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Literature / Cantar Del Mio Cid

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When Spanish wasn't Spanish yet
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Cantar del mío Cid note  or simply El Cid is the first extensive poetic work of Spanish Literature and the only epic song of it preserved almost complete. It tells the late life of Castilian knight Don Rodrigo Díaz de Vivar. The preserved version was composed, according to most current critics, around, 1200.

The theme of the Cantar de Mío Cid is the process of recovering the honor lost by the hero, the restoration of which will bring about a greater honor than the initial situation. Implicitly, it contains a harsh criticism of the high blood or courtesan Leon nobility and a praise to the low nobility that has achieved its status on its own merits, not inherited.

The poem begins with the banishment of Cid, the first reason for dishonor, because of the legal status of royal anger, unjust because it has been provoked for intriguing liars and the consequent confiscation of their inheritances in Vivar, the kidnapping of their material assets.

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The figure of the Cid is represented in the poem in an idealized way, underlining his great heroism in battle and his fidelity to the king despite having unjustly banished him. In addition to being a great warrior, a profile of a tender person, a great believer and very faithful is drawn to us. Broadly speaking, it represents a model of a medieval Christian hero, who fights for his king against the enemies of his country and religion.


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This work provides examples of:

  • Action Dad: Don Rodrigo is a mighty warrior, and a father of two daughters.
  • Always Lawful Good: When Don Rodrigo's daughters are abused by their husbands, he demands a court instead of taking personal revenge. He wins.
  • All Jews Are Cheapskates: Rachel and Vidas
  • Badass Preacher: Bishop Don Jerónimo, who fights the moors
  • Cool Horse: Don Rodrigo's horse Babieca.
  • Damsel in Distress: Don Rodrigo's daughters, Doña Elvira y Doña Sol, when beaten by her husband's, the Infants of Carrión.
  • Dirty Coward: The Infantes of Carrión
  • Earn Your Happy Ending
  • Epic Poem: The first and most prominent in Spanish Literature.
  • Greedy Jew: Rachel and Vidas
  • Happily Married: Don Rodrigo and Doña Jimena.
  • The Hero: Don Rodrigo Díaz de Vivar el Cid.
  • The High King: King Don Alfonso de Castilla.
  • Historical Hero Upgrade: In Real Life, Rodrigo was not the Nice Guy and fervent loyal Christian he's portrayed as in this epic poem. Rather, he was a self-serving mercenary who fought both sides as he saw fit. It just so happens that he had a bigger impact fighting for the Christians than for the Moors. However, the impact this poem had essentially cemented the image of el Cid in the Spanish tradition, and has influenced literally every single piece of media about the guy ever since, one way or another.
  • Impoverished Patrician: Don Rodrigo at the beginning of the chant
  • In Medias Res: The chant begins right after Don Rodrigo is banished.
  • Language Drift: The Cantar is written in Arcaic Spanish and can be as incomprehensible to spanish speakers as Beowulf is for english speakers.
  • The Lancer: Alvar Fáñez Minaya
  • Manly Tears: El Cid cries when the king banishes him.
  • Rags to Riches: When Don Rodrigo restores his honor and reputation.
  • Riches to Rags: At the song's beginning Don Rodrigo is stripped from his possessions and reputation.


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