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Don Quixote
Author: Miguel de Cervantes
Culture: Spanish
Date: early 17th c.
Genre: satirical novel
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Cervantes Background
 Son of a poor doctor, did not
have a formal education
 Cervantes’ life experiences:
 Fought in religious wars
 Captured by pirates
 Spent 5 years as a slave
 Held government jobs.
 Published:
 Don Quixote Part I in 1604
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 Don Quixote Part II in 1615
Don Quixote
 Cervantes combines several
genres into one.
 The purpose of DQ was to
satirize the chivalrous
romances that include valor,
adventures, and battles
 The novel was popular
immediately.
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Don Quixote’s Mask
 Don Quixote wears the mask of a chivalric knight to make
his life more exciting.
 There is an influence of the Greek comedy
 The humor exists because Don Quixote creates his own
reality and ignores the events that are taking place around
him.
Reality
 In reality, Don Quixote is merely a poor country
landowner rather than a chivalrous Knight.
 Don Quixote’s goals are love, adventure, loyalty to
valor and generosity, tries to right wrongs, to help
those in need, to be full of valor in honor of his
Lady (courtly love).
 He wants to be recognized for his good deeds.
 His insanity is caused by reading too many books
about chivalry implying that reading corrupts
minds.
Significant Characters:
 Don Quixote – the main character (tragicomic hero)
who wants to save the world
 Sancho Panza – Don Quixote’s squire who represents
the common man. He is a peasant who grows more
confident as the novel progresses.
 Dulcinea – Don Quixote’s ladylove who never
physically appears in the novel. His love for her drives
him along on his adventure.
 Rocinante – Don Quixote’s barn horse. His is worn
out (just like DQ), but very faithful.
Metaphors:
 There are several metaphors presented in Don
Quixote.
 A metaphor is the comparison of two unlike things.
 For example:
 John is a real pig when he eats.

Translation: John is a fast and messy eater.
 My father is a rock.

Translation: My father is a strong and reliable person.
 Her head was spinning with ideas.

Translation: She has several exciting ideas.
What’s Next?
 We will be reading one portion of the novel, Don
Quixote.
 The passage that has been chosen is the Battle of the
Windmills. In this passage, Don Quixote encounters
some windmills and sees them a little differently than
everyone else.
 When reading, be on the lookout for humor,
metaphors, and heroic elements.
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