4 min read ⌚
You have heard the saying “fighting windmills,” right?
Well, this is the book that the saying derives from.
Read the short summary of Don Quixote’s adventures, and find out why this book is considered a classic in the world of literature.
Who Should Read “Don Quixote”? And Why?
“Don Quixote” is an interesting but long read. Critics believe that Cervantes is one of the best authors in history and that this book is one of the best pieces of fiction ever written.
The numbers show that most readers believe the same: the book is the most translated piece of fiction in the world.
We recommend it to all readers who do not mind reading long pieces of work, as well as those wanting to explore the classics of world’s literature.
Miguel De Cervantes Saavedra Biography
Miguel De Cervantes is a Spanish author that until this very day is considered as one of the best writers in Spain, and in world’s literary history overall.
His book “Don Quixote” is the most translated fiction book of all times – the only book that precedes it is the Bible.
Although it was written in the past, “Don Quixote” is many times considered as a modern novel.
Don Quixote is a story about a middle-aged man from La Mancha in Spain who wants to become a knight-errant.
He is obsessed with chivalrous books and the ideas that they convey, so one day he decides to live the life he has read about in those books and become a person who will stand in defense of the hopeless, and defeat the wicked.
He, therefore “arms” himself with a sword and a knight suit, which he considers good, but the readers can see that his arms are made of old garbage material and sets out on his first adventure.
On his way, he manages to find a laborer Sancho Panza, whom he persuades to accompany him on his quests as his squire.
Sancho Panza accepts, but not because of his love for adventure, but because Don Quixote promises to make him a governor of an isle.
Don Quixote also finds a horse for himself. It is, of course, an old horse, but he gives the name Rocinante because he believes it sounds well and powerful.
Sancho and Rocinante will accompany him until the end of his adventures.
Of course, like all nights, he also needs a woman. So he finds a peasant woman whom he names Dulcinea del Toboso and thinks of her as a princess.
The character of Dulcinea is interesting since the Dulcinea from his imagination has nothing to do with the person he connects her to in reality.
She is much more of an imaginary person than a real one since she barely even shows up in the book. And even when she does, she is a manly woman, nothing like the princess Don Quixote thinks of.
His thoughts of her are so different from the reality that even Sancho Panza does not realize that the peasant woman and the Dulcinea from Don Quixote’s talks are the same people.
Then, he begins riding around the country trying to find events in which he can shine – moments in which people need his help.
The book consists of two parts which tell the stories of the people Don Quixote meets on his journey.
Sancho Panza is a complete opposite of him: he is a character based in reality but decides not to oppose Don Quixote’s imagination, since he is an opportunist who decided to accompany him because of the reward he expects in the end.
Don Quixote’s path is filled up with many adventures, in which he is doing more harm than any good. His squire Sancho bears many punishments because of his master’s irrational behavior.
They go through all the events that knights in actual chivalry romances go through: from battling with giants to magic spells.
The only problem is that these battles are not real: the giants Don Quixote battles are windmills, and the magic spell that he believes was cast on his Dulcinea to turn her into a peasant woman is not real.
The second book starts interestingly since it first stands against the book that was published as Don Quixote’s sequel but was a fake.
In the second book, his adventures continue, and his imagination is stronger than ever. However, the book ends along with the character’s life.
He does not die because of any kind of direct conflict with some of the imaginary creatures he believed he was fighting – instead, when he goes back home, he falls ill with a fever.
While he is waiting for his death, he admits that his adventures were a waste of time. With his death, knights-errant no longer exist.
Now we have to wonder, was Don Quixote really that irrational, or was he a wise and educated man, who knowingly decided to lie to himself and enjoy an adventure.
Don Quixote Epilogue
Cervantes has written the book as a critique of the chivalry romances that were popular at the time.
We can sense his criticism in the way he has plotted the story, to make all of the usual aspects of a chivalry novel seem silly, as well as with the language, which is too flowery.
Of course behind all of the fancy language, we can sense Cervantes’s sarcasm and critique.
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Our Critical Review
This is a must-read for everyone interested in classics. The story is exciting and takes readers to an unforgettable adventure of a man way past his prime who wishes to create his own reality.
The language is a flowery and beautiful, but all of that is done for a reason – just as every event through which Don Quixote passes by is there for a reason.
Although some readers may find it too long, it is undeniable that Cervantes is a master of storytelling.