We follow Preciosa as she performs for the knights of Calatrava, in the house of the tiniente, and at the house of the Carcamos in scenes that present an indictment of the state of the realm that is inextricably linked to the debate about the meanings of nobility and chivalry.
The first such scene is Preciosa's entrance in the gambling den of the Knights of Calatrava. At the beginning of the scene, mention of the division of the physical space by a metal grate separating the gypsies in the street and the knights inside underscores the power differential between the two: "desde una reja llamaron unos caballeros a las gitanas.
Beyond this portrayal of a situation that represents the endemic corruption of the economic system, however, Cervantes gives us reason to believe that these knights of Calatrava in particular are a sign of the decadence of the times.
Is there so much difference between knights of Calatrava and those of Santiago, between "rejas" and "balcones dorados," between knights who might tip the gypsies while they are gambling, and others who politely request a song with a golden coin?
A second way in which Don Juan distinguishes himself from the knights of Calatrava is by his defense of the idea that chivalric honor includes being true to one's word.