"I depict her in my imagination as I wish her to be"

 

Statue of Aldonza Lorenzo at the Plaza de España, Madrid (Federico Coullaut-Valera, 1956-57)
Public DomainStatue of Aldonza Lorenzo at the Plaza de España, Madrid (Federico Coullaut-Valera, 1956-57) - Credit: Zaqarbal
Statue of Dulcinea del Toboso at the Plaza de España, Madrid (Federico Coullaut-Valera, 1956-57)
Public DomainStatue of Dulcinea del Toboso at the Plaza de España, Madrid (Federico Coullaut-Valera, 1956-57) - Credit: Zaqarbal

   An equally central figure to the knight errant in chivalric romances was the idealised damsel for whose love he would pine, and in whose name he would fight.  Don Quixote fulfils this requirement by using local farm-girl Aldonza Lorenzo as the template for his immaculate, noble lady-love 'Dulcinea del Toboso'.  Cervantes highlights the self-serving falsehood of such sexual idealisation by ensuring that the real woman behind these saccharine illusions never once appears in the book - Quixote dedicates extravagant praise and frequent acts of violence to the fictitious name of a 'lover' he has never even spoken to.  

 

                           

       The character depicted by Sophia Loren in the sentimental stage adaptation 'Man of La Mancha'