The Cantor de mio Cid tells the story of a Spanish warrior who, disinherited by his king and driven from his lands, finds wealth, social success, validation, and acceptance through his great military prowess and strength of character.
Nobility and Class
An epic about a highly successful social climber, the Cantar de mio Cid has much to say about the concept of nobility. For example, the Infantes de Carrión are characterized as members of the upper nobility, they have vast land-holdings and enjoy high status in King Alfonso's court. They marry the Cid's daughters for their money, but later describe these marriages as "concubinage," implying that this match is null and void because of the vast difference in class between the Infantes and the Cid.
According to medieval Spanish law, those of illegitimate birth cannot legally marry, and can only be concubines, rather than legitimate wives. The hint of illegitimacy can be found in lines 3377-3381, where the brother of the Infantes, Ansur, implies that the Cid is the son of a miller. In the later romances of the Cid, the tradition notes that the Cid's father raped a miller's wife, who gave birth to the Cid. The allusion to bastardy on the part of the Cid and, by extension, his daughters, makes the theme of nobility even more dramatic, especially when someone of such low birth garners enough allies and supporters to challenge the insults to the Cid's family's legitimacy...
(The entire section is 1150 words.)
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