Research Paper On El Cid

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The Making of a Man into a Legend El Cid, a historical film produced in 1961 tells the story of Rodrigo Diaz de Vivar, a Spanish hero reverently titled El Cid for his prowess in battle, patriotism, and acceptance of Moors in a time when different religions divided Spain. As the tales of El Cid are transmitted through oral tradition, poems, plays, and movies, the man is lost and the legend of the Cid is born. In the movie starring Charlton Heston as the title character, Rodrigo Diaz can do no wrong. Indeed, it is paradoxically implied many times that Rodrigo’s infallibility is his only flaw: honor requires him to avenge his father by dueling his future father-in-law, duty compels him to lead renegade Spanish forces instead of peacefully living…show more content…
Although constantly tested, Rodrigo never chooses his personal desires (i.e. his family) over his duty to Spain. Rodrigo’s true test comes when King Alfonso holds Chimene and his twin daughters as hostages in the dungeons: “Am I not a man, too, like you? May I not sometimes think of my wife? My children? Well then, what must I do?” (El Cid). However, Rodrigo remains a loyal subject of King Alfonso as Count Ordonez saves Chimene and the children before Rodrigo could take action against the king. It is this resolute morality that makes Rodrigo the Cid. “In the final sequence, his corpse leads his men into battle, strapped to his horse, the sun illuminating his armour [sic] and transforming him into a transcended [figure], more ‘the Cid’ than at any other point in the film” (69). Thus, El Cid never changed; he was always more or less the paragon of virtue but constantly El…show more content…
During the torture and crucifixion of Count Ordonez by Ben Yusuf, Ordonez defends Rodrigo to the death, claiming that his lord is unlike mortal men and would never die. The Muslim Ben Yusuf, angered by this heresy, proclaims that the upcoming battle “will be our god against yours,” indirectly recognizing the claim of Rodrigo as a god (El Cid). Throughout the film, El Cid exhibits Christ-like characteristics. The suggestions of Rodrigo as a Christ figure begin when a priest asks God to “send us someone who will take us to the light,” and, standing behind the priest as a kind of silent guardian, Rodrigo fully emerges onscreen as the answer to his prayer. Rodrigo comforts the priest and saves the statue of a cross by carrying it on his back, an obvious biblical allusion to the start of Jesus’ trials before crucifixion. Furthermore, Rodrigo’s action of removing all but one of the arrows embedded in the wooden figure of Christ at the beginning of the movie repeats at the end when he breaks off only the shaft of the arrow in his own heart (Burt 176). On his deathbed, Rodrigo understands his role as a symbol of hope to the people of Valencia. As he explains to Chimene, “They have made me their heart,” Rodrigo once again

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