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Literature Study GuidesDon QuixotePart 1 Chapters 23 25 Summary

Don Quixote | Study Guide

Miguel de Cervantes

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Part 1, Chapters 23–25

Course Hero Literature Instructor Russell Jaffe provides an in-depth summary and analysis of Part 1, Chapters 23–25 from Miguel de Cervantes's novel Don Quixote.

Don Quixote | Part 1, Chapters 23–25 | Summary



Part 1, Chapter 23

Sancho Panza is sure the police will be looking for the escaped criminals and suggests they flee to the Sierra Morena Mountains. They find an abandoned suitcase filled with shirts, fine linens, 100 gold coins, and a journal. Sancho Panza takes the gold coins as compensation for his suffering.

Master and squire spy a nearly naked man on a mountaintop. They later learn from a local goatherd that this is Cardenio, who came to the mountains six months ago as some sort of penance. Don Quixote suspects that Cardenio is the owner of the abandoned suitcase and wants to find him, but Sancho Panza is worried that finding Cardenio will mean giving back the gold. The man suddenly emerges from a ravine. Don Quixote hugs him.

Part 1, Chapter 24

Cardenio is from a noble family in Andalusia. He's in love with a girl named Luscinda and intends to marry her, but his father wants him to fulfill the request of Grand Duke Ricardo and become a companion to the duke's wayward son, Don Fernando. Don Fernando has fallen "in love" with a local farmer's daughter, but the only way she will sleep with him is if he promises to marry her. After secretly sating his desires, Don Fernando suggests they go to Cardenio's hometown to shop for horses. Cardenio eagerly agrees, desperate to see Luscinda.

Don Quixote interrupts the story to talk about a book Cardenio mentions, Amadis of Gaul. They argue over the chasteness of the queen, and Cardenio throws a rock at Don Quixote. Sancho Panza tries to avenge his master and gets beaten up. Cardenio flees.

Part 1, Chapter 25

In the vein of Amadis of Gaul and Don Roland, Don Quixote decides to go crazy to impress Dulcinea del Toboso. Sancho Panza can't figure out why, especially when he realizes he actually knows Dulcinea. He says she's strong and brave but nothing like the woman Don Quixote has been talking about all this time. The Don points out that the women portrayed in literature aren't actual flesh and blood—they're just inventions to make poets look good. He writes a letter for Sancho Panza to deliver. Right before leaving, Sancho Panza agrees to watch one spectacle of insanity involving a naked Don Quixote doing two somersaults.


Cardenio's madness is very different from Don Quixote's. It comes in fits, and it seems to be triggered by stress. Cardenio rues those moments of madness. Don Quixote, on the other hand, embraces his insanity. He is happier and more alive than he has been in years. Cardenio's madness, steeped in sorrow, really only hurts him, but Don Quixote's madness hurts most everyone in his path. Cardenio's madness is easily recognized by Sancho Panza, who, in a delightful display of dramatic irony, tells his master "there was no need to take a crazy man's words seriously."

Don Quixote's madness is illustrated in his decision to "go crazy" to impress Dulcinea. Cardenio, who is truly in love with Luscinda, only desires to be near her. Don Quixote, on the other hand, would rather send Sancho Panza with word of his extraordinary efforts. He cares more about his own reputation as a knight than he does about being with the woman he loves. This is, of course, because he doesn't love Dulcinea at all—she's just another part of his fantasy.

Don Quixote's admission that the portrayal of women in chivalric romances isn't true to life is an indication that he perhaps isn't as crazy as he seems. If he realizes that the authors of these stories are creating characters simply to further their plot, it's logical to think that he knows the stories aren't really true at all.

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