of such a writer.

Cervantes, on the other hand, chooses to write a "history" and thus gives himself certain limitations and advantages. He must journalistically give facts of what clearly occurs at each part of the action; he cannot invent attributes of his characters without documenting these qualities by actions. As a responsible historian, he cannot impose any opinions on his reader but must present each character with as many details of description and action so that his readers can draw their own conclusions. To further this ideal of objectivity, Cervantes invents the eminent historian, Cid Hamet Benengali, for only a Moor would try to underrate any Spanish achievement, and this guarantees the verisimilitude of all details in the life of Don Quixote.

Further reading into the life of the Manchegan knight, however, reinforces a growing suspicion that provides another reason for the invention of Cid Hamet. Perhaps Cervantes felt that Don Quixote was too quickly outgrowing his artificial existence, becoming more than just a lampoon out of a chivalric romance, to be, as Byron has termed him, a character created to "smile Spain's chivalry away." Like a Pinocchio animated while Gepetto lay sleeping, Don Quixote seems to wrest himself from his creator's pen and live an independent life. Furthermore, as he lives on and on in world literature, it becomes even clearer today that his organic growth defied restriction and circumvention by a mere author.

Sancho Panza, as well, possesses this quality of self-determination. Don Quixote, returning from his first sally at the inn to obtain fresh linen, some money, and a squire, solicits "one of his neighbors, a country-laborer, and good honest fellow, for he was poor indeed: poor in purse and poor in brains." From this modest introduction of what would become one of the funniest characters in literature an ignorant, unwilling, gold-seeking squire who eventually becomes wise and quixotic we may assume that Cervantes had not at first realized the possibilities of Sancho.

Consequently, Don Quixote presents this interesting aspect of a novelist who learns and grows in coincidence with his own characters. As he lives with them and loves them, Cervantes investigates with them the fundamentals of human understanding. This notion of an objective creator, set apart from his characters yet integrally consistent with everything they do, began with Cervantes. His organic artist-creation relationship is as complex and plastic as that found in Shakespeare and has become a condition of the modern esthetic for the art of the novel.

Relation of Novelist to Reader

Following the character-artist relationship, there remains the important and often unnoticed relation of the writer to his reader. Just as Cervantean characters seem to "write themselves," we have in this novel the aspect of the reader "writing himself" as well.

Because a reader is forced to think about each invented episode after it occurs, and because he suspects that Cervantes is not saying all there is to say about each incident, Don Quixote is sometimes difficult and frustrating for a modern reader to comprehend. He is obliged to wonder for himself why the hero does not lose his illusions sooner, why Sancho insists on remaining with his master to face more and more drubbings, why one feels a sympathy for the ridiculous knight who somehow remains dignified in the most humiliating circumstances. Like Sancho and Don Quixote, the reader is forced to reconsider the meaning of what has transpired each time the knight, bruised and weary, rises to remount Rosinante and continue his errant mission. We slowly come to conclude the final organic nature of this elusive book: to educate and mature the readers in the same way as Don Quixote and Sancho increase in self-awareness.

This is the extension of Cervantes' art of objectifying life's experiences. Standing aside from his "stepchildren," he allows them to impress each reader who encounters their careers in his own way. His novelistic realism, unlimited by supplying a given point of view of his creations, presents protagonists to the reader as one presents any human being to another, forcing the reader to understand, sympathize, or deny according to his own nature. Setting each character free in his invented world without guiding murmurs of approval or disapproval, Cervantes, the prime-mover novelist, also sets the reader free. This is another unique quality which makes Don Quixote one of the most lasting and elusive books in the world, and makes Cervantes one of the most consummate novelists that Western literature has produced.

Vitality of the Novel

The richness and interest of Cervantes stems, then, not from the profuseness of character types, nor from the variety in his constant inventiveness, nor from the philosophical conclusions we may make from his material, but from an emanation of life that lends vivacity and fascination and dynamism to every part of his huge narrative. This essential quality of Don Quixote, eluding more specific appellation, can roughly be called organic. A vital force animates each episode, and it gives even a bony horse and fat donkey memorable personalities.

In essence, Don Quixote shows us that the reality of existence consists in receiving all the impact of experience, which, transformed through the medium of a special awareness, is synthesized as part of the character. The prosaic Alonso Quixano, after an impact on his imagination from books of chivalry, transforms himself into the Knight of La Mancha. Reading of pastoral tales is the impact which causes Marcella to become a shepherdess, and Samson Carrasco receives his impetus from trying to conquer the madness of his rival once and for all. All these characters have changed their lives from internalizing essentially external influences. As Don Quixote and Sancho continue their journeys, they change and develop under the impact of each new episode. Having internalized one experience by their constant discourse they go on to face another, and once more retrench themselves under this new influence.

The emanation of life is seen whenever any character encounters experience. Dorothea, bathing her feet in a running brook, is a figure out of a pastoral tableau. As soon as she describes how Ferdinand wrought havoc on her normal rustic life, her intelligence awakens and she gains flesh and blood before our eyes. Under these new circumstances, she is able to play the exacting role of Princess Micomicona, although still ignorant as ever about things like geography. People like Don Diego de Miranda (the gentleman in the green coat), the priest at the duke's castle, and the niece Antonia Quixana are inured against external influences and remain static.

Chosen not alone for their comic attributes, episodes provide a testing ground to stimulate all areas of the personalities of Don Quixote, Sancho, and all others. Thus we see the virtuous wife Camilla put to a literal "test," and she quickly emerges as an accomplished adulteress. Whenever Sancho's loyalties are put to a test, on the other hand (his defense of his master at the priest's scolding, the instant when he is "fired" by Don Quixote, his constant desire to quit his squirehood when dissatisfied, for instance), he remains faithful. The whole sequence of the adventures with the duke and duchess provides a testing ground for the values Don Quixote holds dear as a knight-errant. His final test is when, with Samson's lance poised at his throat, he chooses rather to die than to give up the idea of Dulcinea's perfection.

In other words, Cervantes makes things happen in order to reveal latent possibilities. Even the weather is forced into service, for the one time it does rain, it is so the barber can don his basin to protect his new hat; hence the adventure of Mambrino's helmet. The vividness of the rocky wilderness of the Sierra Morena serves only to isolate the various scenes that take place there Don Quixote's penance, Cardenio's meeting with the curate and barber, Dorothea's story and it provides, as well, a safe refuge from the police force. The scorched July morning shows what a madman it takes to begin knight-errantry when it is so hot; the dusty road serves to obscure the two flocks of sheep which the hero thinks are armies; and a verdant meadow, the scene of Rosinante's frolic with the mares, provides the adventure of the Yanguesian carriers.

This utilitarian dynamism of every part of the novel is further maintamed as episodes interweave with each other like motives in a symphony. Recurring with some variation, these themes are picked up again and again. Sancho, for instance, never forgoes a chance to rue his blanketing; the disenchantment of Dulcinea haunts Don Quixote until his death. Altisidora never gives up her game of courting the knight. Alonso Quixano is always in the shadow of Don Quixote's mad career, and Sancho's wished-for island held out to him like a carrot to a mule finally becomes his prize. Tosilos reappears, Andrew reappears, Gines de Passamonte thrice returns to cross Don Quixote. The ideal of pastoral life weaves in and out of the novel in many variations: Marcella, the New Arcadians, Don Quixote's secondary fantasy. Nothing happens without repercussions, and characters or episodes are invariably picked up again.

The descriptive style is another source of Cervantes' dynamism. Terse, yet elegant, he sketches images that make illustrations in the book seem anticlimactic. Sancho, starved for some good food, is with his master at the goatherds' huts: "Sancho presently repaired to the attractive smell of goat's flesh which stood boiling in a kettle over the fire . . . . The goatherds took them off the fire, and spread some sheepskins on the ground and soon got their rustic feast ready; and cheerfully invited his master and him to partake of what they had." Introducing Marcella: "'Twas Marcella herself who appeared at the top of the rock, at the foot of which they were digging the grave; but so beautiful that fame seemed rather to have lessened than to have magnified her charms: Those who had never seen her before, gazed on her with silent wonder and delight; nay, those who used to see her every day seemed no less lost in admiration than the rest." The immortal tilt with the windmills occupies a mere forty or fifty lines: "'I tell thee they are giants and I am resolved to engage in a dreadful unequal combat against them all.' This said, he clapped spurs to Rosinante . . . . At the same time the wind rising, the great sails began turning . . . . Well covered with his shield, with his lance at rest, he bore down upon the first mill that stood in his way, giving a thrust at the wing which was whirling at such a speed that his lance was broken into bits and both horse and horseman went rolling over the plain, very much battered indeed."

The overall success of the book lies, therefore, in the vitality and organic development of the characters themselves. The descriptions are vivid, not merely for the prose style, but because they give physical fulfillment to the dynamic image of the personalities. Setting, which Cervantes rarely details, is unforgettably and briefly etched only if it is integral to the development of the corresponding episode. Thus, with a technique of subordinating every other literary ornament to animate and discover all parts of an active character, Cervantes has created a strong unity of episode, setting, dialogue, and characterization which lends this book its protean nature. It is as if the author, considering his creation a great darkness at first, sweeps across its surface beams of light in the form of incident, dialogue, description, background, until the entire configuration of human personality is revealed.

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Top 100 Don Quixote Essay Topics

Apr 4, 2022

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Apr 4, 2022 | Topics

Don Quixote is a middle-aged man from Lan Macha, Spain, who has excellent novels to his name. He was moved by the books he read and desired to fight for those in need by attacking wicked people. Though he tried often but failed every time, Don Quixote always tries again alongside Sancho Panza – promising him that they will conquer an island together. Don Quixote fights for the poor in his adventures by giving them comfort, food, and shelter. Along the way, he turns into a bandit who steals from and hurts those very same people that he promised to protect. His most heartbreaking moment is when you see him leave a young boy in the cruel hands of an evil farmer just because this man swears not to harm him, even though it’s clear what will happen next! He also stole the barber’s basin, which is believed to be Mambrino’s legendary helmet–he didn’t know any better, but now we do! In his story, Cervantes outlines all the evil deeds alongside wickedness that leads to death for innocent people. It’s quite an exciting masterpiece and will keep you on your toes as you read through it. If this is what happened in your life where someone asks about a Don Quixote essay topic, use these enthralling topics below. 1. Does Don Quixote Hurt or Help Humanity? 2. How the Characters in Don Quixote Serve as opposites or foils of the original characters? 3. How Don’s madness is depicted in this novel 4. Realism as it appears in Don Quixote’s Novel 5. Does Don Quixote have any virtues or honor? 6. The Inspirations Triggered by Don Quixote? 7. The main similarities between Don Quixote and Cervantes 8. Does the Don Quixote novel depict Don as a sane man? 9. The way peasants are portrayed in Don Quixote 10. The Theme of Love as in Don Quixote 11. Morals or honor? How Don Quixote value honor more than morals? 12. The most common and popular scene in the Don Quixote novel 13. Is Don Quixote a book on its own or a book consisting of preexisting books? 14. The way romantic love is portrayed in Don Quixote 15. The role parody plays in Don Quixote’s novel 16. What motivated Cervantes to write Don Quixote? 17. The road to Barcelona: Don Quixote 18. The man and the idiot: Don Quixote 19. Is Don Quixote a fool or a hero? 20. The optimistic characters in Don Quixote Guido and Ann Frank 21. Gender roles as portrayed in Don Quixote 22. Sanity and searching for meaning in Don Quixote 23. Miguel Cervantes: Don Quixote’s Imagination 24. Fantasies and Assumptions by Don Quixote 25. Faith and Reason as Portrayed in Don Quixote 26. How Don Quixote Compares to William Shakespeare’s Hamlet 27. Female instability as outlined in Don Quixote 28. Who indeed was the La Mancha ingenious gentleman Don Quixote? 29. Transforming reality in Don Quixote 30. Pursuing fairness in Don Quixote’s Novel 31. The literary techniques used in Don Quixote’s novel 32. A clear description of Don Quixote’s mental state 33. The narrative modes used by Cervantes in Don Quixote 34. How violence is depicted in Cervantes’ Don Quixote

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