El Cid

Essay by PaperNerd ContributorCollege, Undergraduate May 2001

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The movie El Cid tells the story of Rodrigo Diaz de Vivar,the great warrior who led the fight to unite the Christians and the Moors to form a unified Spain. The story takes place in the eleventh century, a time when the Arab and European worlds clashed, with the new religion of Islam battling the might of Christianity.

The legend of El Cid begins when Rodrigo stops to fight a battle with a group of Arabs, led by the Emir of Zaragoza, on his way to his wedding. After the battle is over, instead of killing his prisoners, Rodrigo sets them free-- against the wishes of his fellow Christians, who believe all Moors deserve to be put to death. Because of this act of chivalry and mercy, the Emir swears his loyalty with Rodrigo and gives him the name El Cid. However, King Ferdinand and his follows charge Rodrigo with treason.

Because of this charge , Rodrigo's father begins a quarrel with Count Gomez of Oviedo, not only the King's champion , but also the father of Rodrigo's love , Chimene.

Rodrigo's father is far too old to fight , leaving Rodrigo to defend his father's honor , even if it means killing Chimene's father. As a result of this skirmish , Count Gomez is killed and pleads for Chimene to avenge his death. Soon after this occurrence King Ferdinand is approached by a neighboring kingdom and challenged to a duel . Because Rodrigo killed the king's champion, he offers to represent their kingdom.

Rodrigo does well and wins the duel. As a reward, the king gives him Chimene's hand in marriage even though, in her father's honor, she will never again truly love him. In order to attempt to avenge her fathers death , Chimene plots Rodrigo's murder,