Don Quixote Summary

  • Last updated on June 11, 2023
Title: Don Quixote
Author: Miguel de Cervantes
Published: 1605 (Part 1), 1615 (Part 2)
Genre: Fiction
Page Length: Part 1 - 863, Part 2 - 746

Don Quixote is a novel written by Spanish author Miguel de Cervantes. The novel was first published in two parts, part one in 1605 and part two in 1615. The story follows Alonso Quixano, a middle-aged man who reads so many books about chivalry that he loses his mind and sets out on his own chivalric missions under the name Don Quixote. Along with his loyal squire Sancho Panza, Don Quixote creates a series of misadventures and comedic situations in his pursuit of glory, fame, and honor.

Part One

In 16th century Spain, Alonso Quixano is a middle-aged gentleman who becomes obsessed with the concept of chivalry after reading numerous books on the subject. He renames himself Don Quixote, imagines himself as a knight, and sets out on a series of adventures accompanied by his loyal squire, Sancho Panza. Don Quixote's delusions and grandiose ideas lead him to believe that he is the only true knight in the world who can save damsels in distress and defend the honor of his beloved Dulcinea, whom he has never met.

Along the way, Don Quixote continually misinterprets reality, attacking windmills, believing them to be giants, and battling flocks of sheep, thinking they are armies. He also mistakes a local peasant girl for the beautiful and noble Dulcinea. In addition to these misadventures, he and Sancho become involved in a number of other humorous situations, such as a series of run-ins with muleteers and a comical encounter with a wealthy duke and duchess who play practical jokes on the two of them.

Part Two

In this portion of the novel, the fame of Don Quixote spreads throughout Spain, and he and Sancho Panza embark on a new adventure. Along the way, they meet a group of actors who are performing a play about Don Quixote, which he mistakes for reality. He also encounters a group of pilgrims and a duke who enlist him to perform a series of tasks and antics, such as a staged battle in which he is defeated and returned to his senses, or a false delivery of messages purportedly from Dulcinea.

Don Quixote becomes ill and is forced to return home to his village, where he dies peacefully, believing that he has saved the world and has achieved the glory and honor he has been seeking all his life. Sancho Panza, who has been encouraged by Don Quixote's delusions, is left behind to reconcile his master's legacy with a broader sense of morality.


Don Quixote is primarily a humorous work, full of irony and satire. It is also a work that critiques the romantic and chivalrous ideals that were prevalent in the Spanish society of the time. Don Quixote's delusions lead him to pursue impossible ideals, and his pursuit of these ideals ultimately leads him to destruction.

Cervantes also criticizes the aristocratic class, which he sees as outdated and out of touch with reality. Don Quixote's delusions reflect those of the aristocratic class, who long for the chivalrous ideals of the medieval period.

Throughout the novel, Cervantes explores the concepts of reality and illusion, as well as the relationship between fiction and reality. Don Quixote is inspired by the stories he reads, and he attempts to live out these stories in his own life. However, his pursuit of these ideals leads him into an alternate reality that he cannot control or influence.

The novel also explores the concept of identity and self-discovery. Don Quixote's journey is one of self-discovery, as he attempts to define himself as a knight and to live up to the ideals that he perceives as virtuous. Sancho Panza also experiences self-discovery, as he begins to question the wisdom of his master's delusions and to recognize the value of a more practical, realistic approach to life.


Don Quixote is a classic novel that has achieved worldwide acclaim for its humor, irony, and satire. Miguel de Cervantes created a timeless work that explored the themes of reality and illusion, identity and self-discovery, and the struggle for human dignity and recognition. The novel remains a relevant and important work that continues to inspire readers and writers alike, and is a testament to the enduring power of literature as a medium for artistic expression and social critique.

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