Don Quixote Part 1, Chapter 8 Summary
by Miguel de Cervantes Saavedra

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Part 1, Chapter 8 Summary

Of the Good Success Which the Valorous Don Quixote Had in the Most Terrifying and Never-to-Be-Imagined Adventure of the Wind-Mills, With Other Transactions Worthy to Be Transmitted to Posterity

Quixote and Panza spy thirty or forty windmills across the plain, and Quixote immediately prepares to fight what he sees as courageous giants and capture their spoils. As he describes the giants with long arms, Panza tells his master that those are not arms but sails, and they are not giants but windmills. Quixote is undeterred and spurs Rozinante into battle. He calls on the name of his beloved lady, Dulcinea, and rushes the first windmill. When his lance runs into the sail, the wind is strong enough to shatter the lance and hurl horse and rider into a distant field.

Panza rides to Quixote as quickly as his donkey will take him and says he tried to warn Quixote that the giants were actually windmills and no one could have thought otherwise unless “he also had windmills in his head.” Quixote is now convinced that Freston, the necromancer who stole his study and his books, transformed these giants into windmills to deprive Quixote of an honorable victory. Panza agrees and the pair continues their journey, Rozinante a bit worse for the fall.

They make their way to Lapice, for it is a well traveled road and sure to provide them an opportunity for battle. Quixote mourns the loss of his lance and tells his squire that he once read of a knight who, after losing his sword, ripped a tree from the ground, or at least tore a branch from a tree, and won a tremendous battle with his makeshift weapon. He will do the same when they find a tree. Panza encourages the idea but begs Quixote to ride more upright in his saddle, as he is riding “sidelong,” no doubt because of the bruises from his fall.

Quixote refuses to speak about his pains because a knight-errant never complains about his wounds. Panza assures his master that he will speak about even the smallest pain he has unless the same rule applies to squires as to knights; Quixote smiles at the simple-minded man and gives him permission to complain freely of his pains. Panza eats and drinks greedily from his stores, without any thought beyond satisfying his hunger and thirst.

They spend the night under some trees; from one of them Quixote tears a withered branch to serve as his new lance. He does not sleep, thinking of his lady as the knights in his books regularly do; his squire, on the other hand, sleeps without a thought of any kind. They reach the pass of Lapice, and Quixote warns Panza, until he achieves the rank of knight himself, not to interfere if he sees Quixote fighting another knight. Panza assures him he loves peace and always avoids a battle when he can.

As they talk, two Benedictine monks on donkeys approach, in front of a larger traveling party. Quixote believes the necromancer has turned villains into monks and...

(The entire section is 785 words.)