Short summary - Le Cid - Pierre Corneille

French literature summaries - 2021

Short summary - Le Cid
Pierre Corneille

The teacher Elvira brings good news to dona Jimena: of the two young nobles in love with her - don Rodrigo and don Sancho - Jimena's father, Count Gormas wants to have the first son-in-law; namely, don Rodrigo is given the feelings and thoughts of the girl.
Jimena's girlfriend, the daughter of the Castilian king dona Urraca, has long been passionately in love with the same Rodrigo. But she is a slave to her high position: her duty tells her to make her chosen one only an equal by birth - a king or a prince of blood. In order to end the suffering, which the deliberately insatiable passion inflicts on her, the Infanta did everything so that ardent love would bind Rodrigo and Jimena. Her efforts were successful, and now dona Urraca cannot wait for the wedding day, after which the last sparks of hope should fade in her heart, and she can be resurrected in spirit.
Fathers of Rodrigo and Jimena - Don Diego and Count Gormas - glorious grandees and loyal servants of the king. But if the count still represents the most reliable support of the Castilian throne, the time of Don Diego's great exploits is already behind him - in his years he can no longer lead Christian regiments on campaigns against the infidels as before.
When King Ferdinand faced the question of choosing a mentor for his son, he gave preference to the wise experience of Don Diego, than unwittingly put the friendship of two nobles to the test. Count Gormas considered the choice of the sovereign unjust, Don Diego, on the contrary, praised the wisdom of the monarch, who unmistakably marks the person most worthy.
Word for word, and arguments about the merits of one and the other grandees turn into an argument, and then into a quarrel. Mutual insults are pouring in, and in the end the count gives Don Diego a slap in the face; he grabs the sword. The enemy easily knocks her out of the weakened hands of Don Diego, but does not continue the fight, because for him, the glorious Count Gormas, it would be the greatest shame to stab a decrepit defenseless old man.
A deadly insult inflicted on Don Diego can only be washed away with the blood of the offender. Therefore, he orders his son to challenge the count to a mortal battle.
Rodrigo is in confusion - after all, he has to raise his hand against his beloved father. Love and filial duty are desperately fighting in his soul, but one way or another, Rodrigo decides, even life with his beloved wife will be an endless shame for him, if his father remains unavenged.
King Ferdinand is angry at the unworthy act of Count Gormas; he tells him to apologize to Don Diego, but the arrogant nobleman, for whom honor is above all else in the world, refuses to obey the sovereign. Count Gormas is not afraid of any threats, for he is sure that without his invincible sword, the king of Castile cannot hold his scepter.
The saddened dona Jimena bitterly complains to the Infanta about the damned vanity of the fathers, which threatens to destroy them with Rodrigo the happiness that both seemed so close. No matter how events develop further, none of the possible outcomes bodes well for her: if Rodrigo dies in a duel, her happiness will perish with him; if the young man prevails, the alliance with the killer of the father will become impossible for her; well, and if the duel does not take place, Rodrigo will be disgraced and will lose the right to be called a Castilian nobleman.
Dona Urraca can only offer one consolation to Jimene: she will order Rodrigo to be with her person, and there, look, the fathers, with the help of the king, will settle everything themselves. But the Infanta was late - Count Gormas and Don Rodrigo had already gone to the place they had chosen for the duel.
The obstacle that has arisen on the path of the lovers makes the infant grieve, but at the same time, it evokes a secret joy in her soul. Hope and sweet longing again settle in the heart of dona Urraki, she already sees Rodrigo conquering many kingdoms and thus becoming her equal, which means - by right, open to her love.
Meanwhile, the king, outraged by the rebelliousness of Count Gormas, orders to take him into custody. But his command could not be carried out, for the count had just fallen at the hands of the young Don Rodrigo. As soon as the news of this reaches the palace, the sobbing Jimena appears before Don Ferdinand and on his knees begs him for retribution to the murderer; such a retribution can only be death. Don Diego counters that winning a duel of honor cannot be equated with murder. The king listens favorably to both of them and announces his decision: Rodrigo will be judged.
Rodrigo comes to the house of Count Gormas, who was killed by him, ready to appear before the inexorable judge - Jimena. Jimena's teacher Elvira, who met him, is frightened: after all, Jimena may not return home alone, and if the companions see him at her house, a shadow will fall on the girl's honor. Heeding Elvira's words, Rodrigo hides.
Indeed, Jimena comes accompanied by Don Sancho, who is in love with her, who offers himself as an instrument of revenge to the murderer. Jimena disagrees with his proposal, relying entirely on the righteous royal court.
Left alone with the teacher, Jimena confesses that he still loves Rodrigo, cannot imagine life without him; and, since her duty is to condemn her father's murderer to execution, she intends, after revenge, to go down into the coffin after her beloved. Rodrigo hears these words and comes out of hiding. He holds out the sword that killed Count Gormas to Jimena, and begs her to execute judgment on him with her hand. But Jimena drives Rodrigo away, promising that he will certainly do everything so that the killer will pay for what he has done with his life, although in her heart she hopes that nothing will work out for her.
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Don Diego is incredibly happy that his son, a worthy heir to his ancestors glorified for bravery, washed away the stain of shame from him. As for Jimena, he says to Rodrigo, this is only one honor - lovers are being changed. But for Rodrigo it is equally impossible either to change his love for Jimena, or to unite fate with his beloved; all that remains is to call upon death.
In response to such speeches, Don Diego suggests to his son, instead of in vain to seek death, lead a detachment of daredevils and repel the army of the Moors, who secretly came to Seville under cover of night on ships.
The sortie of the detachment led by Rodrigo brings the Castilians a brilliant victory - the infidels flee, two Moorish kings are captured by the hand of the young commander. Everyone in the capital extols Rodrigo, only Jimena still insists that her mourning dress denounces Rodrigo, no matter how brave a warrior he is, a villain and cries out for vengeance.
The Infanta, in whose soul is not extinguished, but, on the contrary, love for Rodrigo is growing more and more, persuades Jimena to give up revenge. Even if she cannot go down the aisle with him, Rodrigo, the stronghold and shield of Castile, must continue to serve his sovereign. But despite the fact that he is respected by the people and loved by her, Jimena must fulfill her duty - the killer will die.
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However, Jimena hopes in vain for the royal court - Ferdinand is immensely delighted with the feat of Rodrigo. Even royal power is not enough to adequately thank the brave man, and Ferdinand decides to use the hint given to him by the captive kings of the Moors: in conversations with the king, they called Rodrigo Sid - lord, sovereign. From now on, Rodrigo will be called by this name, and his name alone will thrill Granada and Toledo.
Despite the honors shown to Rodrigo, Jimena falls at the feet of the sovereign and begs for vengeance. Ferdinand, suspecting that the girl loves the one whose death he is asking for, wants to test her feelings: with a sad look, he informs Jimena that Rodrigo died of his wounds. Jimena turns deadly pale, but as soon as he learns that Rodrigo is actually alive and well, he justifies his weakness by saying that if her father's killer had died at the hands of the Moors, it would not have washed away her shame; allegedly she was afraid that now she is deprived of the opportunity to take revenge.
As soon as the king has forgiven Rodrigo, Jimena announces that whoever defeats the Count's murderer in a duel will become her husband. Don Sancho, in love with Jimena, immediately volunteers to fight Rodrigo. The king is not too fond of the fact that the life of the most loyal defender of the throne is not in danger on the battlefield, but he allows a duel, while setting the condition that whoever comes out victorious, he will get the hand of Jimena.
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Rodrigo is to say goodbye to Jimena. She wonders if Don Sancho is really strong enough to defeat Rodrigo. The young man replies that he is not going to battle, but to execution, in order to wash away the stain of shame from Jimena's honor with his blood; he did not allow himself to be killed in a battle with the Moors, since then he fought for the fatherland and the sovereign, but now it is a completely different case.
Not wanting Rodrigo's death, Jimena first resorts to a far-fetched argument - he cannot fall by the hand of Don Sancho, since this will damage his fame, while she, Jimena, is more grateful to realize that her father was killed by one of the most glorious knights of Castile - but in the end in the end asks Rodrigo to win in order not to marry her unloved.
Confusion grows in Jimena's soul: she is scared to think that Rodrigo will die, and she herself will have to become Don Sancho's wife, but the thought of what will happen if the battlefield remains for Rodrigo does not bring relief to her.
Jimena's reflections are interrupted by Don Sancho, who appears before her with a drawn sword and starts talking about the just ended duel. But Jimena does not let him say two words, believing that Don Sancho will now begin to boast of his victory. Hurrying to the king, she asks him to have mercy and not force her to go to the wreath with Don Sancho - let the winner take all her good, and she herself will go to the monastery.
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In vain Jimena didn't listen to Don Sancho; now she learns that as soon as the fight began, Rodrigo knocked the sword out of the hands of the enemy, but did not want to kill the one who was ready to die for Jimena's sake. The king proclaims that the duel, albeit short and not bloody, washed away the stain of shame from her, and solemnly hands Jimena Rodrigo's hand.
Jimena no longer hides his love for Rodrigo, but still can not become the wife of his father's killer. Then the wise king Ferdinand, not wanting to commit violence against the girl's feelings, suggests relying on the healing property of time - he appoints a wedding in a year. During this time, the wound on Jimena's soul will heal, while Rodrigo will perform many feats for the glory of Castile and its king.