Don Quixote by Miguel de Cervantes Saavedra


My sole complaint about Don Quixote de la Mancha is just how long it is (and yes, I realize that the work is two separate volumes). If you stick to it, though, the story is definitely worth the effort.

Overall, I thought the misadventures of Don Quixote and poor Sancho Panza were pretty funny in the first volume! Quixote’s well-known attack on the windmills are only the beginning of the madman’s exploits. Coming across people doing ordinary everyday things during his “sallies,” the knight’s overactive imagination morphs the scenes into opportunities for chivalrous glory. Inns became castles, herds of sheep turn into warring knights, and prostitutes were seen as high-born ladies in the knight’s eyes. Despite Sancho’s pleadings for rational thought, Quixote boldly wades into each adventure with lance aflashing. The results usually turned out poorly for the knight and his squire. Still, Quixote always remained fatally optimistic, blaming his woes on those pesky “enchanters” who continually plague him.

The second volume is a bit less farcical. At this point in the story, many people in Spain have become familiar with Don Quixote and his quirks (thanks in part to the publishing of Volume One of the Don Quixote). For their amusement, a number of people (particularly a wealthy Duke and Duchess) played upon Quixote’s fame and establish a series of elaborate pranks upon Quixote and Panza to see how they would react to these “adventures.” The Duke went so far as to make the simple-minded Sancho governor of an “island.” Sadly, neither men ever caught on to these ruses, and Sancho usually got the worst of the joke.

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