Study Help Essay Topics and Review Questions


1. What is the function of the invention of Cid Hamet Benengali?

2. Why does Don Quixote undergo penance and voluntarily become insane?

3. What is the significance of Sancho's self-lashing?

4. What is the significance of Dulcinea del Toboso?

5. What is the relationship between the intercalated novel of "The Curious Impertinent" and the main body of Don Quixote?

6. What qualities does Cervantes consider most important in literary art?

7. Discuss the types of comedy that Cervantes uses.

8. In your own words, discuss the nature of quixotism.

9. Give examples to show how Sancho unsuccessfully imitates Don Quixote.

10. How does Sancho become quixotized?

11. Describe Sancho's great dilemma in terms of his greed versus his ideals, or in terms of any opposing pair of words you choose.

12. Why does Don Quixote fight with the lion?

13. Consider whether you prefer Part I or Part II and why?

14. How is Dorothea related to her role of Princess Micomicona?

15. What is the function of characters like Don Diego de Miranda, Antonia Quixana, and the scolding priest at the duke's castle?

16. Describe the qualities of Alonso Quixano that remain part of Don Quixote.

17. Why does the barber tell the story of the Seville lunatic? What does this show about the barber? About Don Quixote?

18. Discuss the importance of reading books in the lives of the following characters: Don Quixote, Cardenio, Marcella, the New Arcadians, the curate and the barber, and the innkeeper.

19. Discuss Samson Carrasco's character to indicate (or deny) that he is a "false Quixote."

20. Critics point to Cervantes' free-thinking religious ideas as shown in the Don's Adventure with the Penitents, his mistreatment of clergymen. Can you refute this notion by showing examples of Cervantes' religious orthodoxy?

21. Discuss some differences in Cervantes' treatment of Part I and Part II.

22. How is the cave used as a symbolic device in Don Quixote?

23. Discuss, if you are familiar with Shakespeare's plays, some qualities or episodes or characters that the art of Cervantes and the art of Shakespeare have in common.

24. Aubrey Bell writes that Don Quixote should be read at least three times in the course of a lifetime: in youth, maturity, and old age. Discuss the appeal of the novel to each of the periods.

25. Why does Cervantes write: "For me alone was the great Quixote born, and I alone for him. Deeds were his task, and to record them mine, and we two, like tallies for each other struck, are nothing when apart." Discuss this in your own words.

26. Don Quixote has affected the work of many artists of all nations. Discuss a novel you are familiar with by relating it, or its hero, to Don Quixote. Suggestions: Dostoevsky's Idiot, Flaubert's Madame Bovary, Melville's Moby-Dick, Fielding's Joseph Andrews, Bellow's Adventures of Augie March.