Summary and Analysis Part 1: Chapter II



Attired now to his satisfaction, Don Quixote sets out for his first adventure. He travels all day until he comes to an inn at dusk. Disappointed at having found no adventure at all, he pleases himself by considering the inn a great castle with buttresses, moat, and lofty pinnacles. The innkeeper has no food for his strange guest other than salt fish (it is Friday) and moldy bread, but the Don's madness turns his repast into delicate trout and most excellent bread. The two prostitutes who wait on him are lovely damsels in his fancied world, and he addresses them as great ladies. The wenches help the knight undo his armor, but he does not allow them to cut the green ribbons that secure the headpiece. Despite their help, Don Quixote has great difficulty in eating and drinking with his helmet on; he is also obliged to sleep with it on.


Regarding the inn as a castle and the prostitutes as highborn maidens, Don Quixote embraces his first adventure. Again his will conquers the everyday situation, for the innkeeper is forced to respond to his strange guest as a castellan must respond when receiving a knight-errant. And the two strumpets administer to Don Quixote with as much consideration and kindness as if they really were courteous ladies of quality. The realistic author writes the chapter so that the reader is amused at the knight's extravagance. Despite the burlesque, despite the objectivity of Cervantes, Don Quixote transforms the scene until even the reader can believe that the inn is a castle, and the wenches are highborn maidens. The innkeeper is even glad to allow his guest to depart without paying for his lodging, just as if he were a castellan entertaining a knight.