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Don Quixote

By Gustave Doré - originally uploaded on nds.wikipedia by Bruker:G.Meiners at 14:22, 28. July 2005. Filename was Don Quijote and Sancho Panza.jpg., Public Domain, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=337175, Don Quixote
By Gustave Doré – originally uploaded on nds.wikipedia by Bruker:G.Meiners at 14:22, 28. July 2005. Filename was Don Quijote and Sancho Panza.jpg., Public Domain, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=337175

Alonso Quijano is an hidalgo, the lowest rank of nobility who is obsessed with stories of knights errant. His friends and family think he is crazy when he decides to take the name of Don Quijote de la Mancha and become a knight errant himself (a don being a title of a higher nobility, and a quixote in is a piece of armor). Then he wanders on his thin horse Rocinante, righting wrongs and protecting the oppressed.

Don Quixote is visibly crazy to most people. He believes ordinary inns to be enchanted castles, and their peasant girls to be beautiful princesses. He mistakes windmills for oppressive giants sent by evil enchanters. He imagines a neighboring peasant to be Dulcinea del Toboso, the beautiful maiden to whom he has pledged love and fidelity.

Sancho Panza, his simple squire, believes his master to be a bit crazy, in particular he knows that there is “really” no Dulcinea, but he plays along, hoping to get rich. He and Quixote agree for instance that because Dulcinea is not as pretty nor does she smell as good as she should, she “must have been enchanted”, and from that point on the mission is to disenchant her.

Master and squire have numerous adventures, often causing more harm than good in spite of their noble intentions. They meet criminals sent to the galleys, and are victims of an elaborate prank by a pair of Dukes, when Sancho is made “governor” of fake Barataria.

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