DON QUIXOTE Biography - Fictional, Iconical & Mythological characters


Biography » fictional iconical mythological characters » don quixote


Name: Don Quijote                                                                           
Don Quijote fully titled El ingenioso hidalgo don Quijote de la Mancha ("The Ingenious     
Hidalgo Don Quijote of La Mancha") is an early novel written by Spanish author             
Miguel de Cervantes Saavedra. Cervantes created a fictional origin for the story           
based upon a manuscript by the invented Moorish historian, Cide Hamete Benengeli.           
The work was published in two volumes: the first in 1605, and the second in 1614.           
The protagonist, Alonso Quixano, is a country gentleman who has read so many               
stories of chivalry that he descends into fantasy and becomes convinced he is a             
knight errant. Together with his earthy squire Sancho Panza, the self-styled "Don           
Quixote de la Mancha" sets out in search of adventure. The "lady" for whom                 
Quixote seeks to toil is Dulcinea del Toboso, an imaginary object crafted from a           
neighbouring farmgirl (her real name is Aldonza Lorenzo) by the illusion-struck             
"knight" to be the object of his courtly love. "Dulcinea" is totally unaware of             
Quixote's feelings for her, nor does she actually appear in the novel.                     
Published in two volumes a decade apart, Don Quixote is the most influential               
work of literature to emerge from the Spanish Golden Age and perhaps the entire             
Spanish literary canon. As a founding work of modern Western literature, it                 
regularly appears at or near the top of lists of the greatest works of fiction             
ever published[1] and is the best-selling non-religious, non-political work of             
fiction of all time.                                                                       
The novel's structure is in episodic form. It is a humorous novel in the                   
picaresco style of the late sixteenth century. The full title is indicative of             
the tale's object, as ingenioso (Span.) means "to be quick with inventiveness".             
Although the novel is farcical, the second half is serious and philosophical               
about the theme of deception. Quixote has served as an important thematic source           
not only in literature but in much of later art and music, inspiring works by               
Pablo Picasso and Richard Strauss. The contrasts between the tall, thin, fancy-struck,     
and idealistic Quixote and the fat, squat, world-weary Panza is a motif echoed             
ever since the book’s publication, and Don Quixote's imaginings are the butt of           
outrageous and cruel practical jokes in the novel. Even faithful and simple                 
Sancho is unintentionally forced to deceive him at certain points. The novel is             
considered a satire of orthodoxy, truth, veracity, and even nationalism. In                 
going beyond mere storytelling to exploring the individualism of his characters,           
Cervantes helped move beyond the narrow literary conventions of the chivalric               
romance literature that he spoofed, which consists of straightforward retelling             
of a series of acts that redound to the knightly virtues of the hero.                       
Farce makes use of punning and similar verbal playfulness. Character-naming in             
Don Quixote makes ample figural use of contradiction, inversion, and irony, such           
as the names Rocinante (a reversal) and Dulcinea (an allusion to illusion),                 
and the word quixote itself, possibly a pun on quijada (jaw) but certainly                 
cuixot (Catalan: thighs), a reference to a horse's rump.                                   
Don Quixote and Sancho Panza Bronze Statues at the Cervantes Birth Place Museum             
- Alcalá de Henares                                                                       
The world of ordinary people, from shepherds to tavern-owners and inn-keepers,             
which figures in Don Quixote, was groundbreaking. The character of Don Quixote             
became so well-known in its time that the word quixotic was quickly calqued into           
many languages. Characters such as Sancho Panza and Don Quixote’s steed,                 
Rocinante, are emblems of Western literary culture. The phrase "tilting at                 
windmills" to describe an act of futility similarly derives from an iconic scene           
in the book.                                                                               
Because of its widespread influence, Don Quixote also helped cement the modern             
Spanish language. The opening sentence of the book created a classic Spanish               
cliché with the phrase de cuyo nombre no quiero acordarme, "whose name I do not           
want to remember."                                                                         
En un lugar de la Mancha, de cuyo nombre no quiero acordarme, no ha mucho tiempo           
que vivía un hidalgo de los de lanza en astillero, adarga antigua, rocín flaco y         
galgo corredor.                                                                             
"In a place at La Mancha, which name I do not want to remember, not very long               
ago lived a noble, one of those nobles who keep a lance in the lance-rack, an               
ancient shield, a skinny old horse, and a fast greyhound."