Thursday, May 16, 2013

The Cid As a Tragi-comedy/ Melodrama:-

The Cid As a Tragi-comedy/ Melodrama:-
          “The Cid” is one of the most outstanding works of Corneille. It is essentially the work of a young man. It has all the freshness of youth. In this respect it is somewhat like Racine’s Andromache” and still more like “Romeo and Juliet”. In the early years of literary output, Corneille was a man of very light temperament. At twenty three he published a comedy under the tile, “Melite” which his first dramatic piece. Then there was a gradual change in his outlook of life. He became a little serious. In1632, he published a tragicomedy, “Cliradre” which is romantic drama full of extravagant incidents after the manner of Alexander Hardy. But still he was in   search of his true way. Then he wrote “Médée’ which was a step ahead towards tragedy, At the end of 1636, he wrote “The Cid’ which reveal tragic conflicts.

v What is Tragi-Comedy:-
          The tragicomedy is a peculiar product of dram during the Elizabethan Age and Jacobean Age in England. IT was practiced by the great Elizabethan dramatic William Shakespeare. It combines the features of tragedy as well as comedy. Generally it begins with a tragic not and ends happily. The dramatists like Francis Beaumont and John Fletcher wrote and established the tragicomedy in England. Beaumont wrote ‘A Kind and No King’ under the Italian and French influence. John Fletcher’s “The Faithful Shepherdess’ was produced before 1610. Fletcher offered an interesting definition of the term..
”A tragicomedies is not so called in respect of mirth and killing but in respect it wants deaths which is enough to make it no tragedy, brings some near it which is enough to make it no comedies.” (Old English)
          Sir Phillip Sidney called this kind of comedy as ‘a Mongrel’. Dr. Johnson called its ‘neither e tragedy nor a comedy’. A critic like calls find it ‘incongruous in form’ Tragicomedy remained fair popular up to the closing the theaters in 1642.

v Tragic Events in Main story:-
          “The Cid” is a story of two star-crossed lovers. Two lovers are Rodrigue and Chimene. Rodrigue kills the father of his beloved Chimene in order to take revenge. Here the struggle between love and duty is presented. The fortunes of the hero and the heroines are affected by the circumstance, but their fate lies in their own hearts. It is a tragedy of the heroine who seeks her lover in her enemy. She has a very high sense of duty. She asks for something which she does not really desire. In her heart, a tragic conflict arises between love for Rodrigue and duty for her father count. Rodrigue offers her life and Chimene demands it. Thus the Rodrigue-Chimene story serves as the main tragic story.

v Comic elements in Sub-plot:-
          Here Corneille has introduced a comic subplot of the Princess of Spain – Infant. She is daughter of the king, yet has love for Rodrigue, a non-royal youth and warrior. Like Chimene she is also madly in love with Rodrigue. In the case of Rodrigue, Chimene love affair, there is a conflict between love and duty. Here the same is the conflict but with a difference. Infanta loves Rodrigue but this pride forbids her to marry a man who does not belong to Royal blood. She says to her attendant Leonara-her maid servant
          “Being the daughter of a king, none but a king is worthy of me.”

          Thus the problem of pride comes her way. But she has given her heart to Rodrigue. Then she wishes that her love for Rodrigue may flourish in Chimene. But when she comes to who that Rodrigue has killed Chimene’s father, her love for Rodrigue again bubbles up she says, “My heart files to a love Chimene has lost.”

          But once again the idea of pride surpasses her love for Rodrigue. She is again clamed down by Leonara when Chimene had decided to avenge her father’s death and wants Rodrigue’s head. Infant once again goes to Chimene and tries to subside her anger ,but when she heard about the dual between Rodrigue and Don Sancho and its conditions, she once gain start loving Rodrigue even though she is conscious  of her Royal lineage. Thus like Chimene Infanta wants to do what she actually does not desire. In fact she loves Rodrigue but When Rodrigue and Chimene reconciles with each other. Infanta is present there. She is totally changed. She is now considerate, can understand the lover- lorn heart of Rodrigue and Chimene. Chimene’s hesitation doss not rekindle her love for Rodrigue. On the contrary she says to Chime.

 “No longer weep, Chimene, Receive with joy
 this hero from the hand of me thy princess.’”

          Here her words show that now she is completed free from and desire to marry Rodrigue. She willingly transfers her love for Rodrigue to Chimene. She has reconciled with the pride of her Royal linage. She feels happy and contended. Thus Corneille has very artistically blended the comic element with the main tread of the tragedy. The tragicomedy of Infanta is skillfully enclosed in the tragedy of Rodrigue-Chime love story.

v Critic’s view:
          Some critics point out the Infanta love-story as irrelevant to the main story and thread of the work. They point out the struggle between Infanta’s love for Rodrigue and her pride which forbids her to marry a man not of Royal blood is a theme which often recurs in the dramas of the period and does not vitally affect the action and hence it is tiresome in itself. But they are not justified. In fact, the tragic touch through the Infants story has its own contribution to the main tragic action. On account of Infanta’s interference in the love affair between Rodrigue and Chime there is increase in the tension of the main tragic story.

v Characteristic of Tragic Comedy:-
          Through “The Cid” Corneille gave the French stage its first Melodrama. It is a tragicomedy because the element of fatality and disaster are generally absent through out the play. It is much more a dram of psychological action and it display conflict between will and feeling. It is rightly observed by the critic. The cid is a tragedy enclosed in one tragi-comedy.
          Love is the main force stream of this work. There are may tragic feelings expressed by the hero lover and the beloved. But at the end of the play all the tragic clouds disperse. The lovers are united when Sancho is defeated and kings order Rodrigue, he say,
“Time changes all, a deed today unmet.
May seem hereafter lawful and benign.
Yet the happy union of the lovers left the princess’s heart lovelorn -  the love that can never be rewarded.

v Conclusion:-
          Thus the play is woven wit the threads of tragic and comic elements remains true to Tragicomedy tradition.

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