[H]er affability and beauty allures all the hearts of those that converse with her to serve and love her; but, her coyness and plain-dealing drives them even to the borders of despair; therefore, they know not what to say, but, upbraid her with cruelty and ingratitude[.]

A goatherd named Peter describes to Don Quixote a beautiful and kind shepherdess named Marcela, who has no desire to marry anyone. Peter describes how her attractiveness draws men, who become frustrated when she refuses their advances and who abusively berate her. Readers note the double standard in the novel for men and women: Don Quixote and other men casually spurn the attention of women in love with them, but won’t tolerate the same behavior from women.

If you will not receive me as what I really am, your lawful wife, at least, admit me into the number of your slaves; for, in whatever shape I belong to you, I shall account myself fortunate and blessed[.]

After Ferdinand and Dorothea reunite at the inn, she begs him to recognize her as his wife. Dorothea believes that as long as she belongs to Ferdinand in one way or the other, she will live a happy and good life. Her declaration that she would as soon be one of his slaves as his wife reveals the stark inequality in marriages during the time.