Quixote rouses Sancho and urges him to give himself some lashes. Sancho grumbles and waves his master away, and Quixote scolds him pitilessly for his ingratitude. But then Sancho speaks to him about the beautiful relief that sleep brings, and Quixote praises his wisdom.
The two friends at first take opposing positions: Quixote is for self-lashing, and Sancho is for sleep. But they understand each other so well, and have taught each other so much, that each can quickly switch to the other’s perspective.
Slowly, they begin to hear deafening noise: some men are taking six hundred pigs to a fair. The animals trample over the two friends, and Quixote explains sadly that they must be divine punishment for an unworthy knight. Sancho falls back asleep while Quixote sings a song he wrote about seeking death, and death’s strange force in life. The next morning, they encounter a group of armed men. The men quietly surround the travellers, point lances at them, and lead them to the Duke’s castle.
Throughout this chapter, Quixote’s spirits decline. He is depressed by his recent defeat, by Dulcinea’s enchantment, and more broadly by his overall failure as a knight. He is thinking about death perhaps because death seems to him like the appropriate punishment for such failure – but also he is singing about the death of his imagination.