Corneille was born at Rouen, France, to Marthe le Pesant de Boisguilbert and Pierre Corneille, a distinguished lawyer. His younger brother, Thomas Corneille, also became a noted playwright. He was given a rigorous Jesuit education at the then named Collège de Bourbon which has been known as the Lycée Pierre-Corneille since 1873. At 18 he began to study law but his practical legal endeavors were largely unsuccessful. Corneille’s father secured two magisterial posts for him with the Rouen department of Forests and Rivers. During his time with the department, he wrote his first play.