Part 1 of Don Juan Tenorio consists of Acts 1–4. In this section of the play, the plot centers on the bet between Don Juan and Don Luis. Both men are profligate womanizers and excel in the craft of dueling.
However, Don Juan's new bet highlights how honor is perceived and defined in a patriarchal system. Our protagonist crows that he can bed both an engaged woman and a novitiate. In a patriarchal system, the honor of a family greatly rests on the purity of its women. As such, Dona Ines exemplifies the epitome of feminine perfection: she is an obedient daughter, and when her father consigns her to a convent, she makes no objections. Her sexual (and, therefore, secular) desires are subsumed under the auspices of patriarchal honor.
In the play, female purity not only bequeaths honor to a family, it also crowns a woman's reputation. Thus, any hint of deviancy or indiscretion renders her unsuitable for marriage. However, female desire is approached in very simplistic terms in the play. The abbess tells Dona Ines that the latter has retained her innocence because she knows nothing of the world. Additionally, having known nothing of the world, Dona Ines also cannot long for the pleasures of the world.
The abbess chooses to ignore the reality of sexuality. As a result, she does not comprehend Dona Ines's frustration. As for Dona Ines, she is herself ignorant of the source of her ennui. She thinks that her grief is mainly due to the knowledge that she must renounce all familial ties after taking her religious vows. For the remainder of her interaction with Brigida, she voices her fear of her deep yearnings. They frighten her, only because they are so foreign from everything she has ever experienced.
Later, however, Dona Ines begins to recognize what those yearnings contribute in her journey to full womanhood. Don Juan's caressing words awaken her to the reality of her innate sexuality. As for Don Juan, he courts Dona Ines with all the pomp and elegance of a courtly love. His profuse expressions of overpowering passion make Dona Ines fall under his spell. Here, in the tradition of courtly love, Dona Ines's moral purity cleanses the old sinner of his waywardness.
Then we see Don Juan remonstrating with Don Gonzalo, who refuses to bless the union between his daughter and the supposedly reformed rake. For his part, Don Juan accuses the older man of not caring about his salvation. Don Gonzalo's reply is ominous: "And what have I to do, Don Juan, with your salvation?" Don Gonzalo will not "save" Don Juan; he cannot, according to the dictates of convention. It is Dona Ines who must bequeath Don Juan his salvation.
However, Dona Ines cannot perform this duty at this point in the play. Her moral virtue has been subsumed within her father's convictions. In Don Gonzalo's mind, Don Juan has dishonored his daughter by his actions and cannot be allowed to marry her. Angered by Don Gonzalo's stance, Don Juan reverts to his innate self. He shoots Don Gonzalo and stabs Don Luis: both men die. This tragic scene demonstrates that honor in a patriarchal society is strictly defined. Any aberrations from respected convention result in censure and marginalization. Don Juan cannot redefine honor in such a society, even if his convictions are sincere.