A Cornelian dilemma (choix cornélien) is a dilemma in which someone is obliged to choose between two courses of action either of which will have a detrimental effect on themselves or on someone near to them. In classical drama, this will typically involve the protagonist experiencing an inner conflict which forces them to choose between love and honour or inclination and duty.

The Cornelian dilemma is named after French dramatist Pierre Corneille, in whose play Le Cid (1636) the protagonist, Rodrigue, is torn between two desires—that of keeping his girlfriend Chimène's love and that of avenging his father, who has been wronged by Chimène's father. Rodrigue can either seek revenge and lose the love of his beloved, or renounce revenge and lose his honour.

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