Dulcinea del Toboso

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For other uses, see Dulcinea (disambiguation).
Dulcinea del Toboso
Don Quixote character
Monumento a Cervantes (Madrid) 09.jpg
Dulcinea (1957), sculpture by F. Coullaut-Valera, in Madrid (Spain).
Created by Miguel de Cervantes
Gender Female
Religion Roman Catholic
Nationality Spanish

"Dulcinea del Toboso" (real name Aldonza Lorenzo) is a fictional character who is unseen 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]

Monument to Don Quixote and Dulcinea, Castilla-La Mancha, Spain.

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.[1] 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.

The Jules Massenet opera Don Quichotte depicts Dulcinée as a major character, the local queen who sends the knight on a quest to retrieve her jewels.

In popular culture[edit]

  • Dulcinea is the 2008 album by the band Tremoloco.[2]
  • 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.[citation needed]
  • "Dulcinea" is the title of the first episode of the Syfy TV show, The Expanse.[3]


  • Howard Mancing: Dulcinea Del Toboso: On the Occasion of Her Four-Hundredth Birthday. Hispania, Vol. 88, No. 1 (Mar., 2005), pp. 53-63 (JSTOR)