First, a reminder of how awesome this school is: today the chapel bells were playing...the Indiana Jones theme. Yes. I laughed out loud--no, really, in real life out loud.
And now, back to our show. For French, we have to read Le Cid, and I just finished. Man, I am all over this play like white on rice. Not only is it wonderfully written, to the degree where it takes all my force of will not to start declaiming in public while reading, but it hits like all of my general-writing kinks.
For example: Our Heroine and the Infanta like each other, despite both being in love with Our Hero. (Or, well, Our Heroine may not know. But the Infanta does.) In fact, she angsts about it, because she knew she couldn't marry a mere knight and therefore set him up with Our Heroine. But she loves him anyway. But she doesn't want to. But she never acts like she dislikes or bears a grudge against Our Heroine on this account. She set them up! She wants them to be happy! Despite being the Other Woman, she's not OMGevilMcBitchy! (Two female characters, romantic rivals at that, who like each other? Never happens.)
For further example: I love so hard stories where the source of the conflict is in the characters' virtues. What keeps the lovers apart is that they're too honorable! I loooooove that! It also makes them look like much more cohesive characters, since traits they love in each other and that are considered virtues get in the way. (As opposed to the all-too-frequent Mary Sue style where they seem to have no flaws, or only informed flaws.)
And also: the main issue comes from honor vs. love, which can be a dicey affair when I'm reading fiction written in/about a different time period, because sometimes it seems like they're making mountains out of molehills. And honor depends on society so much, it's tricky to convince me that (whatever) will reduce their honor. But here, it works, mostly because all the other characters know the trap the lovers are in and agree that yeah, that's a no-win situation there. It's a much clearer picture of societal values. (Note that everyone else, including the king, still thinks the heroine goes a bit too far, but, again, character trait.)
While I'm on the subject, there's no misunderstanding between the lovers. Each understands the position the other's in and sympathizes with their mutual plight. This makes it much easier for me to believe that they're in love, because it's not one of those plots that'd be solved in an instant if the lovers just *talked* to each other. They *do* talk, they *do* understand each other's problems, and the problems are *still there*.
So, yeah. A rollicking good read, if you read French (or if you don't, I guess, although I doubt there's a translation nearly as good as the original), and one of the few things I've read for this class in which I honestly believe that the heroes are sympathetic, in love, and not stupid.