Summary and Analysis Part 2: Chapter XI



Don Quixote is so melancholy that Sancho tries to cheer him as they ride along. While speaking of enchantments that change the appearance of familiar persons to ugly creatures, they encounter a cart driven by a devil, whose passengers include Death, a winged angel, and a plumed knight. In response to Don Quixote's challenge, the driver introduces them all as a group of strolling players. Having just enacted a tragedy called the "Parliament of Death" in one town, they have remained costumed for a performance at the next. Don Quixote lets them pass, but the fool of the players, with jingling bells and thumping cow's-bladders, frightens Rosinante so that the horse throws his master. The fool plays the same game with Dapple, who returns to Sancho after having thrown his tormentor. Sancho persuades his master to desist from revenging himself "though they seem to be Kings, Princes, and Emperors, yet there's not so much as one Knight-Errant among them" and Don Quixote yields to the sensible advice.


Don Quixote is so sad at this point, shocked as it were into sanity, that he sees the players for what they are. Sancho reminds him that a true knight cannot challenge sham knights, and the sane Don Quixote agrees to leave "these idle apparitions" and search for more "substantial and honorable adventures." It is interesting to note, however, that Don Quixote, finding so many adventures in commonplace incidents, accepts these costumed actors as unworthy opponents.