Summary and Analysis Part 2: Chapter I



The curate and the barber allow Don Quixote a month of complete retirement before they pay him a visit. Curious to see whether he is truly cured, they soon begin to converse about knight-errantry. The barber is now certain that Don Quixote is as crazy as ever and tells a story about a madman in a Seville institution who convinced everyone that he was cured until he declared that he was Neptune. Despite the dull barber's expectations, the knight understands the story and is offended. "Ah, Master Shaver, Master Shaver, only the blind cannot see through a sieve," he says. "I am not Neptune; neither do I pretend to set up for a wise man when I am not so. All I aim at, is only to make the world sensible how much they are to blame, in not laboring to revive those most happy times, in which the order of knight-errantry was in its full glory." The three of them now get involved in another of those discussions with the knight once more defending the truth of everything contained in books of chivalry.


The serious tone of Part Two is immediately apparent as the barber relates the story of the lunatic in the madhouse. Master Nicholas is shown to be gross and dull of understanding to consider Don Quixote too withdrawn from the real world to comprehend his story. The knight, on the other hand, must now realize that the common people of the world will make fun of him because they think he is too dull-witted to understand. As Part Two progresses, Don Quixote develops more and more as the tragic hero in a world of fools, with Cervantes leading his protagonist, not through a career of drubbings and burlesque, but through incidents of psychological complexity and opportunities for character development.