Pierre Corneille Writing Styles in Le Cid

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The Three Unities

The three unities, as they were called, influenced much of seventeenth-century French drama. This concept of the three unities was taken from Aristotle's On the Art of Poetry. But in truth, the way Aristotle's work was interpreted by neo-classic dramatists was faulty. The three unities, as interpreted by Jean Mairet (1604—1686), a dramatist of Corneille's time, stated that a drama should take place in one location only (unity of place); that the plot of events should unfold over the period of one day (unity of time); and that the focus of the play should be narrowed to the main events with no side plots developed (unity of action). Actually Aristotle only presented the unity of action and the unity of time as suggestions. Unity of place, he never mentioned. But the three unities, in Corneille's time, were considered mandatory in the construction of a drama. These...

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Le Cid from Drama for Students. ©2005-2006 Thomson Gale, a part of the Thomson Corporation. All rights reserved.