Don Quixote Part 1, Chapter 11 Summary
by Miguel de Cervantes Saavedra

Start Your Free Trial

Download Don Quixote Study Guide

Subscribe Now

Part 1, Chapter 11 Summary

What Passed Between Don Quixote and the Goatherd

The goatherds receive the knight graciously, and Panza makes his way to a kettle of boiling meat after he cares for the horses. The goatherds spread their rustic meal on some sheepskins on the ground and invite their guests to join them. Quixote sits on an upside-down trough and Panza stands behind his master to serve him as needed; however, the knight wants to demonstrate to Panza that even the lowest servant can be esteemed and honored by the world and asks Panza to sit next to him and eat from the same dishes as Quixote.

Panza is thankful for the offer but says he would enjoy his meal more if he were standing by himself rather than sitting next to an emperor. He would rather eat without being bothered by the niceties of good manners and proper etiquette, such as chewing his meat properly and wiping his fingers when they are soiled. He thanks Quixote for the honor but hereby forfeits that right now and forever. Quixote is unmoved by this speech and forces Panza to sit down next to him.

In the meantime, the goatherds are unfamiliar with the language of knights-errant, chivalry, and squires and eat heartily as they gawk at the two men. They begin the second course as they drink horns full of wine. Quixote eats some acorns which reminds him of another, simpler time. He then delivers a lengthy oration on the golden age of man, when life was simple and men were civil, and contrasting it with the depravity of men in the current age. He ends the lengthy monologue with thanks to the goatherds for their hospitality.

While the kindly goatherds listened to the drawn-out (and unnecessary) diatribe, Quixote’s words did nothing to edify them because it was “unsuited to their capacities.” Panza was also silent during his master’s speech; instead he was gorging himself on acorns and drinking plenty of wine. In contrast, Quixote spends more time and energy on speaking than eating.

After the meal, the goatherds tell their guests that they will soon be treated to the songs of a “good notable young lad” who is deeply in love and sings beautifully as he...

(The entire section is 571 words.)