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Topics for Further Study

(Epics for Students)

When the apparently advantageous marriages between the Cid's daughters and the high-born Infantes de Carrión have been contracted, the daughters thank their father, saying, "Since you have arranged these marriages, we are sure to be very rich." What is the place of women in the society described in the Cantar de mio Cid? Compare the different women in the epic, including Ximena and her ladies in waiting. What is the traditional role of women in epics? How is the Cid different? Why do you think later interpretations of the legend of the Cid concentrated so intensely on Ximena as a heroine?

The Cid is well-known for its relativistic portrayal of Muslims and Christians, especially compared to the contemporary epic the Song of Roland, where "the Christians are right and the pagans are wrong." Research the intercultural relationships between Christians, Jews, and Muslims in Spain in the Middle Ages. Try to present the points of view of each of these groups about the other communities. Have some of the stereotypes about Christian, Muslim, and Jewish cultures persisted in the twentieth century?

The Cantar de mio Cid displays a restless "frontier spirit" in which a growing population turns its attention to new lands to conquer. Find narratives of the American West and compare them to passages in the Cid that demonstrate similar attitudes towards a frontier.

The Cid, as a character, is sometimes called the "most successful medieval outlaw." Compare the legends of other outlaws, such as Robin Hood, Jesse James, Billy the Kid, Blackbeard, Jean Lafitte, Joachim Murieta, to the Cid. What is their relation to authority figures, such as King Alfonso? What function might these legends play in a given society? What constitutes a "successful" outlaw, and does the Cid qualify?