That same night, the Duke sends Sancho with a large retinue to his island. The retinue is led by the inventive butler that impersonated several people in the earlier adventures, including the Dolorous Duenna. When Sancho notes the amazing resemblance, Quixote says the resemblance must be meaningless, because it “would imply a major contradiction,” and there is no sense digging into such contradictory mysteries.
This scene resembles a conversation between Quixote and Sancho in the first part of the history, when a disguised priest and butler were transporting a caged Quixote back to his village. Then, Quixote denied any resemblance between his friends and his abductors; here, he merely says that there resemblance between the Duenna and the butler is too complicated to consider.
As soon as Sancho leaves for his island, Quixote misses him so much that he becomes visibly melancholy. He eats dinner, goes to his room, and gets into bed. When he opens the window for some fresh air, he hears two people talking in the courtyard. A girl named Altisidora is confessing her unhappy love for the recently arrived stranger to another girl. Altisidora begins playing a harp and singing about her love for the knight from la Mancha, her jealousy of Dulcinea, and her own beauty and youth. Quixote says to himself that he loves only Dulcinea, shuts the window and lays down to sleep.
Quixote’s love for Dulcinea and his imagined version of her are under attack once again. Altisidora’s attempt at seduction – whether it is her own idea or the Duke and Duchess’s – undermines Dulcinea. It says: “Why on earth are you clinging to a phantom? There is a girl right in front of you who possesses all of Dulcinea’s charms, and she is alive and real.”