Don Quixote

1605 novel by Miguel de Cervantes

Don Quixote is a novel by Miguel de Cervantes. The book was published in two parts (1605 and 1615). It was first written in Spanish. Soon afterwards it was translated to English by Thomas Shelton. It is considered by many scholars to be the first modern novel.[source?] The main character, Don Quixote, is a paragon of chivalry, but in a deeply flawed and impractical way. Don Quixote is so influential as a character that the word "quixotic" is used to describe his type of behavior.

Don Quixote and his squire, Sancho Panza, Illustration by Gustave Doré

The story is about Alonso Quixano, a rich middle-aged man. Quixano, having read many tales about chivalry and knights, goes crazy and believes that he is a knight named Don Quixote. He rides around the country with his squire, Sancho, having adventures. He believes his adventures are real, but everyone else laughs at him.

One of the most famous stories in the book is Don Quixote's fight with windmills. He sees some windmills and thinks they are giants. When he rides to fight with them, he is knocked off his horse. Sancho tells him they are only windmills, but Don Quixote does not believe him. He is sure a magician changed windmills into the giants to hurt him.

At the end of the book, Don Quixote (Alonso Quixano) returns home, hurt badly from a fight with another knight. He becomes sane (sane means to see reality) again, then dies from a high fever.