Summary and Analysis
Part 1: Chapter LII
Because it is his obligation to relieve the oppressed, Don Quixote announces he will rescue the damsel from her confinement and return her to the arms of Eugenio. Ungratefully, the goatherd says he is crazy, and they begin to fight. The scuffle is interrupted by the appearance of a procession of penitents carrying a hooded effigy of the Virgin Mary. Assuming that they are abductors detaining a lady against her will, Don Quixote mounts Rosinante and challenges the procession. One of the group is so offended that he strikes the knight and the Don falls motionless to the ground. Sancho's weeping and wailing returns the knight to consciousness, and once more imprisoned in the oxcart, Don Quixote and the rest of the strange procession continue to the home village, where they arrive six days later. Teresa Panza greets her husband affectionately. "Is the ass in good health?" she asks. "Have you brought me a gown or a petticoat? Or shoes for my children?" Sancho answers somewhat quixotically: "Nothing in the 'varsal world is better for an honest man, than to be Squire to a Knight-Errant while he's hunting of adventures."
In this conversation between Sancho and his wife, Cervantes shows his ability to depict the Spanish peasant with sympathy, accurate dialogue, and warm humor. Teresa is characterized as a shrewd and practical wife, characteristics shared by Sancho as well. The husband, however, has changed from his association with Don Quixote and now expresses his inclination to sally forth again as an unpaid squire to his master. Sancho is becoming quixotized.