The two friends receive an affectionate welcome at Don Diego’s comfortable house. His son Don Lorenzo inquires about the strange visitor, and Don Diego asks him to judge for himself whether the knight is mad or sane. Don Lorenzo goes into Quixote’s room, talks to him about poetry, and asks him what he studied at university. Quixote tells the young man that he studied knight-errantry, a subject that contains most others; one must be a jurist, a theologian, a doctor, an astrologer, and pure, chaste, and generous to boot. Don Lorenzo replies that he doubts that such wonderful men ever existed or could exist, but Don Quixote assures him that such knights were indispensable and are sorely lacking today. Don Lorenzo determines that he is a “splendid madman.” He tells his father that Quixote would not be himself without his madness.
Don Lorenzo, the young poet, steps out of thin air to become the most affectionate and comprehending listener Quixote has ever had. He admits that Quixote is not in his right mind, but to him the question of his sanity is not central: Quixote is “splendid,” sane or not. Quixote’s strange passions and convictions make him mysterious and loveable, and bring joy to others. By his own definition, Quixote is true – he brings light and warmth to people’s imaginations. It is this kind of truth that makes us love some characters and not others.
Over lunch, Quixote asks Don Lorenzo to recite some his poetry glosses (verse summaries of other poems). The poems are quite elegant and Quixote fervently admires them. The two friends stay at Don Diego’s house for four more days and decide to leave for the jousts at Saragossa, intending to stop at the Cave of Montesinos on the way. Before riding away, he advises Don Lorenzo to trust strangers’ opinions of his poetry more than his own, since “there is no father or mother who thinks his own children are ugly.”
Quixote echoes Cervantes, who also compared works of fiction to children in the prologue to the first half of the history. Quixote and Cervantes have a great deal in common. Cervantes reinvented himself when he was about fifty, just like Quixote, and he did so by creating and to some extent becoming Quixote.