Pierre Corneille

(1606-1684 / France)

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Pierre Corneille (6 June 1606 – 1 October 1684) was a French tragedian who was one of the three great seventeenth-century French dramatists, along with Molière and Racine. He has been called “the founder of French tragedy” and produced plays for nearly forty years.

Early life and plays

Corneille was born at Rouen, France, to Marte le pesant and Pierre Corneille (a minor ... more »

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  • ''Oh! how many actions, how many fabulous exploits remain without glory in the midst of the night.''
    Pierre Corneille (1606-1684), French playwright. Don Diègue, in The Cid, act 4, sc. 3 (1637). Don Diègue in despair at being too old to fight a du...
  • ''It is only blood that can wash away such an outrage; die or kill.''
    Pierre Corneille (1606-1684), French playwright. Don Diègue, in The Cid, act 1, sc. 5 (1637). Don Diègue tells his son to avenge him.
  • ''Treachery is noble when aimed at tyranny.''
    Pierre Corneille (1606-1684), French playwright. Emilia, in Cinna, act 3, sc. 4 (1641).
  • ''A monarch must sometimes rule even himself: he who wants everything must risk very little.''
    Pierre Corneille (1606-1684), French playwright. Emperor Titus, in Titus and Berenice (Tite et Bérénice), act 4, sc. 5 (1670).
  • ''To die for one's country is such a worthy fate that all compete for so beautiful a death.''
    Pierre Corneille (1606-1684), French playwright. Horace, in Horace, act 2, sc. 3 (1641).
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