Don Quixote Part 1, Chapter 17 Summary
by Miguel de Cervantes Saavedra

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Part 1, Chapter 17 Summary

A Further Account of the Innumerable Hardships Which the brave Don Quixote, and His Worthy Squire Sancho, Underwent in the Inn

Don Quixote comes to and calls out pitifully to his squire. Panza is in a foul mood and says “all the imps of hell have been tormenting him” all night. Quixote claims this is an enchanted castle and makes Panza swear not to tell anyone what he is about to say, at least until Quixote is dead. The squire agrees and hopes that happens tomorrow, as he hates to keep things around too long.

Quixote explains that a great adventure happened to him last night. The daughter of the lord of this castle, a stunningly beautiful and charming woman, came to him. When they were engaged in the most “tender and passionate discourses,” a mighty, unseen giant knocked Quixote in the jaw. Soon the woman joined in and “barbarously bruised” him, and this morning he feels even worse than after yesterday’s beating. He suspects this damsel is protected by some enchantment and is not allowed to adore any but the man who cast the spell—probably a Moor.

Panza agrees and explains that he was assaulted last night by four hundred Moors. He wonders why the knight calls this a pleasant adventure, since they both got “lamentably pounded” in it. At least Quixote got to hold a lovely woman for a while; Panza whines that he will never be a knight-errant but is consistently treated more horribly than his master. Quixote plans to make the special healing potion for his squire.

The peace officer comes to see who was murdered last night; the squire sees the man’s strange outfit and assumes this must be the enchanted Moor who has come back to finish beating him. Quixote says it cannot be the Moor, for enchanted people cannot be seen by others; Panza says perhaps they cannot be seen, but they can certainly be felt. As they argue, the officer approaches and sees the bruised and bloody knight. Quixote gets insulted and says that is no way to address a knight-errant. The officer, insulted at being spoken to in such a way by such a “scurvy figure,” whacks Quixote hard with his lantern and quickly leaves under the cover of darkness.

Quixote is now convinced that he was the enchanted Moor and asks his squire to hurry to the lord of the castle and gather the ingredients for the potion, as he is bleeding profusely from the officer’s blow. Panza gimps his way to the inn and finds the officer, who is waiting to learn how badly he had wounded the knight; Panza asks the man for some supplies so he can treat his master’s wound, a wound inflicted by the enchanted Moor of this inn. The officer assumes the man is crazy, and Panza is given the ingredients for the potion.

Quixote boils the ingredients long enough (he hopes) and then mumbles a blessing before deciding to try the potion before giving it to his squire. As soon as he swallows it, Quixote retches and shivers with fever so violently that he falls into an exhausted sleep.

Three hours later, Quixote...

(The entire section is 812 words.)