A masterpiece of French Classicism, Le Cid presents heroic characters gripped by conflict over searing moral issues, all in a literary universe rife with benevolence and a passionate commitment to reason. Leonard Peikoff’s analysis includes such issues as: the intense drama of the conflicts flowing logically from Corneille’s brilliant plot-theme; the “Cornelian hero” — a vision of man shared by only a very few others, including Ayn Rand; love, honor and morality in the Age of Reason; and the tragic “package-deal” involved in Corneille’s concept of honor.

Spoiler alert: The lesson assumes students have read the play.

Recommended translation: Seventeenth-Century French Drama. Introduction by Jacques Guicharnaud. Random House/Modern Library, 1967.