Don Quixote stays in his room for five days while the cat wounds heal. Late one night, the duenna Rodríguez walks into his room unannounced. They are both a little embarrassed by the late hour and the possibility of impropriety. The duenna tells her long and plaintive life story. She was left an orphan and then a widow with a clever, beautiful daughter. The son of a wealthy farmer seduced the daughter by promising marriage, but now he refuses to make good. In the course of her story, the duenna mentions that Altisidora and the Duchess both have certain embarrassing illnesses. Just as she finishes her gossip, the door swings open, the candles go out, and two figures give Quixote and the duenna a mean beating in the dark. The duenna leaves groaning without another word.
It seems that the duenna is an accidental victim of the Duke and Duchess’s games. Their charades have convinced her that Don Quixote really is a heroic knight who helps any innocent person in trouble. Once again, the Duke and Duchess have helped realize Quixote’s dream while trying to mock and undermine it. Whether or not Quixote suspects foul play, he determines to help the duenna. Helping others is more important to him than his own dignity.