Student Question

In which lines from "El Cid" is the theme of honor most evident?

Expert Answers

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The theme of honor runs throughout the Song of My Cid. While his ignoble, illegitimate birth meant he was initially a man without honor, the Cid was able to gain it through his actions. An injury to his honor resulted from the royal banishment, but this was compensated by his impressive performance in battle, specifically in victories over the Moors.. Personal honor by resisting insult, as through his impressive beard, also factors into the Cid’s situation. In addition, the defense of women’s honor by opposing the daughters’ bad marriages helps him accrue honor.

For the battle victories, the king rescinds the banishment and disgrace, as well as accepting the proffered gifts seized from the Moors. The king tells him:

Beyond all this Minaya thine exemption I accord,

For all thy lands and honors are unto thee restored.

After it turns out that the daughters’ husbands have behaved badly, the Cid request that the king dissolve them and make superior matches for them. In this way, the women’s and the family’s honor is restored. He makes this request of the king, stating his true loyalty to his monarch, who in turn replies,

I will grant the thing this day:

And it shall be consented in open court straightway,

For so will grow thy glory and shine honor and thy lands.

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