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Don Quixote – One of the Most Widely Read Classic European Novels

The Ingenious Gentleman Don Quixote of La Mancha is the English translation of a Spanish novel by Miguel De Cervantes Saavedra more than four hundred years ago, between 1605 and 1615. Although there are many characters in the novel, the plot revolves around the three characters – Don or Alonso Quixano, a retired gentleman and an aspiring knight; his attendant Sancho Panza who is a farmer; and Dulcinea Del Toboso alias Aldonza Lorenzo, a farm girl on whom Don showers his love and remains romantically attached.

Don Quixote – An Introduction

The story is about Alonso Quixano, a middle-aged man who, after retirement, aspires to become a knight and, along with his squire Sancho Panza sets out on a series of adventures to restore the lost glory of chivalry.   Alonso is deeply obsessed with the chivalrous ideals he read about in books and decides to become a knight to destroy the wicked and save the helpless. Alonso lives in a dream world based on his experience about the chivalrous lives of knights gathered from extensive reading of books on the subject. The author conceived the story as a parody of the chivalrous lives of knights and their romances that had been a staple of European literature for many years.

The novel is an eternal classic of humor and satire set in the Central Spanish region of La Mancha.

The Plot in Brief

That the story of Don Quixote has been famous through the centuries, four hundred years and running, bears testimony to the author’s exceptional writing abilities. The novel is one of the best-known Spanish novels published in almost all global languages. Considered one of the greatest works of fiction, it was one of the earliest novels of Cervantes, and it took nearly ten years to complete.

Let’s rush through the Don Quixote summary.

The story begins with Alonso Quixano renaming himself Don Quixote and preparing to become a chivalrous knight who sets out on many adventures with his attendant Sancho Panza. Aldonza Lorenzo, a farm girl, is Don’s love interest. Don indulges in various queer misadventures and invites trouble as he tries to resolve imaginary problems and conflicts. Don lives in a surreal world and develops a perspective about life from his experience of reading numerous books about the chivalrous knights and their adventurous lives. Despite being at the receiving end during various encounters, his indomitable spirit keeps him charged as he indulges in more adventures with Sancho by his side. Don’s most famous misadventure is the incident of attacking windmills that he imagines to be giants.

Although the story is a mixture of fantasy and comedy, the author shares his views about life through the protagonist Don. The Don Quixote quotes illustrate the author’s take on life and philosophy. Besides giving a pronounced comic edge to the story, the author craftily demonstrates subtle irony and a humanistic outlook. Or else why would Don say, ‘Take my advice and live for a long, long time. Because the maddest thing a man can do in this life is to let himself die.

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