Study Guide

The Curate in Don Quixote

By Miguel de Cervantes Saavedra

The Curate

The curate is a local clergyman who lives in Don Quixote's village. For Part 1 of the book, he is really the only close friend of Don Quixote who is just as educated as Quixote himself. Being a religious man who values God above all else, the curate bears a grudge against adventure books about knights because he doesn't want people worshipping false idols.

The curate's dislike for these types of books only grows when he realizes that they are to blame for Don Quixote's crazy rampages through the countryside. He dislikes these books so much that he even says, "I think I should burn my own father along with them, if I met him in the disguise of a knight-errant" (1.1.6.2). Those are fighting words, curate.

The curate also has a lot of respect for his own position as a religious man. For example, he originally hatches a plan to dress up as a woman and lure Don Quixote into an adventure that'll bring him back home. On second thought, of course, "being apprehensive of the indecency of the [womanly] disguise in a priest" (1.3.13.2), the curate changes his mind and tells the barber that he'll have to be the one to put on women's clothes. Frankly, we're surprised the curate thought of it at all.

For all of this, the curate isn't a bad dude. He just wants Don Quixote to be well. We see his kind side come out when he tries to help others, like when he first meets Dorotea in the mountains and he says he has "a real desire to serve you, and either to console or assuage your grief" (1.4.1.1.). Now the cynics among us could argue that the curate is just a sucker for a pretty face. But he offers just as much help when he hears Cardenio tell his story, too, so he seems to honestly want what's best for everyone, even though the definition of "what's best" is often on his terms.