The Princess of Castile, known as the ’Infanta’, has fallen in love with Don Rodrigo, a man far below her station. To try to discourage her own affection for him, she has introduced him to her close friend Chimène, the daughter of the Count of Gormas. The two fall deeply in love, and everyone expects their fathers to accept this match and arrange their marriage.
Unknown to either the Infanta or Chimène, the King has announced that Don Rodrigo’s father, Don Diego, will become governor to the young prince, as a reward for his great service to the kingdom The Count is furious to learn that this honorable position will be going to a retired soldier, and that he has been overlooked. When Don Diego approaches the Count to propose that they strengthen his position further, by uniting his son with the Count’s daughter, the Count is appalled. He deals Don Diego a terrible insult. Don Diego raises his sword at the challenge, but his old age has weakened his arm and it drops to the ground.
This moment changes everything for Don Rodrigo and Chimène. To restore his father’s honor, Don Rodrigo must challenge the Count. The Count dies at Rodrigo’s hand, leaving Chimène torn between wanting vengeance against Rodrigo, whilst still being completely in love with him. Can Chimène ever forgive the man she loves? Could she see him die? Either way, their future seems hopeless. How can the two young lovers protect the honor of their fathers, without causing themselves further pain?
Corneille’s Le Cid is a story of love, honor, and betrayal set in 11th century Spain, which has inspired many adaptations and retellings, including Massenet's well known opera Le Cid.
Le Cid guide sections