Part 1, Chapter 2 Summary

Of Don Quixote’s First Sally

Don Quixote has made his preparations and, before dawn in the heat of July, he prepares to leave for adventures unknown. After he laces his helmet, straps on his target, grasps his lance, and mounts the noble Rozinante, he rides out the private door of his back yard. He is thrilled at how well his adventure is going so far, but he does not travel long before he has a terrible thought: because he has not yet been knighted, according to the rules of chivalry he cannot bear arms against any foe, should have no adornment on his shield, and should wear white armor until he performs an act of valor.

This realization nearly deters Quixote, but he decides to get knighted at the first opportunity and to scour his armor along the way until it shines white. He continues his journey, speaking in exaggerated poetry in the fashion of the romances he so loves. The sun is beating down so violently that “it would have been sufficient to have melted his brains had he had any left.”

Nearly the entire day passes uneventfully and Quixote is in despair, for his greatest desire is to meet someone on whom he can wield his weapon. Just when Rozinante is exhausted and famished, Quixote sees an inn which he reaches at dusk. In the romantic glow of near-darkness, the inn appears to him to be a castle, complete with towers, moats, and drawbridge. Because of that, he draws close and then waits for a dwarf to appear on the battlements and announce him with a horn. That, of course, does not happen.

Finally he arrives at the inn door, and all the serving wenches are frightened at the sight of this strange-looking man in battered armor and they immediately begin to run. Sensing their fear, Quixote lifts his visor and begs the young virgins not to flee. These wenches are no virgins, and they laugh at him; with grave concern, he admonishes the girls that laughter is unbecoming to the loftiness...

(The entire section is 595 words.)