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|Dulcinea del Toboso|
|Don Quixote character|
Dulcinea (1957), sculpture by F. Coullaut-Valera, in Madrid (Spain).
|Created by||Miguel de Cervantes|
"Dulcinea del Toboso" (real name Aldonza Lorenzo) is a fictional character who is referred to (but does not appear) in Miguel de Cervantes' novel Don Quixote. Seeking the traditions of the knights-errant of old, Don Quixote finds a true love whom he calls Dulcinea. She is a simple peasant in his home town, but Quixote imagines her to be the most beautiful of all women. At times, Quixote goes into detail about her appearance, though he freely admits that he has seen her only fleetingly and has never spoken with her.
Don Quixote describes her appearance in the following terms: "... her name is Dulcinea, her country El Toboso, a village of La Mancha, her rank must be at least that of a princess, since she is my queen and lady, and her beauty superhuman, since all the impossible and fanciful attributes of beauty which the poets apply to their ladies are verified in her; for her hairs are gold, her forehead Elysian fields, her eyebrows rainbows, her eyes suns, her cheeks roses, her lips coral, her teeth pearls, her neck alabaster, her bosom marble, her hands ivory, her fairness snow, and what modesty conceals from sight such, I think and imagine, as rational reflection can only extol, not compare." [Volume 1/Chapter XIII]
However, Sancho Panza, Don Quixote's squire, knows Dulcinea well. Her real name is Aldonza Lorenzo, and Sancho describes her as follows: "… I can tell you that she pitches a bar as well as the strongest lad in the whole village… She's a brawny girl, well built and tall and sturdy, and she will know how to keep her chin out of the mud with any knight errant who ever has her for his mistress. O the wench, what muscles she's got, and what a pair of lungs! I remember the day she went up the village belfry to call in some of their lads who were working in a fallow field of her father's, and they could hear her plainly as if they had been at the foot of the tower, although they were nearly two miles away. There's a good deal of the court-lady about her too, for she has a crack with everybody, and makes a joke and a mock of them all." [Volume 1/Chapter XXV]
In the Spanish of the time, Dulcinea means something akin to an overly elegant "sweetness". In this way, Dulcinea is an entirely fictional person for whom Quixote relentlessly fights. To this day, a reference to someone as one's "Dulcinea" implies hopeless devotion and love for her, and particularly unrequited love.
She does appear in many stage and film adaptations of the book. In cinema and on stage, she has been played by (among others) Sophia Loren, Joan Diener, Rosemary Leach, Hollis Resnik, and Vanessa Williams. In the Broadway musical Man of La Mancha, she is a self-described whore. Her given name is Aldonza, and a prominent arc of the musical follows her distrust and then fervent belief in Don Quixote's quest. She begins as someone who has no self-worth, Aldonza, and through Quixote's belief in her, she begins to believe in herself as someone of great worth and takes on the name Dulcinea. In the stage version (but not in the 1972 film), the local priest sings a song called "To Each His Dulcinea", in which he reflects that although Dulcinea does not exist, the idea of her is what keeps Don Quixote alive and on his quest.
In popular culture 
- A Scottish Terrier named Dulcinea is a scene-stealer in the Spanglish book Yo-Yo Boing! by Puerto Rican novelist Giannina Braschi; early in her career, decades prior to creating this canine heroine, the author wrote a critical essay on the novel Don Quixote entitled "Cinco personajes fugaces en el camino de Don Quijote". (ISBN 0935480978)
- "Dulcinea" is the title of the third song from the post-metal band Isis's album In the Absence of Truth.
- "Dulcinea" is a song on the 2008 album Zerre by Turkish rock band Replikas.
- "La Dulcinea" is a song on the 1993 album Pain Makes You Beautiful by alternative rock band The Judybats.
- Dulcinea is the 1994 album of alternative rock band Toad the Wet Sprocket.
- "Dulcinea" is the second track in the EP The Penance and the Patience by Australian band Closure In Moscow.
- Dulcinea appears in the Japanese series Zukkoke Knight - Don De La Mancha. Her real name is Fedora (in the English dub). She is daughter of the bandit king, Poormouth. Her role is to help her bankrupt father by stealing, but she fails almost every time. She fools Don Quixote into helping her. She is voiced by Mami Koyama.
- In Episode 13 of Season 4 of the TV show Heroes, Hiro Nakamura, who has had his memory erased and can only remember science fiction and popular culture references, defends a woman from a mugger and then calls her his Dulcinea.
- Dulcinea is referenced frequently in the TV series Ally McBeal.
- Dulcinea is referenced in the science fiction TV series Quantum Leap when Sam Beckett leaps into the understudy of an actor that plays Don Quixote.
- In the ballet by Marius Petipa she appears in the dream scene and is portrayed by same dancer as Kitri, the female lead.
Dulcineo is old name of town of Ulcinj in Montenegro where Cervantes was held for ransom==Notes==