In chapters 28-37, we see a lot less violence than we have seen previously in the book, we see more love in this section, but we also see more of Don Quixote’s madness come to light. Love has been one of the bigger themes in Don Quixote. There’s Don Quixote’s love for Dulcinea has been apparent for the entirety of the story, there is Don Quixote’s love for chivalry and knight-errantry, and there is Sancho’s love for money and power. This section is more defined by the “love square” between Cardenio, Lucinda, Ferdinand, and Dorotea. We first meet Cardenio in earlier chapters. Cardenio is in love with Lucinda but Lucinda is with Cardenio’s best friend, Ferdinand. Later, we meet Dorotea. Dorotea is in love with Ferdinand but Ferdinand is with Lucinda. Lucinda is in love with Cardenio but she is with Ferdinand and Ferdinand realizes at the inn that he wants to be with Dorotea.
For this section to be dominated by love rather than violence was a change. We used to see Don Quixote and Sancho getting beat up every other chapter. The love we see in this section is what puts the train in motion. From chapter 28 to chapter 37, it is Don Quixote’s group trying to help these people with their desires of love, because Don Quixote too is guided by his love for Dulcinea. The “love sqaure” in the story, I think, represents the one thing that Don Quixote hasn’t ruined. Don Quixote ruins a lot of things in the story but it is because of Don Quixote that love prevails at the inn when the group runs into Ferdinand and Lucinda.
Don Quixote’s madness starts to force itself upon others with the plan the priest and the barber create to lure Don Quixote home. Even though Don Quixote’s created his insanity, his refusal to break character forces the others to feed his madness if they want to engage him. This madness increases in these chapters, when everyone in the company is forced to follow Dorotea’s story, in which Dorotea messed up many details, to prevent their plan from being revealed. The group’s constant playacting causes the fiction of the story to take over as reality, and reality, for the group, is slipping farther and farther away.
Dorotea’s story about the giant closely resembles her own plight. The real-life Ferdinand has run off with her virginity just as the fictional giant has supposedly ran off with her kingdom. Dorotea is, in fact, quite similar to the Princess Micomicoma she pretends to be. Like the character she plays, she cannot return home out of shame.