60 Don Quixote Quotes From the Epic Novel

These Don Quixote quotes reveal what the character believed about love, life, and being virtuous.

The Ingenious Gentleman Don Quixote of La Mancha is a Spanish novel by Miguel de Cervantes.

The novel, also referred to as Don Quixote, is often hailed as “the best literary work ever written.”

The story was originally published in two parts and is the second most translated book in the world.

What is the main plot of Don Quixote?

Alonso Quixano, a noble from La Mancha, spends so much of his time reading romances he loses his mind.

He sets off on a quest to restore chivalry by becoming a knight-errant.

He enlists the help of a farmer, Sancho Panza, who acts as his squire.

What does it mean if someone calls you a “Don Quixote?”

The story is filled with Don Quixote’s old-fashioned and rhetorical monologues.

He attempts to change the things he perceives as wrong with the world in a way that is silly, and not at all practical.

In part one of the book, he is incapable of seeing the world how it really is and imagines himself living out the adventures of a knight.

In fact, when it was first published, the book was viewed as more of a comic novel.

Some of these Don Quixote quotes are quite funny!

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Famous Don Quixote quotes about life and love

1. “Until death it is all life.” ― Miguel de Cervantes Saavedra, Don Quixote

2. “I have never died all my life.” ― Miguel de Cervantes Saavedra, Don Quixote

3. “Where there’s music there can be no evil.” ― Miguel de Cervantes Saavedra, Don Quixote

4. “Wit and humor do not reside in slow minds.” ― Miguel de Cervantes Saavedra, Don Quixote

5. “For hope is always born at the same time as love…” ― Miguel de Cervantes Saavedra, Don Quixote

6. “What man can pretend to know the riddle of a woman’s mind?” ― Miguel de Cervantes Saavedra, Don Quixote

7. “Virtue is persecuted by the wicked more than it is loved by the good.” ― Miguel de Cervantes Saavedra, Don Quixote

8. “The wounds received in battle bestow honor, they do not take it away.” ― Miguel de Cervantes Saavedra, Don Quixote

9. “Where envy reigns virtue can’t exist, and generosity doesn’t go with meanness.” ― Miguel de Cervantes Saavedra, Don Quixote

10. “He is most blessed who loves the most, the freest who is most enslaved by love.” ― Miguel de Cervantes Saavedra, Don Quixote

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Don Quixote quotes and phrases about virtues and good and evil

11. “There were no embraces because where there is great love there is often little display of it.” ― Miguel de Cervantes Saavedra, Don Quixote

12. “There is a remedy for all things but death, which will be sure to lay us out flat some time or other.” ― Miguel de Cervantes Saavedra, Don Quixote

13. “Too much sanity may be madness — and maddest of all: to see life as it is, and not as it should be!” ― Miguel de Cervantes Saavedra, Don Quixote

14. “The truth may be stretched thin, but it never breaks, and it always surfaces above lies, as oil floats on water.” ― Miguel de Cervantes Saavedra, Don Quixote

15. “Take my advice and live for a long, long time. Because the maddest thing a man can do in this life is to let himself die.” ― Miguel de Cervantes Saavedra, Don Quixote

16. “The knight’s sole responsibility is to succor them as people in need, having eyes only for their sufferings, not for their misdeeds.” ― Miguel de Cervantes Saavedra, Don Quixote

17. “For neither good nor evil can last forever; and so it follows that as evil has lasted a long time, good must now be close at hand.” ― Miguel de Cervantes Saavedra, Don Quixote

18. “If I preserve my purity in the society of the trees, why should he who would have me preserve it among men, seek to rob me of it?” ― Miguel de Cervantes Saavedra, Don Quixote

19. “When life itself seems lunatic, who knows where madness lies? Perhaps to be too practical is madness. To surrender dreams — this may be madness. Too much sanity may be madness — and maddest of all: to see life as it is, and not as it should be!” ― Miguel de Cervantes Saavedra, Don Quixote

20. “It’s up to brave hearts, sir, to be patient when things are going badly, as well as being happy when they’re going well … For I’ve heard that what they call fortune is a flighty woman who drinks too much, and, what’s more, she’s blind, so she can’t see what she’s doing, and she doesn’t know who she’s knocking over or who she’s raising up.” ― Miguel de Cervantes Saavedra, Don Quixote

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Don Quixote quotes about wise men and fools

21. “What intelligent things you say sometimes! One would think you had studied.” ― Miguel de Cervantes Saavedra, Don Quixote

22. “The praise of the wise few is more important than the mockery of the foolish many.” ― Miguel de Cervantes Saavedra, Don Quixote

23. “There is no recollection which time does not put an end to, and no pain which death does not remove.” ― Miguel de Cervantes Saavedra, Don Quixote

24. “She wanted, with her fickleness, to make my destruction constant; I want, by trying to destroy myself, to satisfy her desire.” ― Miguel de Cervantes Saavedra, Don Quixote

25. “The most perceptive character in a play is the fool because the man who wishes to seem simple cannot possibly be a simpleton.” ― Miguel de Cervantes Saavedra, Don Quixote

26. “Without intelligence, there can be no humour.” ― Miguel de Cervantes Saavedra, Don Quixote

27. “So it isn’t the masses who are to blame for demanding rubbish, but rather those who aren’t capable of providing them with anything else.” ― Miguel de Cervantes Saavedra, Don Quixote

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Don Quixote quotes about reading, writing, poetry, and destiny

28. “It is one thing to write as a poet and another to write as a historian.” ― Miguel de Cervantes Saavedra, Don Quixote

29. “There is no book so bad…that it does not have something good in it.” ― Miguel de Cervantes Saavedra, Don Quixote

30. “Destiny guides our fortunes more favorably than we could have expected.” ― Miguel de Cervantes Saavedra, Don Quixote

31. “What is more dangerous than to become a poet? Which is, as some say, an incurable and infectious disease.” ― Miguel de Cervantes Saavedra, Don Quixote

32. “Truly I was born to be an example of misfortune, and a target at which the arrows of adversary are aimed.”― Miguel de Cervantes Saavedra, Don Quixote

33. “Finally, from so little sleeping and so much reading, his brain dried up, and he went completely out of his mind.” ― Miguel de Cervantes Saavedra, Don Quixote

Don Quixote quotes to live by

34. “Thou hast seen nothing yet.” ― Miguel de Cervantes Saavedra, Don Quixote

35. “Hunger is the best sauce in the world.” ― Miguel de Cervantes Saavedra, Don Quixote

36. “Perhaps to be too practical is madness.” ― Miguel de Cervantes Saavedra, Don Quixote

37. “To surrender dreams — this may be madness.” ― Miguel de Cervantes Saavedra, Don Quixote

38. “A tooth is much more to be prized than a diamond.” ― Miguel de Cervantes Saavedra, Don Quixote

39. “To dream the impossible dream, that is my quest.” ― Miguel de Cervantes Saavedra, Don Quixote

40. “Never look for birds of this year in the nests of the last.” ― Miguel de Cervantes Saavedra, Don Quixote

41. “Those who’ll play with cats must expect to be scratched.” ― Miguel de Cervantes Saavedra, Don Quixote

42. “Time has more power to undo and change things than the human will.” ― Miguel de Cervantes Saavedra, Don Quixote

43. “A bad year and a bad month to all the backbiting bitches in the world!” ― Miguel de Cervantes Saavedra, Don Quixote

44. “One man is no more than another if he do no more than what another does.” ― Miguel de Cervantes Saavedra, Don Quixote

45. “Make it thy business to know thyself, which is the most difficult lesson in the world.” ― Miguel de Cervantes Saavedra, Don Quixote

46. “He who’s down one day can be up the next unless he really wants to stay in bed, that is.” ― Miguel de Cervantes Saavedra, Don Quixote

47. “It is a true saying that a man must eat a peck of salt with his friend before he knows him.” ― Miguel de Cervantes Saavedra, Don Quixote

48. “There is a time for some things, and a time for all things; a time for great things, and a time for small things.” ― Miguel de Cervantes Saavedra, Don Quixote

49. “The fault lies not with the mob who demands nonsense, but with those who do not know how to produce anything else.” ― Miguel de Cervantes Saavedra, Don Quixote

50. “I’ve always heard the old folks say that if you don’t know how to enjoy good luck when it comes, you shouldn’t complain if it passes you by.” ― Miguel de Cervantes Saavedra, Don Quixote

Don Quixote quotes to give you courage

51. “Think before thou speakest.” Miguel de Cervantes

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52. “My honor is dearer to me than my life.” Miguel de Cervantes

53. “Take away the motive, and you take away the sin.” Miguel de Cervantes

54. “Fear has many eyes and can see things underground.” Miguel de Cervantes

55. “The worst reconciliation is better than the best divorce.” Miguel de Cervantes

56. “All persons are not discreet enough to know how to take things by the right handle.” Miguel de Cervantes

57. “I have always heard, Sancho, that doing good to base fellows is like throwing water into the sea.” Miguel de Cervantes

58. “To withdraw is not to run away, and to stay is no wise action, when there’s more reason to fear than to hope.” Miguel de Cervantes

59. “But do not give it to a lawyer’s clerk to write, for they use a legal hand that Satan himself will not understand.” Miguel de Cervantes

60. “The phoenix hope, can wing her way through the desert skies, and still defying fortune’s spite; revive from ashes and rise.” Miguel de Cervantes

Which of these Don Quixote quotes is your favorite?

The book is not only a work of literary genius that is an enjoyable read, it has also had a tremendous influence on other literary works.

Alexandre Dumas references it directly in The Three Musketeers, which was published over 200 years later.

It is also referenced in Mark Twain’s Adventures of Huckleberry Finn and Edmond Rostand’s Cyrano de Bergerac.

Those novels are epic stories in their own right!

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The story is so popular that there is now something known as the Don Quixote Effect.

This is what happens when “your thoughts, your feelings, and your actions are inappropriate in the current situation.”

It’s like The Bare Naked Ladies lyric, “Can’t understand why I laugh at a funeral, well you soon will.”

Have you experienced the Don Quixote Effect?

The closest I have come is when I smile out of nervousness when bad things are happening.

It makes no sense!

Share your experiences, or any other favorite Don Quixote quotes and lines in the comment section below.

Danielle is the Managing Editor for EverydayPower.com. She has a Master's in Management and Leadership and is also a Life Coach. These skills, coupled with her background, both professional and personal, help her write on a variety of topics. This content is centered on team and self-development, trauma, motivation, and other inspirational messages. She lives in Montana with her husband and two children. When not writing she can found reading, cooking, and helping others overcome obstacles in their daily lives.
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  1. Ley

    October 8, 2021 at 12:35 AM

    Danielle thank you for your article! These quotes provide insight to the human nature. I’m copying (stealing) a few to memorize. They really make you think in a way we’ve forgotten today. I came here while researching the word quixotic. My experience is trying to decide whether or not to contact an old love that I’d like to renew a friendship with. I think the term describes my predicament perfectly with positive and negative connotations.

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