The nephew of El Cid – the tortured ones. But, because of El Cid their honor is regained
from the Infantes.
Jews of Burgos –the two men tricked by El Cid.
The hero of El Cid is a Castilian soldier, Rodrigo Dias de Bivar, who is known by the Arabic title of Sidi or El Cid. The poem begins with the exile of the Cid as a result of intrigues and slander by means of which an enemy, Count Garcia Ordoňez, turns the king against him. He leaves his wife and two daughters in a monastery. To raise money he tricks two Jews of Burgos by selling them a chest which he claims to be full of gold and jewels but which in reality is filled with sand.
He sets out with three hundred faithful followers to gain his living in the small Moorish state of Aragon. Here he prospers well. He wins battle after battle and accumulates booty and ransom from the Moors. His fame attracts more followers, and with his invincible army he even defeats in battle the powerful count of Barcelona and acquires the great city of Valencia. He sends for his wife and daughters. His wealth and fame return him into King Alfonso’s favor.
The king offers to marry his two daughters to two noblemen (ricos hombres), the Infantes de Carreon, relatives of his old enemy, Count Garcia Ordonez, to which the Cid agrees. His sons-in-law are proud and insolent and marry his daughters (whom they consider beneath their rank) only because of the wealthy dowry the Cid gives them.
After the marriage, the Infantes obtain permission from the Cid to take their wives home; but away from the Cid, the bridegrooms strip their bodies naked, beat them, and run away with their dowries. They leave their young wives in the depth of the forest.
The Cid appeals to King Alfonso for justice. The king summons a court at Toledo and the cid appears before it. He demands the return of his two famous swords which the Infantes have taken. The request is granted. He demands the restoration of his daughters’ dowries. This is also granted. The third demand is the right to defend his honor by fighting the two Infantes in a single combat. While the court debates this request, two messengers arrive from the King of Aragon and the king of Navarre requesting the hands of his daughters in marriage. The Cid’s two nephews, who are present, challenge the Infantes de Carreon in single combat. The story ends with the defeat of the Infantes and the complete restoration of the Cid’s wealth and honor.
Most readers tend to focus only to the structure of the poem, story or essay itself rather than the things pertaining to the author. And furthermore, they often regret and forget who the author of the work is. For them, the name of the writer is enough.
In biographical perspective study, the author is associated in examining the piece of writing. Readers will understand more and have more answers to their questions if they have knowledge about who the author is, what kind of a person he/she is and what life does he face.
The point is, because the epic poem is wrote based on the real and actual events from history, we may understand the epic more if we know something about Rodrigo Dias de Bivar, the El Cid, his life and all the things with relevance to him. And of course, some things that are not stated in the poem may make you wonder about some occurrences in it such as what is the reason why El Cid is exiled. We all know that the intrigues and slander the jealous nobles say against El Cid is the cause of his banishment. But there’s one more that increases the possibility of his exile. And it is his unauthorized expedition in the battle of Cabra.
Some critic says that more parts of the whole epic poem show some incompleteness so they advise that the readers must have even a little background before reading the poem in order for them not only to understand but also reflect the poem to their lives.
The poem shows the life of the El Cid, and his unstoppable attitude towards defending his honor. And we may use his story as a guideline to our lives so our own rights will be protected and our own privileges are secluded.
The story is about how someone must fight for his honor. We must fight for our own rights. And why is that? Because the life you are having is yours and you are responsible of it. That’s the only one that the epic wants to emphasize. And of course, never give up for yourself not only in protecting it but also enhancing, raising and developing it.