In the final chapters of Part 1, we figure out a little bit more of Don Quixote’s character and ego. We learn that his ego is extremely sensitive, especially when it comes to him being tricked. He refuses to accept that someone may have gotten the better of him without the use of magic. A prime example of this is when Maritornes tricks Don Quixote into believing that she’s a damsel in distress who Don Quixote needs to save. When he comes to save her, she ties his wrists and leaves him there with only Rocinante’s back to support him. The next morning, when he is finally cut down, Don Quixote, “…removed the rope from his wrist, stood up, mounted Rocinante, clasped his shield, couched his lance, and after making a wide turn down the field, came back at half gallop, saying: ‘Whoever says I’ve been enchanted with just cause, if my lady, the Princess Micomicona, grants me permission, I’ll show him he’s lying and challenge him to a singular battle'”(425).
This small encounter in this set of chapters does raise some interesting questions. Is Don Quixote really as mad as everyone believes, or has he simply been saying all these things to justify his “knighthood” an protect his ego?
I believe that Don Quixote has really been attempting to defend his ego in the only way he knows how. He knows deep down that he may never be able to become a knight, but he hides behind enchantments and magic. These are simply his coping mechanisms in a world that is changing rapidly around him. He has been so involved in his knight books that he has not been witness to the vast changes taking place in the world around him.
Perhaps this whole time, all Don Quixote has really needed is a couch to lay down on and someone to overcharge him to listen to his problems for 60 minutes.