Don Quixote Part 1, Chapter 5 Summary
by Miguel de Cervantes Saavedra

Start Your Free Trial

Download Don Quixote Study Guide

Subscribe Now

Part 1, Chapter 5 Summary

A Further Account of Our Knight’s Misfortunes

As he lies by the side of the road, sore and unable to move, Quixote recalls the romance story of Baldwin and the Marquis of Mantua and he immediately feels better. He recalls the lament of that tale and sings out the question: where, oh where, is the Marquis of Mantua? As fortune would have it, a ploughman who lives in the village near Quixote’s house happens to be walking by with a sack of wheat from the mill. When he sees and hears the strange man lying prostrate near the road, he asks the man who he is and why he is lamenting so sadly.

Quixote sees the man as his uncle, the Marquis, and immediately shares the imaginary woes of the romance story. The farmer thinks it all odd and lifts the man’s visor; he immediately recognizes his neighbor and calls him by the name he knows, Quixada. The would-be knight continues to talk as if the man is his uncle; so the ploughman helps the man unto his donkey, which is gentler than Quixote’s horse, and gathers up every splinter of the man’s gear and ties it to Rozinante. He slowly guides both animals into town and ponders the odd utterances of the old man behind him.

Quixote is bruised and sits uncomfortably on the donkey, sighing greatly in his discomfort. When the farmer asks what is wrong with him, Quixote suddenly changes stories and begins to relate the adventures he read in another romance. Convinced his neighbor’s “brains have turned,” the man moves more quickly so he can get rid of the old man. He denies being anyone Quixote claims he is and tells Quixote that he is not a brave knight but his neighbor, Quixada. Quixote, of course, denies such an ordinary persona and continues describing himself in grandiose terms.

This continues until they arrive at the village at sunset; the countryman waits until it is dark so no one will see the man in this condition. When they arrive, Quixote’s house is in disarray. The housekeeper is distraught, and his young niece explains to the curate and barber, both intimate friends of Quixote’s, that her old uncle has left with his armor and weapons after reading “cursed books of errantry.” Neither he nor his horse have been seen for six days, and she recounts stories of Quixote acting out scenes from these books as he believed them to be true for his life. Now she blames herself for not having told these two men about this odd behavior so at least one of them could have stopped the nonsense before such a drastic thing happened and burned the offending books.

The curate agrees and says he will burn the...

(The entire section is 714 words.)