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Title: Truth, Deception and Self-Deception in 'Le Cid'
Contributor(s): Gossip, CJ (author)
Publication Date: 2003
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Abstract: Corneille originally opened Le Cid with a brief discussion between Chimène's father, Don Gomès, Comte de Gormas, and his daughter's maid Elvire.1 The latter reports that Chimène is treating all her many suitors, including Don Rodrigue and Don Sanche, 'dedans' indifference' (I.i.7), leaving her father to choose a husband for her. Although considering both front-runners worthy, the Comte says that he would be particularly happy to have Rodrigue as a son-in-law. But he asks Elvire to elicit Chimène's feelings without revealing his preference and to report back after his attendance at a meeting at which he expects to be chosen as tutor to the King's son. In the even shorter scene which immediately follows, the suivante conveys the good news to her mistress: 'Il estime Rodrigue autant que vous l'aimez' (I.ii.38); 'Il passe bien plus outre, il approuve ses [Rodrigue's] feux' (I.ii.41). Chimène, however, is at first cautious (I.ii.39), then 'troublée', 'accablée' (I.ii.47, 48).It is thus clear that the Comte's instructions of 1637 are not carried out to the letter. Neither woman, indeed, is seen with him again, and we must assume that he dies offstage in Act II without having met either. Yet, if Corneille modified the two scenes later, it was surely not because he felt that, in this respect, his audience or readers were being misled. What the original text tells us is that the suivante has successfully hoodwinked the person who claims that his renown 'sert de rempart à toute la Castille' (I.iv.192) into believing that his daughter is even-handed in her dealings with men, whereas both women know that such is not the case.These initial glimpses of father and daughter are important: the overweening Comte, who will meet his match very shortly, is shown to have a human face and a not unrealistic view of Rodrigue and his father Don Diègue, while Chimène, who speaks only nine lines,comes across as deeply in love but hesitant to the point that 'dans ce grand bon-heur je crains un grand revers' (I.ii.50).
Publication Type: Journal Article
Source of Publication: Papers on French Seventeenth Century Literature, 30(58), p. 57-70
Publisher: Gunter Narr Verlag
Place of Publication: Tubingen, Germany
ISSN: 0343-0758
Field of Research (FOR): 200511 Literature in French
Peer Reviewed: Yes
HERDC Category Description: C1 Refereed Article in a Scholarly Journal
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