Summary and Analysis Part 1: Chapter VII



Don Quixote awakens in a raving fit, and his friends grab hold and force him back into bed. At this, the simple housekeeper is fully convinced that all books are bedeviled. She collects even those volumes that have been reprieved and burns them all. Meanwhile, the barber and the curate are equally fearful for Don Quixote's health. They arrange to have the entrance to his study walled up and instruct the niece and housekeeper to tell the knight that an evil conjurer, mounted on a fiery dragon, has removed not only the books, but the entire library.

The knight accepts the explanation, and while he seems to be recovering his senses, he quietly schemes to continue his profession of chivalry. Sancho Panza comes now into the scene, for Don Quixote manages to convince this poor, honest, and ignorant peasant to serve as his squire. Promising many rewards, especially mentioning that he might conquer some island and make his squire governor of the place, he induces Sancho to steal quietly from the village in the middle of the night in order to outwit possible pursuers.


This chapter also bears another example of the reality of Don Quixote's imaginings. The knight believes that an evil enchanter works constantly for his undoing. His real nemesis, however, is the prosaic unimaginative world, and the individuals of the prosaic world work as tirelessly for his overthrow as if they were hirelings of his evil enemy. The sooner the knight-errant can adventure in the world, then the sooner will evil enchanters, like the ones in the minds of the curate and barber who wall up the library entranceway, be banished.

As soon as possible then, Don Quixote, followed by Sancho Panza, leaves the village. Although the credulous peasant follows his master in hopes of material gain, he is led on by an ideal of glory governor of an island almost as compelling as the ideal of Dulcinea del Toboso. His actual quest, then, is not one of greed, but one of faith. Poor Sancho is destined to struggle with this tension throughout the many adventures that follow.