Don Quixote is depressed that he didn't get to see Dulcinea in her true form. He mopes over his persecution by enchanters, and he is upset that he cannot figure out how to undo the spell. Sancho encourages him to take heart, as a knight should. Don Quixote blames himself for what has happened to Dulcinea.
It occurs to Don Quixote that Sancho never described Dulcinea correctly before, though it doesn't occur to him that Sancho lied. Sancho points out one problem with Dulcinea's changed appearance. When Quixote triumphs over an enemy and orders them to present themselves to his lady, they won't be able to find her. Don Quixote proposes that other people may see Dulcinea in her true form. They will have to test this theory.
A cart comes toward them. People are dressed in costumes. Quixote confronts them and demands to know who they are and where they are going. The leader politely says they are an acting troupe. They are still in costume from a play they did earlier, and which they will put on again in El Toboso.
Quixote is satisified and lets them pass. The clown of the group, though, spooks Rocinante. He runs away. He falls, taking himself and Quixote with him. The clown also scares Dapple, and it takes off in another direction. Sancho cries to Quixote that the Devil took his Dapple.
Quixote plans to take the acting troupe’s mules as compensation. However, the Devil lets Dapple go, and the donkey returns to Sancho. Quixote still wishes to make them pay, but Sancho dissuades him. Actors are favored and thus protected. Quixote still wants to teach them a lesson and charges them. The theater troup throws stones at him. Sancho reminds his master that he can’t fight ordinary people. Quixote agrees and says Sancho should deal with the matter. Sancho says there is no need for vengeance. Quixote accepts this and suggests they seek other adventures.