Study Guide

Don Quixote Madness

By Miguel de Cervantes Saavedra

Madness

Is Don Quixote actually a madman? Most characters in Don Quixote would definitely say yes, since this dude has all the characteristics of a madman—namely, a crazy set of ideas that lead him to pose a danger to both himself and others. But on the other hand, the values of chivalry aren't the worst values in the world, if you take away the violence part. Things like loyalty, humility, and honor are definitely things the world has always had in short supply. But the real question is whether you're willing to take the bad with the good when it comes to Don Quixote's craziness.

Questions About Madness

  1. Do Don Quixote's actions fit your definition of "insane"? Why or why not?
  2. Why do you think Don Quixote suddenly snaps out of his wacky ideas at the end of the book? Does the text give any evidence for why this happens?
  3. Why is it so hard for people to convince Don Quixote that the knights in his books never existed? Use specific examples from the text to support your answer.
  4. For the most part, do the characters in Don Quixote deal with the Don's madness in a productive way? Why or why not?

Chew on This

In Don Quixote, the madman might actually be the only "sane" person in the text.

Don Quixote ultimately shows us that it's stupid and destructive to get too involved with fictional stories.