Dulcinea del Toboso

Dulcinea del Toboso is a fictional character who is unseen in Miguel de Cervantes' novel Don Quijote. Don Quijote believes he must have a lady, under the mistaken view that chivalry requires it.[1]:117[2] As he does not have one, he invents her, making her the very model of female perfection: "[h]er 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" (Part I, Chapter 13, translation of John Ormsby).

Dulcinea del Toboso
Don Quixote character
Monumento a Cervantes (Madrid) 09.jpg
Dulcinea (1957), sculpture by F. Coullaut-Valera, in Madrid (Spain).
Created byMiguel de Cervantes
In-universe information
ReligionRoman Catholic

Don Quijote is throughout the novel portrayed as both admirable and ridiculous. We soon learn that Dulcinea is based on a "real" woman, the opposite of his fantasy of Dulcinea. Her peasant name is Aldonza Lorenzo. She is as earthy, even vulgar, as Dulcinea is exalted. She raises pigs (Part I, Chapter 9). She is not concerned with her "virtue" and is a country prostitute. Sancho knows this and is enthusiastic about her.[1]

Dulcinea is based on the Spanish word dulce (sweet), and suggests an overly elegant "sweetness". To this day, a reference to someone as one's "Dulcinea" implies idealistic devotion and love for her.[3]

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

Spurious Part II of the workEdit

An unidentified writer using the pseudonym Alonso Fernández de Avellaneda in 1614 published Part II of Don Quijote. In it he says of Dulcinea that she is "a great ______"; the missing word, which he will not utter, is "whore" (puta).

Although support for Avellaneda's view of Dulcinea is found in Part I of Don Quixote, he has little interest in the glorious, imaginary Dulcinea. Scholars commonly say that because of this and many similar misreadings by Avellaneda, which Cervantes found offensive, he was motivated to complete his own unfinished Part II, which was published the following year.


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.[citation needed]

In popular cultureEdit

  • "Dulcinea" is the female lead in the TV series The Adventures of Puss in Boots.
  • "Dulcinea" is referred to in US TV series Ally McBeal as a song her father sings to her as a child. In the final season 5 in episode 10 Ally defends a man who thinks he can fly, and pursued Ally to be his criminal defense lawyer after seeing her in court and thinking she looks like "Dulcinea".
  • Dulcinea is the 2008 album by the band Tremoloco
  • 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 television show, The Expanse.[4]
  • "Dulcinea" is the name of the third track on the album In the Absence of Truth by Isis.
  • Dulcinea is the title of the 1994 album by the American indie band Toad the Wet Sprocket.
  • "Dulcinea" is the name of the second track on The Penance and the Patience EP by Australian rock band Closure in Moscow.
  • French composer Maurice Ravel composed Don Quichotte à Dulcinée, a cycle of three songs for baritone voice and accompaniment, between 1932 and 1933.

See alsoEdit


  • Mancing, Howard (March 2005). "Dulcinea Del Toboso: On the Occasion of Her Four-Hundredth Birthday". Hispania. 88 (1): 53–63. JSTOR 20063075.


  1. ^ a b Eisenberg, Daniel (1987). A Study of "Don Quixote". Juan de la Cuesta. p. 121. ISBN 1588710017.
  2. ^ Eisenberg, Daniel (2004). "La supuesta homosexualidad de Cervantes". Siglos dorados: Homenaje a Agustín Redondo. 1. Madrid: Castalia. pp. 399–410. ISBN 849740100X.
  3. ^ "Dulcinea". oxfordreference.com. Oxford University Press. Retrieved 2020-04-22.
  4. ^ The Expanse (2015), Episode 1, imdb.com; accessed 1 March 2016.