Discussion Questions

For Talk on Corneille's "The Cid"

Please join us for a talk on Pierre Corneille's The Cid to be held Wednesday,
March 31, from 6:30 p.m. to 8:30 p.m. in the small meeting room on the 2nd floor of the West End Library. The talk is third in the discussion series on the theme of love and strife in literature sponsored by the West End Library Friends. The presenter is Ori Z. Soltes, resident scholar in theology and fine arts at Georgetown University. Discussion questions will be as follows:

1. What is Corneille’s overriding focus in this play? What is the double issue whose two components primarily contend with each other for him?

2 How does that double issue come to intersect the issue of love and strife?

3 How does the Greek and (less overtly, but equally importantly) Biblical concept of choice—of free will (as opposed to no choice, but for what reasons: human action? Fate? God?)—play a role, particularly for Rodrigue?

4 For whom else besides Rodrigue and Chimene do these issues intersect?

5 What mechanism(s) does the playwright use to extend the time between the setting of the primary "problem" and its resolution?

6 What role is played by the King in broadening the framework of love and strife?

7 What universal message(s) might be on the playwright’s mind, if any?

8 How might we imagine the concerns expressed by Corneille to function either as a mirror of or a conceptual prescription for the society in which and for which the play was written?

9 Why does Corneille choose to place his drama elsewhere than in his own society and world? What is the historical/cultural context that he has chosen?

10 Why is this play labeled by some a tragicomedy? What is comic—or at least other than tragic about it?