Read an explanation of important quotes from Cervantes' satire, Don Quixote. Make sure you understand these passages before a class discussion or test.
Brief Summary & Analysis
Don Quixote by Miguel Cervantes is one of the most popular novels in world literature. These Don Quixote quotes and a brief review are going to help you refresh your memory of the novel if you read it already and hopefully encourage you to read it if you haven’t.
Don Quixote, who is the main character of the novel, is a middle-aged man who is deeply fond of his own ideas and likes to dream and fantasize. He appears as a foolish, but a kind-hearted gentleman who is hoping to restore the chivalric code of the knights.
In part 2 of book 1, Cervantes says that "he [Qioxote] was spurred on by the conviction that the world needed his immediate presence." This is the main reason why he decides to leave his village and become a knight.
Quixote believes that knighthood is his higher calling. In book 1, part 11 he explains to Sancho ". God, who provides for all, will not desert us; especially being engaged, as we are, in His service". He does not doubt his destiny. He says: “ …the order of knight-errantry was instituted to defend maidens, to protect widows, and to rescue orphans and distressed persons."(Book 1, Part 8)
Due to Quixote’s distorted perception of the world, he keeps finding himself in ridiculous and unpleasant situations. His good intentions and noble acts often lead to sad results.
The novel ends with Quixote falling into in a deep melancholy and rejecting his ideas of chivalry. “I am in my right mind, now, clear-headed and free of the murky darkness of ignorance, brought upon me by my continual, bitter reading of those abominable books of chivalry." (Book 2, part 16)
Quixote is a complicated character. Thoughts, dreams and fantasies are the same in Quixote’s head, so he seems deluded and crazy to the rest of the world. Despite his obsession with chivalry and absurd acts he shows an unusual awareness in many matters and appears as a thinker and a humanist. He is definitely not a madman and not insane. His sayings and reasoning are often wise and witty and they show that he is indeed a well-educated, smart and intelligent man.
Don Quixote quotes on beauty and appearance:
All kinds of beauty do not inspire love; there is a kind which only pleases the sight, but does not captivate the affections.
All that glisters is not gold.
Don Quixote quotes on food and eating:
All sorrows are good (or are less) with bread.
The stomach carries the heart, and not the heart the stomach.
The proof of the pudding is in the eating.
Don Quixote quotes about himself:
Truly I was born to be an example of misfortune, and a target at which the arrows of adversary are aimed.
No one's gotten me pregnant'...'and I'm not the kind of man who lets himself get pregnant, not even by the king, and though I may be poor, I'm an Old Christian...'
And I, for all that, will stay in my asylum, if there's no chaplain to take me out of it, and if that Jupiter, as the barber tells us, won't rain, well, here I am, and I'll rain whenever I want to. Which I say because I want Mr. Barber-Basin to know I understand him.
Although it's true I'm pretty clever, and I'm something of a rascal, but all that's well hidden under this always easy and natural disguise of behaving like a fool.
Don Quixote quotes on various subjects:
I would do what I pleased, and doing what I pleased, I should have my will, and having my will, I should be contented; and when one is contented, there is no more to be desired; and when there is no more to be desired, there is an end of it.
Said the pot to the kettle, "Get away, blackface."
Fear has many eyes.
Liberty, Sancho, my friend, is one of the most precious gifts that Heaven has bestowed on mankind
Can one desire too much of a good thing?
Nobody is forgotten when it is convenient to remember him.
Blessings on him who invented sleep, the mantle that covers all human thoughts, the food that satisfies hunger, the drink that slakes thirst, the fire that warms cold, the cold that moderates heat, and lastly the common currency that buys all things, the balance and weight that equalises the shepherd and the king, the simpleton and the sage.