Study Guide

Don Quixote Part 2 (Chapters 21-30)

By Miguel de Cervantes Saavedra

Part 2 (Chapters 21-30)

Part 2, Book 1, Chapter 21

  • Now it's time for the wedding of Quiteria and Comacho. The two come to get married, but just as things are about to get going, that Basil guy shows up. He says that he can't possibly live without Quiteria, and to show his love, he makes good on his promise of suicide and falls onto a dagger. The dagger goes deep into his chest, and it's clear that there's no saving the guy.
  • As the guy lies dying in front of everybody, he begs Quiteria to do him one last favor and marry him so that his soul can be at peace. You see, if he dies before he can repent to a priest, he won't go to heaven. According to Catholics, people who kill themselves go to limbo instead.
  • Eventually, Quiteria decides that there's no harm in marrying the guy, since she'll be a widow in five minutes and free to marry Comacho. So the two get married.
  • At this point, though, Basil springs back to his feet and pulls his bloody knife away. It turns out that he faked the stab and used fake blood to make it look like he was dying. Now he and Quiteria are married, and there's nothing anyone can do about it. Looks like intelligence beats money, after all.
  • Comacho's goons start walking toward Basil to hurt him, but Don Quixote tells them not to take another step unless they want to be killed. He shakes his lance in the air to show them he means business. And amazingly, they back down.
  • Comacho seems to have a short memory, because only a few seconds later, he invites everyone to stay and to enjoy the feast he has provided. But Don Quixote decides to leave with Basil, which makes Sancho sad to be missing out on all the food.

Part 2, Book 1, Chapter 22

  • Don Quixote tells the group that he'd like to visit Montesinos's Cave, and everyone seems happy enough to oblige him, since it's on the way to where they're all going.
  • During the trip to the caves, Don Quixote gives a speech about how lame it is for people to fill their heads with useless knowledge. In modern terms, we'd refer to this as "trivia" knowledge.
  • When they reach the cave, Don Quixote and company see that it actually descends down into the Earth like a pit. They tie a long rope around Don Quixote's waist and lower him in. After a moment, they start pulling the rope back up and find out that there's no weight on the end of it.
  • Everyone is worried that Don Quixote is going to be lost down in the cave forever. But then, suddenly, they feel his weight on the rope again and pull him out. He seems to be in some sort of daze.
  • When he comes to, Don Quixote claims that he's had really wacky visions down in the cave.

Part 2, Book 1, Chapter 23

  • Don Quixote explains that about forty feet down into the cave, he saw another side-cave in the wall of the pit and swung himself over to it.
  • Don Quixote claims that when he got into this side cave, he was overcome by the desire to sleep, but he suddenly found himself inside the walls of a royal palace. He ran into a person who claimed to be the historical figure Montesinos, after whom the cave is named.
  • Don Quixote and company have this long conversation about events from Spanish history. Basil asks how any this could have happened, since Don Quixote has only been down in the cave for a short while.
  • Don Quixote swears that he was down in the cave for three days, since that's how many times he saw the sun rise and fall.
  • Don Quixote says he also saw someone who looked like Dulcinea riding around on a donkey with two other girls. But when he spoke to her, she turned and rode away. Then this Montesinos guy told him that he would explain how to lift the curse over Dulcinea. But for some reason that Don Quixote can't remember, this conversation ended.
  • Don Quixote says he made a promise to break Dulcinea's curse before he was pulled back up out of the cave.
  • Sancho listens to all this and tells Don Quixote he's totally crazy.

Part 2, Book 1, Chapter 24

  • The narrator of the book takes the opportunity to tell us that he doesn't know what to make of all the weird things Don Quixote saw in Montesinos's Cave, since very little of it seems to have any connection to the plot of this book.
  • Don Quixote and his friends keep riding on. As they go, they're passed by a guy who's dressed very lightly and says that he's riding fast to get a position in the army so he can buy himself some food and new clothes. Don Quixote invites him to dinner as they stop at a nearby inn.
  • None of this seems very important. But hey, that's the chapter.

Part 2, Book 1, Chapter 25

  • Apparently, this young man on his way to the army has an interesting story to tell. So after the horses are tied up, he asks everyone to take a seat—his story might take a while.
  • The story is a weird one. Basically, it starts with a guy from a nearby town who lost his donkey. Later, he found out that his donkey had run off into the woods.
  • So the dude and one of his buddies go to find the donkey. Eventually, one of them hatches a plan: the two of them will split up and make donkey noises (i.e. brays) and wait to see if the donkey calls back to them.
  • So the two of them go around making donkey calls. They're so good at it that they keep coming back to one another, thinking that each one is the donkey. They then decide to make two quick brays to be able to distinguish their own sounds from the donkey's.
  • Eventually, they find the donkey dead and half-eaten by wolves.
  • But one guy takes the opportunity to tell the other that he's extremely good at making donkey sounds, and that it's an impressive talent. The other guy is flattered.
  • The guys go home and tell the story, complimenting one another on their skills. The story spreads, and before long, everyone in the town is doing it.
  • But other neighboring towns get wind of this and decide to make fun of people from this one town by making donkey noises whenever they see them.
  • It turns out that the towns are now willing to go to war over this insult. That's why the kid is bringing a bunch of weapons on his horse with him.
  • At this point, someone comes to the inn looking for a room for "Master Peter and his Fortune-Telling Ape." It sounds like there's a travelling showman coming in, and that he has a monkey that sits on his shoulder and whispers fortunes into his ear.
  • Don Quixote pays a fee and asks the monkey to tell his future. But Master Peter tells him that the monkey doesn't tell the future. It can only tell you stuff that has already happened to you or stuff that is going on in the present.
  • Don Quixote then demands to know what the monkey knows. So the monkey jumps up on Master Peter's shoulder, whispers into his ear, and seconds later, Master Peter tells him that he is Don Quixote de la Mancha and that the person beside him is Sancho Panza. Both Don Quixote and Sancho are amazed that the monkey could know these things.
  • Don Quixote mentions to Sancho that he thinks the monkey might be possessed by the devil. He wants to know if the stuff he saw in Montesinos's Cave really happened to him, but Master Peter tells them they'll have to wait until he puts on a show that evening.
  • Later on, everyone goes into the main room of the inn and sits down for the evening's entertainment.

Part 2, Book 1, Chapter 26

  • A young boy takes the stage and gives an introduction to a puppet show that everyone is about to watch. It's about a noble knight rescuing a princess from a bunch of Moors. As you can imagine, Don Quixote is pretty pleased with the material.
  • As the play continues, though, Don Quixote starts getting worked up and calls out some of the inaccuracies he finds in the play. People tell him to shush, but it's no use.
  • In the play's climactic scene, the Moors are chasing the noble knight and the damsel. Don Quixote, thinking that he'll save the day, jumps up and starts slashing at all of the puppets with his sword, thinking that the puppet show is real.
  • Eventually, people pull him down, and no one is badly hurt. But Don Quixote has to pay a good bit of money for ruining all the puppets and for letting Master Peter's monkey get loose, since the thing ran up to the inn's roof during the commotion.

Part 2, Book 1, Chapter 27

  • It turns out that Master Peter is actually none other than the infamous criminal, Ginés de Passamonte. It turns out that in order to avoid the police, Ginés got himself a new identity as Master Peter and set up a travelling show with his monkey. He makes money by asking questions around towns about people, learning as much as he can about them, and then pretending to have his monkey tell him that info.
  • Now that Cervantes has told us that much, he decides to return to the story of Don Quixote.
  • Don Quixote and Sancho leave the inn on their way to Zaragoza. On the way, though, they run into a big group of people with weapons. It turns out that these people are from the same town that gets made fun of for sounding like donkeys.
  • When Sancho realizes the connection, he tells them that he's a big fan of what they do, and decides to show off his own braying skills. When he starts making the noise, though, the people think he's making fun of them, and they start beating on him.
  • Don Quixote tries to fight the attackers off, but he realizes there are too many for him to do any good. When they're done, they move on. Don Quixote helps Sancho get back on his donkey, and the two of them ride on.

Part 2, Book 1, Chapter 29

  • After taking yet another beating, Sancho decides that it's time to renegotiate his payment with Don Quixote. He demands a modest amount of money, and Don Quixote just hands it to him, since he doesn't care about money one way or the other.

Part 2, Book 1, Chapter 30

  • As Don Quixote and Sancho continue their roaming, they find a small river with a boat floating in it. Looking around, they don't see the boat's owners anywhere. So it looks like it's time for another adventure.
  • Don Quixote thinks that this empty boat has been left for them by a friendly magician, and that it will take them somewhere cool if they just get in it. So, leaving behind their animals, they get in the boat and float along.
  • Soon enough, though, Don Quixote and Sancho realize they're on a collision course with the waterwheel of a nearby mill, which will totally kill them if they float into it. Worse yet, they can't paddle hard enough to get away from it.
  • Luckily, a bunch of workers run out of the mill and reach for the boat with long poles. They manage to stop the boat, but they're so clumsy that they tip it over, throwing Sancho and Don Quixote into the water.
  • Don Quixote almost drowns because of his armor, but the millers jump into the water and save him and Sancho. They all get safely to shore.
  • But then the fishermen who own the boat come along and see that the thing has been destroyed by the mill wheel.
  • Don Quixote says he'll happily pay for the boat if the people from the mill promise to release the poor woman they are holding captive inside. They tell him that there's no woman and that he's crazy.
  • Don Quixote then says, "Oh well" and decides that the woman in the mill will have to wait for some other knight to save her.

Part 2, Book 1, Chapter 30

  • Don Quixote and Sancho return to their horse and donkey dripping with water, and they start riding again.
  • Before long, Don Quixote and Sancho come to a beautiful meadow where they see a rich-looking woman on a horse with a rich-looking man who has a hawk on his arm.
  • Don Quixote and Sancho come up to these people and introduce themselves.
  • The Duke and Duchess (for that's what they are) are excited, because they have both read the book about Don Quixote's previous adventures and know all about him.
  • Sancho is very pleased at the kind reception, since the Duke and Duchess invite him and Don Quixote over to their awesome house for dinner. The Duchess also takes a shining to him and to the clumsy way that he tends to mess up his sayings and proverbs.
  • They all set off for the Duke and Duchess's place.