Abraham, Claude. Pierre Corneille. New York: Twayne, 1972. Geared for the general reader; all quotations are in English. Gives a short biographical sketch and discusses the structure, themes, and style in Corneille’s plays. Shows the significance of The Cid in Corneille’s works.
Bénichou, Paul. Man and Ethics: Studies in French Classicism. Translated by Elizabeth Hughes. Garden City, N.Y.: Doubleday, 1971. Treats the social and moral conditions of life during the seventeenth century. Brilliantly considers the relation between aesthetic and moral values in literature.
Cook, Albert Spaulding. French Tragedy: The Power of Enactment. Chicago: Swallow Press, 1981. Presents an interesting discussion concerning the style of the neoclassical play. The quotations are in both French and English.
Moore, Will Grayburn. The Classical Drama of France. Oxford, England: Oxford University Press, 1971. Provides information about the form of the French neoclassical play. Explains the background of The Cid.
Yarrow, P. J. Corneille. New York: Macmillan, 1963. A general study of Corneille’s plays that presents their structure and relates them to their epoch. An excellent treatment of The Cid’s importance in the developing of seventeenth century French neoclassicism.
Much of the action of this play is stimulated by honor. It is for his father's honor that Don Rodrigue challenges his future father-in-law to a duel in the very beginning of the play. Before doing so, Rodrigue contemplates honor and how it affects his life. His father was dishonored by a slap in the face and the fact that his arm was too weak to challenge Don Gomes. Rodrigue is left with little choice. Honor dictates that he must fight Don Gomes. If his father is dishonored, then he too is dishonored. And honor, in this play and during this time, was more important than love. For if Rodrigue is dishonored, then it follows that he is unworthy of the love of Chimene.
Chimene also must deal with the concept of honor. She believes that her own father was dishonored by the duel with Rodrigue during which...
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