|Written by||Pierre Corneille|
|Date premiered||January 5, 1637|
|Place premiered||Théâtre du Marais, Paris|
|Setting||Kingdom of Castile|
Le Cid is a five-act French tragicomedy written by Pierre Corneille, first performed in December 1636 at the Théâtre du Marais in Paris and published the same year. It is based on Guillén de Castro's play Las Mocedades del Cid.Castro's play in turn is based on the legend of El Cid.
An enormous popular success, Corneille's Le Cid was the subject of a heated polemic over the norms of dramatic practice known as the Querelle du Cid (Quarrel of The Cid). Cardinal Richelieu's Académie française acknowledged the play's success, but determined that it was defective, in part because it did not respect the classical unities.
Today, Le Cid is widely regarded as Corneille's finest work, and is considered one of the greatest plays of the seventeenth century.
The stories of the Cid are based on the life of the Spanish warrior Rodrigo Díaz de Vivar, who lived approximately from 1043 until 1099. The real "Cid" seems to have fought for both Muslims and Christians at different times and appears to have been a sellsword figure. In the play, however, he is lauded solely as a Christian soldier.The name "El Cid" was derived from the Arabic word for lord ("sayyid") and made Spanish, and further given a French article for Corneille's version. To this day, the Cid remains a popular Spanish folklore character, who has inspired many stories and works of art.
The play is derived from Guillén de Castro's play Les Mocedades del Cid, published in 1618 and written somewhere between 1612 and 1615.Because of the pieces' similarities, Jean Mairet accused Corneille of plagiarism in March 1637.
This section possibly contains original research .(January 2018)
Le Cid was originally staged at the Théâtre du Marais in December 1636. The play was a success, although it was quite controversial due to its divergence from the standard playwriting guidelines of the time. The piece was groundbreaking for a few reasons. It had a happy ending, which was rare for "tragedies" of the time, and allowed later tragicomic playwrights to end their plays in a variety of ways. Critics tried to hold the play up to Aristotle's Poetics and its prescriptions, but Corneille argued that great tragic characters are inherently implausible. He took a difficult topic and showed, rather realistically, how it might occur. This disagreement and the discussions following it are known as "La Querelle du Cid," or The Quarrel of The Cid.
After its premiere, Cardinal Richelieu asked the new Académie française to write a discussion of the merits of the play. Georges de Scudéry, another dramatist, wrote a critique of the play as well. He claimed Corneille was "deifying" himself. He intended to prove that the play's plot was worthless, abused the basic rules of dramatic poetry, pursues an erratic course, and all of the play's beauties are stolen.
Jean Chapelain wrote the document for the Académie, which particularly criticizes the implausibility of Chimène's continued affection for Rodrigue after he kills her father. Her agreement to marry Rodrigue as the King commands made her an immoral character, Chapelain argued, which was a danger to the viewing public and their morals. He said implausible and immoral characters should not be featured in plays, even if they are based in history. Corneille ignored this and proved that plays did not need to be didactic, always showing evil being punished. Plot points must be necessary, the Académie argued, historical events such as this should not be dramatized. Too many actions occur in a 24-hour period, and Le Cid did not conform to unity of place.
In response to these critiques, Corneille argued that his play evoked both pity and fear. The characters of Rodrigue and Chimène, he noted, have virtue, which is what leads to their passions, thereby causing the misfortune. He argued that multiple actions worked well for a play to have a strong beginning, middle, and end. There is only one complete action in the play, but it can evolve through several other incomplete actions. The play was set in only one city, which Corneille believed should be equivalent to unity of place.
Setting: The play takes place in the city of Seville in the Castile region of Spain during the second half of the 11th century.
The play opens with Chimène hearing from her governess, Elvire, that Chimène's father believes don Rodrigue, who Chimène also favors, to be the stronger choice for her marriage. Chimène, however, does not allow herself yet to be overjoyed, and fears that fate might change her father's mind.
In the second scene, the Infante (or princess) reveals to her maid that she is in love with Rodrigue, but could never marry him because of his lower social class. Therefore, she has decided to bring Chimène and Rodrigue together in order to extinguish her own passions.
In the third scene, Chimène's father, Don Gomès, Count de Gormas, has learned that the king has asked Rodrigue's old father, Don Diègue, to tutor the Prince of Castile. The count believes he is worthier of the position than Diègue, and tells Diègue this. Diègue says the two should become friends and have their children married. The count refuses and slaps Diègue, who draws his sword but is too weak to hold it. The count disarms him and insults him before leaving.
Diègue is ashamed by this encounter and asks his son to avenge him and fight the count. Rodrigue realizes if he fights and kills the count, he will lose Chimène's love, but still chooses to fight to honor his father's name.
Don Arias tells the count that the king forbids a duel between him and Rodrigue, but the count arrogantly disobeys and wants to fight regardless. He taunts Rodrigue but also commends him for his lack of fear and spirit and asks him to stand down, but Rodrigue refuses.
Chimène tells the princess how distraught she is about her lover and her father fighting. A page notifies them that he saw the two men leaving the palace. Chimène realizes they have gone to duel, and leaves quickly. The Infante considers if Rodrigue wins the duel, Chimène will reject him, and the Infante will be able to win him after all.
Meanwhile, the king tells Don Sancho and Don Arias of his anger regarding the count's cruelty to Diègue and his agreement to duel Rodrigue. The king also worries about a potential impending attack by the Moorish navy moving toward his lands. Don Alonse enters and announces that Rodrigue has killed the count.
Rodrigue comes to Chimène's home, and tells Elvire that he will be killed by Chimène's hand. Elvire tells him to flee, and he hides as Chimène approaches. Chimène tells Elvire of her conflicting feelings, but that she must make sure Rodrigue dies. She plans to follow him in death afterward. Rodrigue reveals himself and gives Chimène his sword to kill him, but she cannot.
Rodrigue returns home, and his father tells him the Moors are going to attack. Rodrigue must fight them, and if he returns alive and a winner, the king will praise him and he will regain Chimène's love.
Rodrigue goes to war and is very successful. The captured Moors even revere him, and call him “The Cid.” The Infante begs Chimène to give up her quest to kill Rodrigue, but Chimène refuses. The king tricks Chimène into believing Rodrigue has been killed, and her reaction proves to everyone that she still loves him. Regardless, she still feels the need to avenge her father's death. Don Sanche says he will fight Rodrigue on her behalf, and she promises to marry whoever triumphs.
Rodrigue comes to Chimène and says he will not defend himself in the fight against Don Sanche. She says he must truly fight to save her from a marriage to Don Sanche.
In a monologue, the Infante declares that Rodrigue belongs to Chimène, if so little hatred has come between them since he killed her father.
Chimène sees Don Sanche come in with a bloody sword, and believes he has killed Rodrigue. She cries that she loved Rodrigue, and pleads not to marry the victor, but will instead enter a convent and grieve forever over her father and Rodrigue. She will leave all of her possessions to Don Sanche. However, the king tells her Rodrigue is still alive. Rodrigue disarmed Don Sanche but decided to let him live. Don Sanche says the two should marry because of their obvious love for one another.
The king tells Chimène she has served her father enough by putting Rodrigue in danger and no longer needs to avenge him. He tells her to do something for herself by marrying Rodrigue, but realizes she still needs time to “dry her tears.” They will be married in a year, and in the meantime, Rodrigue will continue to fight against the Moors and remain faithful to Chimène and become even more worthy of her love.
The play is written in rhyming couplets with alternating masculine and feminine rhymes, as is typical of French drama. The opening lines are as follows:
Elvire, m'as-tu fait un rapport bien sincère ?
Ne déguises-tu rien de ce qu'a dit mon père ?
Tous mes sens à moi-même en sont encor charmés :
Il estime Rodrigue autant que vous l'aimez,
Et si je ne m'abuse à lire dans son âme,
Il vous commandera de répondre à sa flamme.
Some English translations of the play imitate the rhyme scheme, while others are written in prose.
The play's meter is alexandrine (or vers alexandrin), which was popular in classical French poetry. Each line must contain 12 syllables, and major accents are placed on the 6th and 12th syllables. The caesure (caesura, or pause) occurs after the 6th syllable, halfway through the line. It is frequently used as a strong syntactic break in the wording. Each half of the line (6 syllables) is referred to as a hemistich (hémistiche). Enjambment is not used in the French alexandrin, but is sometimes employed in English translation of the verse. The name of the line originated from the Roman d'Alexandre, written in 1170.
Scholars estimate that at least twenty-six composers have created an operatic adaptation of the classic tale. Most notably, the play is the basis for the opera Le Cid by Jules Massenet and partly for Handel's Flavio . Roger Iglésias directed a made-for-television adaptation, which was broadcast on February 24, 1962. A number of literary, theatrical, and film parodies also exist, mostly in French culture.
Rodrigo Díaz de Vivar was a Castilian knight and warlord in medieval Spain. Fighting with both Christian and Muslim armies during his lifetime, he earned the Arabic honorific al-sīd, which would evolve into El Cid, and the Spanish moniker El Campeador. He was born in Vivar, a village near the city of Burgos. As the head of his loyal knights, he came to dominate the Levante of the Iberian Peninsula at the end of the 11th century. He reclaimed the Taifa of Valencia from Moorish control for a brief period during the Reconquista, ruling the principality as its Prince from 17 June 1094 until his death in 1099. His wife, Jimena Díaz, inherited the city and maintained it until 1102 when it was reconquered by the Moors.
Jean-Baptiste Racine was a French dramatist, one of the three great playwrights of 17th-century France, along with Molière and Corneille as well as an important literary figure in the Western tradition and world literature. Racine was primarily a tragedian, producing such "examples of neoclassical perfection" as Phèdre, Andromaque, and Athalie. He did write one comedy, Les Plaideurs, and a muted tragedy, Esther for the young.
Pierre Corneille was a French tragedian. He is generally considered one of the three great seventeenth-century French dramatists, along with Molière and Racine.
Sancho I, nicknamed "the Populator", King of Portugal was the second but only surviving legitimate son and fifth child of Afonso I of Portugal by his wife, Maud of Savoy. Sancho succeeded his father and was crowned in Coimbra when he was 31 years old on 9 December 1185. He used the title King of Silves from 1189 until he lost the territory to Almohad control in 1191.
Louis V, also known as Louis the Do-Nothing, was a king of West Francia from 979 to his early death in 987. During his reign, the nobility essentially ruled the country. Dying childless, Louis V was the last Carolingian monarch in West Francia.
Stichomythia is a technique in verse drama in which sequences of single alternating lines, or half-lines (hemistichomythia) or two-line speeches (distichomythia) are given to alternating characters. It typically features repetition and antithesis. The term originated in the theatre of Ancient Greece, though many dramatists since have used the technique. Etymologically it derives from the Greek stikhos + muthos.
Constanza Manuel of Villena, was a Castilian noblewoman who by her two marriages was Queen consort of Castile and Infanta of Portugal.
L'Illusion comique is a comedic play written by Pierre Corneille in 1636. In its use of meta-theatricality (plays-within-the-play), it is far ahead of its time. It was first performed at the Hôtel de Bourgogne in 1636 and published in 1639.
Dom Juan ou le Festin de pierre is a five-act 1665 comedy by Molière based upon the Spanish legend of Don Juan Tenorio. The aristocrat Dom Juan is a rakehell who seduces, marries, and abandons Elvira, discarded as just another romantic conquest. Later, he invites to dinner the statue of a man whom he recently had murdered; the statue accepts and reciprocates Dom Juan's invitation. In the course of their second evening, the stone statue of the murdered man charms, deceives, and leads Dom Juan to Hell.
Le Cid is an opera in four acts and ten tableaux by Jules Massenet to a French libretto by Louis Gallet, Édouard Blau and Adolphe d'Ennery. It is based on the play of the same name by Pierre Corneille.
Beatrice of Castile or Beatriz was an infanta of Castile, daughter of Sancho IV and María de Molina. She was Queen of Portugal from the accession of her husband, Afonso IV, in 1325 until his death on 28 May 1357.
The Mocedades de Rodrigo is the name given to a late, anonymous Castilian cantar de gesta, composed around 1360, that relates the origins and exploits of the youth of the legendary hero El Cid.
Don Sanche, ou Le château de l'amour, S.1, is an opera in one act composed in 1824–25 by Franz Liszt in his early teen years, with French libretto by Théaulon and de Rancé, based on a story by Jean-Pierre Claris de Florian. For 30 years it was believed to be lost until it was rediscovered in 1903. The first modern performance took place in 1977, 74 years after its rediscovery.
Vasco Gil Moniz was a Portuguese nobleman.
A Cornelian dilemma is a dilemma in which someone is obliged to choose one option from a range of options all of which reveals a detrimental effect on themselves or someone near them. In classical drama, it will typically involve the character experiencing an inner conflict, forcing them to choose between love and honour or inclination and duty. The dilemma is named after French dramatist Pierre Corneille, in whose play Le Cid (1636) the protagonist, Rodrigue, is torn between two desires: that of the love of Chimène, or avenging his family, who has been wronged by Chimène's father. Rodrigue either seeks revenge to avenge his lover or lose the honour.
Rodrigue et Chimène is an unfinished opera in three acts by Claude Debussy. The French libretto, by Catulle Mendès, is based on the plays Las Mocedades del Cid by Guillén de Castro y Bellvís and Corneille's Le Cid which deal with the legend of El Cid. It was first staged in a version completed by Edison Denisov in Lyon on 14 May 1993.
Horace is a play by the French dramatist Pierre Corneille, drawing on Livy's account of the battle between the Horatii and the Curiatii. Written in reply to critics of his Le Cid, it was dedicated to cardinal Richelieu and proved the author's second major success on its premiere in March 1640. Its protagonist Horatius is more daring than Rodrigue in Le Cid, in that he sacrifices his best friend and kills his sister Camilla. It was the basis for the libretti for the operas Les Horaces and Gli Orazi e i Curiazi. It is considered one of Corneille's great tragedies.
Andromaque is an opera in three acts by the composer André Ernest Modeste Grétry. The French libretto is an adaptation of Jean Racine's play Andromaque by Louis-Guillaume Pitra (1735-1818). It was first performed on 6 June 1780 by the Académie Royale de Musique in the second Salle du Palais-Royal. It was the only opera Grétry wrote in the form of a tragédie lyrique.
João Afonso de Albuquerque,, Juan Alfonso de Alburquerque in Spanish and nicknamed "o do Ataúde", 6th Lord of Alburquerque, was a member of the highest ranks of the nobility of the Kingdom of Portugal, an astute politician, and descendant from the royal houses of both Portugal and Castile, although through illegitimate lines.
Chimène, ou Le Cid is a French-language opera by Antonio Sacchini. It takes the form of a tragédie (lyrique) in three acts, with a libretto by Nicolas-François Guillard. It was first staged at Fontainebleau on 16 November 1783. The subject of the work was inspired by the tragicomedy Le Cid by Pierre Corneille, and indirectly by the medieval Spanish epic Cantar de Mio Cid and a play by Guillén de Castro y Bellvís, Las Mocedades del Cid. Comedia Comedia primera and segunda (1605–1615).
|Wikisource has original text related to this article:|
|Wikimedia Commons has media related to Le Cid .|