the Arab translator of Don Quixote, Cervantes consistently accuses him of dishonesty.
Don Quixote (Señor Alonso Quixana, The Knight of the Sorrowful Figure)
Alonso Quixana is an elderly gentleman who has read too many books of chivalry. He decides that he will become a knight-errant and enjoy his own adventures, winning fame and honor. His first sally into the world is aborted quickly. On the way home, intending to get money and clean shirts, Quixote is attacked and left for dead. A peasant sees Quixote and brings him home. The best efforts of Quixote's niece, housekeeper and friends (the barber and the priest) are to no avail. Quixote leaves for a second adventure, this time bringing a squire with him, a commoner named Sancho Panza.
Quixote's delusions get him into serious trouble with the law and the church. He baffles strangers with his ability to alternate between states of lucid sanity and its exact opposite.
Dulcinea del Toboso (Aldonza Lorenzo)
Aldonza Lorenzo is a common woman who lives in the town of Toboso. Don Quixote sees here and decides to call her Dulcinea del Toboso. Dulcinea means "sweetness" and Don Quixote imagines Dulcinea to be his Lady. Quixote defends her honor, though she never appears in the novel.
The priest-one of Quixote's friends, the priest does not behave as one would expect, considering his ecclesiastical vocation. The priest regulates the book-burning early in Book I, but he saves as many books as he can. The priest organizes the successful conspiracy to get Quixote back home to La Mancha. When Quixote is on the verge of being arrested by an officer of the Holy Brotherhood, the priest defends Quixote, attesting to the gentleman's insanity.
Sancho is Don Quixote's squire, having left his wife and daughter at home in the hopes of becoming Governor of an island. A common peasant, Panza seeks fortune so that his daughter can marry a nobleman. Sancho has a lot of common sense but he consistently defers to his master and assents to dangerous schemes. As squire, Sancho becomes sincerely attached to Quixote and he looks out for the knight as well as he can. At the end of Book I, Sancho is saddened to see Quixote imprisoned in the cage. Sancho, alone, tries to convince Quixote that the cage is not an enchantment. Alone, Sancho is unable to sway Quixote's opinion.
Cardenio ("The Ragged Knight of the Sorry Countenance")
a young man whose heart is broken when his lover, Lucinda, marries Don Fernando. He and Dorotea apprehend Don Fernando at the inn, late in Book I. Cardenio ends up with Lucinda in the end.
Dorotea ("The Princess Micomicona")
a woman who has been deceived by Don Fernando. Don Fernando promised to marry Dorotea but he married Lucinda instead. Disgraced, Dorotea leaves her village disguised in men's clothing. She conspires with Cardenio to hunt down Don Fernando, and she also helps the priest and barber bring Don Quixote home. She pretends to be the Princess Micomicona, winning Quixote's promise to slay a giant so that she might regain her kingdom. With the Princess' help, the priest is able to get Quixote under his control.
Don Quixote's niece
she lives with Quixote and is concerned for his safety. She helps to hide the fact that Quixote's books have been burned.
Don Quixote's housekeeper
a woman eager to burn Quixote's books of chivalry in hopes of preventing the gentleman
Rocinante (sometimes spelled Rocinante)
Don Quixote's old horse.
the innkeeper performs a ceremony to knight Quixote. He also advises the knight to return home for money and clean shirts to carry on the road.
a young laborer who is beaten by his master, John Haldudo the Rich. Quixote intervenes but only makes matters worse.
John Haldudo the Rich
a wealthy man, while beating his servant-boy, he is apprehended by Quixote.
one of Quixote's friends, he is basically the priest's sidekick, participating in the efforts to safeguard Quixote from knight-errantry.
the sage accused by Quixote's niece of stealing Quixote's library.
the "sage enchanter" who figures as Quixote's arch-nemesis. Quixote accuses Friston of stealing his library and robbing him of a victory by transforming giants into windmills just as Quixote was on the verge of victory against them.
Sancho's wife is called Teresa at the beginning of Book I, but at the end she is called Juana. In Book II, she is called Teresa.
Sancho's donkey. Whether or not Dapple is kidnapped by Gines de Pasamonte remains a point of contention.
"The valiant Biscainer"
he battles Quixote, wounding the knight in the ear, though he loses the battle to Don Quixote
a goatherd and friend of Chrysostom and Peter. He composes ballads and love songs.
a goatherd who brings the news of Chrysostom's death.
a young shepherd who has died, heartbroken because of his unrequited love for Marcela.
an incredibly beautiful shepherdess who comes from a wealthy family. She refuses to be married or courted and lives in the wild, hoping to avoid the advances of men. She gives a rational defense of her character at Chrysostom's funeral.
a random traveler who attends Chrysostom's funeral, accompanying Don Quixote, Sancho Panza, and the goatherds.
a friend of Chrysostom who officiates at the funeral service.
horse breeders who pelt Rocinante with stones when he attempts to mate with one of their fillies. They also attack Don Quixote and Sancho Panza.
Quixote enters patronizes this innkeeper in Chapter 16 and again in Chapter 32. The innkeeper involves himself in the squabbles, arguments and concerns of his patrons. Quixote believes that this inn is a castle and that Innkeeper #2 is the lord of the castle.
Innkeeper #2's daughter
a beautiful young woman who Quixote believes to be a princess. Quixote suspects that she is romantically interested in him.
the hunchbacked and half-blind servant woman who works at Inn #2.
The mule carrier
Maritornes' lover. He attacks Quixote when Quixote embraces Maritornes, perceiving her to be a beautiful princess.
Holy Brotherhood Officer #1
Lodging at Inn #2, he hears the fight between the carrier, Maritornes, Innkeeper #2, Sancho and Don Quixote. He surveys the scene and initially suspects that Don Quixote has died from his injuries.
"a furious pagan" who rides on horseback in the battle scene that Quixote imagines, though the pagan soldiers are actually sheep.
one of the mourners whose "walking lights" frighten Don Quixote. After Quixote attacks one of the mourners, Alonso Lopez explains that they are only mourners, not devils.
not Quixote's barber friend. "A man on horseback, who had on his head something which glittered, as if it had been of gold," he is, in fact, wearing a basin on his head because it is raining and he is on his way to work. Quixote attacks this barber and steals the basin. Quixote believes it to be "the helmet of Mambrino."
a chain-gang of violent criminals who are on their way to execution when Quixote perceives their distress and helps them escape. When Don Quixote suggests that the galley-slaves present themselves to Dulcinea, the criminals beat the knight merciless and then escape in different directions.
Gines de Pasamonte
one of the most violently ungrateful of the galley-slaves, he steals Dapple in the Sierra Morena. A few chapters later, Dapple reappears. This discrepancy is discussed in Book II, though it is not convincingly resolved.
a woman who Cardenio hoped to marry. She instead marries Cardenio's friend, Don Fernando, who is the son of a Duke. Lucinda marries Don Fernando to appease her parents but she truly loves Cardenio. Lucinda and Cardenio are reunited late in Book I.
he betrays his friend, Cardenio, by marrying Cardenio's lover, Lucinda. Don Fernando has also taken Dorotea's virginity, only to break his promise to marry her. Late in the novel, Don Fernando is reunited with Dorotea and he vows to keep his promise to her. Don Fernando is the brother of Don Pedro de Aguilar.
Tinacrio the Wise and Queen Xaramilla
father and mother of the Princess Micomicona.
a man from Leon who was a prisoner of war, held in Algiers. He escaped with the help of a beautiful woman, Lela Zoraida, whom he plans to marry (once she has been baptized). "The captive" is the brother of a judge, Licentiate Juan Perez de Viedma, who arrives at Inn #2 with his daughter, Doña Clara.
a beautiful woman who helps "the captive" escape from an Algiers prison. She leaves her father, her religion, and her country seeking baptism in Spain and a happy marriage with "the captive."
Don Pedro de Aguilar
one of the captive's comrades, he is the long-lost brother of Don Fernando.
Licentiate Juan Perez de Viedma
a judge from Leon, he is the father of Doña Clara and the brother of the captive. The priest reunites the two brothers.
the beautiful daughter of Licentiate Juan Perez de Viedma, she is in love with a young man, Don Louis, who has followed her to the inn.
a neighbor of the Viedma family, he is in love with Doña Clara. He asks the judge for permission to marry Clara.
Holy Brotherhood Officer #2
near the end of the novel, he intends to take Quixote into custody for "setting at liberty" a group of "galley-slaves." The priest dissuades the officer on account of Quixote's insanity.
a religious figure who appears near the end of the novel. He once tried to write a tale of chivalry though he now condemns this literary art form. In conversation with Quixote, the canon marvels at the knight's easy ramblings between lucid intellectualism and ridiculous foolishness.
a goatherd who gets in a fist-fight with Don Quixote, not long after the knight is (temporarily) released from his cage.
the titular character of a story called "The Novel of the Curious Impertinent." The priest reads this story, which has been hidden in a trunk, in chapters 33-35. Anselmo is married to Camilla. To test Camilla's fidelity, Anselmo forces his friend, Lothario, to seduce Camilla. Anselmo regrets this foolish idea once Lothario and Camilla commence an affair. Anselmo dies of grief.
a character in "The Novel of the Curious Impertinent," Camilla is the wife of Anselmo. Anselmo forces Camilla into Lothario's arms.
Anselmo's best friend in "The Novel of the Curious Impertinent." To test Camilla's fidelity, Anselmo forces his friend, Lothario, to seduce Camilla. Lothario accidentally falls in love with Camilla and they begin an affair. Their romance blossoms as Anselmo dies of grief.
Camilla's servant and confidante in "The Novel of the Curious Impertinent." Leonela helps Camilla keep her affair secret. Meanwhile, Leonela has an affair of her own.
for a time, Lothario suspects that Leonela's lover, who he has seen leaving the house early in the morning, is competition (Camilla's other lover).
Don Quixote Book I Questions and Answers
The Question and Answer section for Don Quixote Book I is a great
resource to ask questions, find answers, and discuss the novel.
Delusion is another major thematic concern of the novel. The books of chivalry have left Don Quixote incapable of seeing "reality." Many of Quixote's deluded interpretations are rather ironic. Perhaps Quixote is merely innocent and naïve when he...