Pierre Corneille’s The Cid is a French five-act play published in 1637. It is considered to be one of the finest Corneille’s works. When this tragicomedy first came out, the audience loved it. The play is based on the legends concentrated on the Spanish warrior Rodrigo Diaz de Vivar. The play takes place in the Castile in Seville. The main theme is the dispute between love and duty. Rodrigue and Chimene love each other but they suffer because of the selfishness of their fathers. They want to get married, but cannot. Don Gomes, Chimene’s father, and Don Diegue, Rodrigue’s father, are involved in an argument that turns violent. Rodrigue believes that he has a duty to uphold the honor of his father by dueling Don Gomes, Chimene’s father. After Rodrigue kills him, Chimene believes that she has a duty to uphold the honor of her murdered father so she requests Rodrigue’s death. The conflict resolves when Rodrigue spares Don Sanche’s life, who dueled him on Chimene’s behalf.
Two young men are competing for the hand of alluring Chimene, Don Rodrigue and Don Sanche. Chimene loves Don Rodrigue. Elvire, Chimene’s governess, brings her the news that Don Gomes thinks Rodrigue is the better choice than Don Sanche. Chimene does not want to feel happy about the news because she predicts something bad is going to happen. In the next scene, Infanta shows up with her lady in waiting Leonor. Infanta admits Leonor her love for Don Rodrigue. She knows she will never be allowed to marry Don Rodrigue because he is below her social status. Also she admits that she encourages love of Chimene and Rodrigue. Infanta wants for them to get married because only than all of her hopes for Rodrigue’s love will be extinguished. In the next scene, Don Gomes and Don Diegue are talking. They are discussing the manner that Don Diegue has won the title of tutor for the king’s son. Don Gomes is astonished that he is not chosen for the title. Don Diegue tries to dismiss Don Gomes telling him that the king made his decision based on love not on merit. In rage, Don Gomes slaps Don Diegue in the face. Don Diegue in that moment draws his sword but Don Gomes disarms him. In the next scene, Don Diegue is humilitated and insulted by Don Gomes. He must defend his honor but he is old, he will find someone younger and stronger instead. Rodrigue declares that he will do anything his father asks of him. So Don Diegue asks him to find Don Gomes and avenge his honor. His father leaves and Rodrigue is left alone. He is torn between his father and Chimene. If he listen his father, Chimene will hate him forever. At the end, Rodrigue makes a decision. He has no choice, he will do what his father asks him.