Study Guide

Don Quixote Part 1, Book 2 (Chapters 1-6)

By Miguel de Cervantes Saavedra

Part 1, Book 2 (Chapters 1-6)

Part 1, Book 2, Chapter 1

  • At this point in the novel, the original narrator stops talking and says that he'll draw the rest of Don Quixote's story from a historian named Cid Hamet Benengeli.
  • With that said, we return to the thrilling conclusion of Don Quixote's battle with the Biscainer. 
  • The fight honestly doesn't last more than a page. By some minor miracle, Don Quixote actually manages to win the battle. This gives Sancho Panza the thought that maybe his master is the real deal, after all.

Part 1, Book 2, Chapter 2

  • While Don Quixote has been fighting the Biscainer, Sancho Panza has been getting manhandled and stomped on by the two monks that were travelling with the caravan. 
  • When the men stop, Sancho runs back to Don Quixote and kisses his hand, begging to have his island soon. Don Quixote, though, tells him that they'll have to do more than fight with people on the road if they want to get him that island. 
  • After what has happened, Sancho also thinks it might be a good idea to lie low, since the cops will probably be after them for attacking the monks and their caravan for no apparent reason.
  • Sancho also wants to know how they're going to deal with their injuries, since both are hurt. Don Quixote says he plans on making a special potion called "balsam of fierabras," which he says can cure any affliction (including broken bones) with a single drop.
  • Sancho wants to know when it'll be time to eat, but Don Quixote assures him that knights and their squires can often go days without food, at least according to the books he's read. Sancho says he can't read or write and isn't interested in what books say. He just wants to fill an empty stomach. 
  • Don Quixote and Sancho look for a place to rest for the night and see some goatherds (you guessed it: shepherds who herd goats) hanging out nearby. They decide to approach these guys for a place to spend the night. Sancho would rather spend the night in a nice inn, but whatever.

Part 1, Book 2, Chapter 3

  • The goatherds offer Don Quixote and Sancho some nice meat fresh from a pot, which makes Sancho very happy. 
  • As they sit down, Don Quixote starts getting all nostalgic about the good ol' days when shepherds and shepherdesses just lived in harmony with nature (yeah, people got nostalgic in the 1600s, too).
  • The goatherds don't really know what to make of Don Quixote's appearance and the way he talks, but they listen politely. When he's finished, the goatherds suggest that they all listen to one of their people play an instrument called the rebec and sing a song. 
  • A young man steps forward and plays a nice little ditty about love. When he's done, Don Quixote wants to hear another, but Sancho just wants to sleep.
  • Before Sancho goes off to bed, Don Quixote asks him to patch up a wound on his ear that is left over from his last sword fight. One of the goatherds tells Sancho not to bother, and prepares a nice little ointment that immediately makes Don Quixote's ear feel better.

Part 1, Book 2, Chapter 4

  • While Don Quixote is hanging out with the goatherds, a young man approaches them and says that a well-liked shepherd named Chrysostom has died. They say he died of a broken heart because a beautiful woman named Marcela wouldn't return his love. For this, everyone now hates Marcela and calls her evil. 
  • Now we get a little more backstory on this Chrysostom guy. Apparently, he came from money and went to university (which was an even bigger deal back in the 1600s). But when he was all finished, he decided that all he wanted was to live a peaceful life as a shepherd. 
  • It turns out that this young lady named Marcela also likes to go around acting like a shepherdess, even though she too comes from money. She is basically the most beautiful woman that anyone has ever laid eyes on—but she has no interest in ever being with a man or marrying. So, according to the men's logic, this makes her an evil flirt whose only joy in life is breaking men's hearts. 
  • After hearing this, Don Quixote tells everyone that his Dulcinea is without doubt the most beautiful woman in the world, not this Marcela person. And with that, everyone decides to hit the hay.

Part 1, Book 2, Chapter 5

  • Five of the goatherds wake Don Quixote the next morning and ask him if he's interested in going to the dead "shepherd" Chrysostom's funeral. He agrees and gets ready to go. On the way there, he starts talking with a dude named Vivaldo, who decides that he'd like to have a little fun with Don Quixote. 
  • Vivaldo gets the Don talking about how his job as a knight-errant is more beneficial for the world than a friar's job. The reason for this is because Don Quixote feels that doing is always better than thinking, and knights are the world's doers. They go out and fight and get stuff done, period.
  • The other dude isn't satisfied, though, because he thinks that knights should recommend themselves to heaven instead of to their mistresses. After all, heaven matters more, right? Don Quixote, though, says there's plenty of time for both.
  • At this point, Don Quixote goes on another long and tedious description of his lady Dulcinea's beauty, though we remind you again that he has never actually seen her.
  • As they continue on, Don Quixote and Sancho see more and more shepherds joining the same road on their way to the funeral. They eventually come across the funeral procession itself. Everyone in the procession is just repeating the same story of how Chrysostom died of a broken heart.
  • People start to argue over whether they should bury Chrysostom in a pagan style, as his will requested. Others think that they should give him a proper Christian burial. Chrysostom's best friend, Ambrose, decides to read aloud the last poem that the dead shepherd ever wrote.

Part 1, Book 2, Chapter 6

  • The chapter opens with the last poem or song the dead shepherd Chrysostom ever wrote. Basically, the whole thing is about loving someone who didn't love him back (psssst, it's Marcela he's talking about). 
  • At this point, everyone at the funeral is angry to see that Marcela has shown up. They ask her sarcastically if she has come to dance on Chrysostom's grave. 
  • Marcela, though, isn't going to be bullied around so easily. She explains the whole story from her point of view, which is basically this: she's not interested in being in a relationship with any man. She can't help it that she's a nice, beautiful person. But she definitely doesn't have a responsibility to love a man just because he loves her. It's really just that simple, and anyone who thinks otherwise is being childish. 
  • When she's finished, Marcela turns and disappears into the woods. Some of the men are so struck by her beauty, though, that they actually chase after her, asking if she'll go out with them sometime. Don Quixote orders all of them to stay put... or he'll stab them. So they stay put. 
  • The shepherds bury Chrysostom (finally) and put up a gravestone with a big epitaph on it. The epitaph is all about how evil and unkind Marcela is. But hey, they had the thing made before she gave her little speech, and you can't get your deposit back on a gravestone.
  • Don Quixote, however, decides that he'll track down Marcela and offer her his services as a knight.