Pierre Corneille's Le Cid focuses on a legendary hero of the twelfth century Spain, and his feats of heroism, rivalry, and honour. It is Corneille's opinion that dramatic poetry is a portrayal of the actions of men, that is to say, his writing was intended to depict, or imitate the actions of men. But a more pervading definition that is evident in the play, is that man's actions are the result of fate, not of man's own will or action. It seems that Corneille's primary function is to demonstrate man's emotion defined by their actions. It would be more accurate to say that the emotion acted out by the characters demonstrate that man's actions are more the result of circumstance. Each character finds themselves in a situation that is out of their control, but is to be decided upon by fate. This fate takes many forms in Le Cid. Chimene cannot know the course of her future until it is determined by a duel. Don Diego can only hope that fate rules in his favor, so that Rodrigo will win the duel against Don Gomez in order to avenge his name. Ultimately, it is the fate of Don Gomez to die at the hands of Rodrigo. The Infanta stifles her passions for Rodrigo because fate has delivered a circumstance out of her control. It is fate that allows Rodrigo's army to defeat the Moors, thus allowing him the reward of relating his victory to the King. Corneille's vision is pessimistic of the human condition, where a person is a victim of themselves and their impulses. In fact, instead of the notion that dramatic poetry is a portrayal of man's actions, it is actually a portrayal of man's emotions resulting from powerlessness and vulnerablility. It seems that the play focuses on human will, the will striving for freedom, and the fashioning of one's own destiny. It is my opinion that in this play, humans are depicted as helpless victims of fate, opposed to the deliberate actions of men.
The characters of Le Cid are not in control of their actions, but instead are...
Please join StudyMode to read the full document