Biography of Jean Racine (1639-1699)

Poet and French playwright, born in La Ferté-Milon (in the region of Valois) at the end of 1639, and died in Paris April 21, 1699. Author of a splendid theatrical production that explores with amazing lucidity in the passions of the human being within the genre of tragedy, (mainly, the loving), he/she knew how to combine singular rightly lyricism and dramatic writing, and contributed decisively to the implementation, in the French Theatre of the 17TH century, the doctrines of Greco-Roman classical antiquity, particularly of the Aristotelian rule of the three units. Some his works as Andromache (1667), litigants (1668), British (1669) and Phaedra (1677) have placed you on the cusp of dramatic literature.


Born in a family of jansenist confession, ignored even the exact date in which you came to the world, although it is known that he/she received the baptismal waters of December 22, 1639. Guessed that it could emerge even in the same day, since at that time it was customary to immediately christening babies, given that many of them died a few hours of existence. His father, also called Jean Racine, was an officer of the French administration fiscal inspection on taxes and tributes; his mother, Jeanne Sconin, had no other occupation than the care for the family home and raise their children. Hardly could, however, take care of the little Jean, since he/she lost his life when it still had not complied with the two years of age (1641), as a result of complications arising from the birth of Marie, the little sister of the future writer. The orphan of Jean Racine became even more crude after two years, when also died his father, who had married in second marriage with Madeleine Vol. in 1642

Collected, then, by his paternal grandfather - who also bore the name of Jean Racine-, is kid by his side until the year of 1649, date on which new death annihilated who was in charge of his supervision. It was, thus, under the protection of Marie Desmoulins, widow of aforementioned grandfather, who after the death of her husband had retired to the Abbey of Port-Royal des Champs, in which were two of his sisters and her daughter Agnès Racine, the future writer's aunt. It was as well as the young Jean Racine, at the age of ten, he/she had the opportunity to access great humanistic instruction given at the small schools of Port-Royal, where was a student of some such reputable as the Parisian literary masters Robert. Arnauld D'andilly (1588-1674), theologian and pedagogue Pierre Nicole (1625-1695), and among other scholars of the time, the Grammarian Claude Lancelot (1615-1695). After a brief period at the College of Beauvois (1653-1655), he/she returned to the classrooms of Port-Royal and began to shine by their singular achievement in studies focusing on Greco-Roman classical antiquity:, with little more than fifteen years, composed some devotional poems in latin and stood out for his excellent command of the Greek language (matter in which his jansenist teachers put special emphasisin opposition to the latinizing education imparted by "rivals" the Jesuits).

Ultimately, this fascination that pagan humanism awoke in him finally away from the Abbey of Port-Royal, though it never rid themselves of two deep lessons learned during this prolonged period of learning: the firmness of his jansenist belief and pessimistic conception of human nature (only redeemed from the tyranny of the passions through the divine intervention of grace).

In 1658, next to the twenty years of age, the young Jean Racine settled in Paris to start, at the prestigious College of Harcourt, his studies of philosophy. It was at that time when it began to be strongly interested in the art of Talia, thanks to good relations with some leading figures of the French lyrics of the Baroque, such as the fabulist Jean de La Fontaine (1621-1695). It also began to frequent the bustling Parisian theatres and to grow with remarkable inspiration poetic writing, despite the anger that this literary inclination caused in his family that he/she wanted to see it become a severe and respected theologian. But he, oblivious to these projects of those who had sustained his education, at twenty-one years of age concluded its first theatrical piece, a tragedy entitled Amasia, work that was rejected by all the companies that had offered them (and, perhaps for this reason, nowadays considered missing). Far from discouraged by this first literary failure, in the course of that year of 1660, on the occasion of Royal Weddings and the infanta María Teresa de España and Luis XIV (1638-1715), he/she composed the beautiful Ode titled "The nymph of the Seine", dedicated to the new Queen, printed immediately and disseminated by all the Court.

The following year, after initiating the drafting of Theagenes and Cariclea - a tragedy that did not conclude, and which neither retains any fragment-, he/she composed another of its already celebrated galantes poems, "The baths of Venus", mythological and also lost theme. Shortly after, with the arrival of autumn, was sent by his family to Uzès (in the region of Languedoc), where lived his uncle Antoine Sconin Canon. The purpose of their relatives was that he/she completed his studies in theology there and got an ecclesiastical benefit that make life, but the young Racine was not willing to stop composing profane verses, activity which was delivered diligently during the two years that remained in Uzès. That period of withdrawal came very well to extend its readings - above all, the works of Homer- and reflect on her literary vocation, which decided to definitely meet in 1663, when he/she realized that he/she would never be able to achieve this ecclesiastical benefit their families wished for it.

He returned, then to Paris and returned to join forums and literary Cenacle frequented by his friends writers - that had maintained a lively epistolary relationship during their stay in the Languedoc, especially with La Fontaine-; and he/she composed new Odes, aimed to please the monarch at the time, and to those who surrounded him, grew his poetic reputation in court, as the titled "on the convalescence of the King" and "The fame of the muses". Thanks to these compositions of laudatory character, Racine was introduced at the Court of Luis XIV, where he/she had the opportunity to rub shoulders with other flagship of French letters of the 17TH century figures as Molière (1622-1673) and Boileau (1636-1711), which, from then on, would share an intense and fruitful friendship.

Shortly after the death of his grandmother Marie Desmoulins (that took place in Port-Royal at the end of the 1663), Jean Racine concluded his tragedy Thebaide ou les Frères ennemis (Thebaid or brothers enemies, 1664), tables that was carried by the own Molière and its accredited theatre company. Despite this explicit support of who had already dedicated like the great theatrical monster of his time, Racine debut in Parisian scenarios went virtually unnoticed, what was no obstacle for the Sun King granted to the young playwright of La Ferté-Milon a modest pension of six hundred pounds, because it housed well-founded hopes on his literary talent. And not wrong the sovereign, as well clear was at the end of the following year, when again the company of Molière put in scene another tragedy of Racine, Alexandre le Grand (Alejandro the great, 1665), work which was a resounding success and placed permanently at the young writer among the Pleiad of the playwrights of the time. This victory, however, was clouded by his break in relations with Molière, who offended much by action certainly little gentlemanly Racine: delivery of his work to the company's representatives of the Hôtel de Bourgogne, grouping holding up a tough rivalry with the group that had launched to stardom at the author of La Ferté-Milon.

Molière was just the first of an extensive list of enemies that Jean Racine was thickening throughout his life, some of them arising only raised envy by the triumphs of the playwright, but many others - such as the renowned author of the Tartufo-aggrieved without too much touch by the own Racine. Among these last were also his old teachers and classmates of Port-Royal, which virulently attacked in a letter known as "letter to the author of the imaginary heresies", in which responded with very bad ways to a previous disapproval of the Jansenists (according to his most authoritative biographers, Racine regretted ever having written this aggressive Epistle); to further worsen its relations with the world of art and culture in which had just been integrated, in the course of that same year of 1666 fell in love with the actress Thérèse de Gorle, better known by his stage name of "the Marquise du Parc", famous for their successful performances at the heart of the company of Molière, and led to its incorporation into the Group of actors of the Hôtel de Bourgogne, with the consequent increase of the indignation of the great master of comedy. It was precisely this famous actress who played the lead role of Andromaque (Andromache, 1667), the third tragedy premiered by Jean Racine, who reaped a resounding success among critics and the public. It can be said that, from the premiere of this piece, the playwright of La Ferté-Milon was fully incorporated into the select list of the universal masters of the art of Talia.

This victory earned him a relative economic tranquillity, at a time that, following the recent death of his maternal grandfather Pierre Sconin - who had died in April 1667, seven months before the premiere of Andromache, had been virtually devoid of any help from their relatives. But, fortunately for the history of the theatre, already enjoyed at the time of good contacts in the Court (like the friendship and protection of Enriqueta of England, sister-in-law of the King), to which is added the admiration of the monarch, who, after the success of Andromache, raised the amount of your pension to eight hundred pounds.

Meanwhile, his procelosa sentimental journey ran partner to his hectic social life. On May 22, 1668, when it still coleaba the literary controversy aroused after the publication of Andromache (who had passed by the hollanders in January of that year), the girl came into the world Olivier Jeanne-Thérèse, daughter of "the Marquise du Parc"-widow of the actor René Berthelot, nicknamed "du Parc", from which came the artistic nickname of the comic - and, according to rumors that circulated around Paris, playwright of La Ferte-Milon, as they seemed to indicate clearly the two names that had been named after the small well ("Jeanne" by his supposed father, Jean Racine, and "Therese" because this is the real name of "the Marquise du Parc"). The playwright, far from worrying about silence these rumours, agreed to sponsor the creature and confirmed with this gesture all the gossip about his paternity, solidly founded - otherwise - in their notorious relationship with the actress, who died suddenly in December of that same year. The unknown nature of the evil that had led to the Tomb as unexpectedly as mysterious to the famous actress raised a new crowd of rumors about a possible direct intervention of Racine in the death of her lover, and there were even those who accused you of having poisoned the unfortunate "Marquise du Parc". After more than ten years, the writer had to face an indictment that alleged the death of the actress and the theft of their jewelry, charge that was dismissed immediately because there was no evidence that inculpasen to Racine.

A month before the death of her lover, Jean Racine had premiered his first - and, ultimately, only - comedy, Les plaideurs (litigants, 1668), work that began to arouse the concern of the partisans of Corneille (1606-1684), hitherto regarded as the brightest star in the firmament of the 17TH-century French Theatre, and suddenly threatened by the glare of the emerging of a new Star (whose regia pension amounted already to thousand two hundred pounds). This nascent rivalry with Corneille was well evident the following year, when Racine premiered a new tragedy, Britannicus (British, 1669), written specifically with the intention of ousting the famed author of Le Cid. Despite the coldness with which initially was received this last work of Racine, British eventually became a new success of the writer of La Ferté-Milon, thanks to the enthusiasm that work up in Luis XIV, who at that time was one of the staunchest supporters of the theater of Racine. So much so, that in 1670, after the premiere of a new tragedy, Bérénice (Bérénice, 1670), the monarch decreed a new increase in the pension to the playwright, thus amounting to the already considerable amount of fifteen hundred pounds.

Berenice, performed by la Champmeslé - another famous actress you end up granting favors to Racine, along with a large bouquet of lovers-Parallels, was already a direct confrontation between the still young author of Andromache and the mature Pierre Corneille, who only a week later of the resounding success by his rival, premiered a piece based on the same historical substance, and presented under the title of Tite et Bérénice (Titus and Berenice, 1670). Both playwrights had therefore taken the risky "bet" literary work in a topic and presented at the same time to the audience waiting for a fearsome popular judgment that ultimately was decanted clearly in favour of Racine, with consequent malaise of numerous supporters who was still counting Corneille. Two years later, after the premiere of Bajazet (1672), a new tragedy of Racine, the followers of his rival increased its attacks on the playwright of La Ferté-Milon, who shortly afterwards was the subject of two awards as high as his election as a member of the French Academy and his appointment as official poet of the Court; Finally, after Racine won sound following the premiere of his tragedy Mithridate (Mithridates, 1673), the followers of Corneille did not have obliged to publicly acknowledge that the new star of the French scene had ousted to the once acclaimed author of Le Cid.

In August of the following year premiered, in the gardens of Versailles, the tragedy Iphigenie (Ifigenia, 1674), work which meant a new step forward in the fame and prestige of Racine, while increasingly were more playwrights and scholars of the theatrical fact that, from a theoretical, criticizing its radical adherence to the rule of Aristotle's three units. But Royal favor continued blessing the upward progression in the Court of Racine, who before the conclusion of that year was favored with a position of general Treasurer, awarded by the own sovereign and accompanied by a few salaries that exceeded the twenty thousand annual pounds. So renowned was already the playwright in the Court, that his fame began to exceed the borders of France and reached neighboring England, where a translation into English of the Andromache tragedy was published in 1675. That same year, saw the light in his home country of two volumes that collect the theatrical production that had written until then.

It was, therefore, Racine at the height of his literary career when, shortly after the death of the little Olivier Jeanne-Thérèse (happening at the end of 1676), premiered what was called into his latest masterpiece. Phèdre (Phaedra, 1677), this is a splendid tragedy in which all his dramatic masters appeared summarized in a brief argument refined up to its maximum degree of simplicity, with the consequent desperation of the recalcitrant followers of Corneille. These, the refusal of the old playwright of Rouen to face on stage with vigorous rival (Racine had, at present, thirty-seven years of age, while Corneille was already septuagenario), convinced Jacques Pradon (1632-1698), a mediocre writer born in Rouen, to write and later released a version of the myth of Phaedra that compete with the Racine. The work of Pradon, overly jaleada by bitter critics of the playwright of La Ferté-Milon, knew a short-lived success, followed by a virulent controversy between both authors, with Exchange of satirical sonnets that came to the land of insult and personal offense. A few days after the premiere of Phèdre et Hippolyte (Phaedra and Hippolytus, 1677), of Pradon, followers of Corneille got tired of repeatedly going to the theatre to simulate, with its interested presence, a fictional triumph, which Racine continued wielding the scepter of the French scene in the second half of the 17TH century with justice.

However, a deep spiritual crisis coming you stirring from the premiere of Iphigenia suddenly departed you this world dominated by haughty pride, literary vanity and worldly ambitions. In the preface of Fedra had stated that, at that time, their sole intention to reflect the murky passions of the soul in his theatre was not the recreate the effects and accidents arising from them, but the show on the scene the evils and disorders that cause; soon after, decided to put an end to those passionate ravings in his own life journey, he/she walked away from his beloved fixed and occasional lovers and married Catherine de Romanet, a Parisian citizen belonging to the wealthy bourgeoisie, which would have seven children. To this marriage - held in Paris from June 1, 1677, with the presence of some such leading figures of art, culture, politics and society as the statesman Colbert (1619-1683), the Prince of Condé (1621-1686) and the Duke of Luynes (1620-1690) - followed, three months later, the appointment of Racine as "Historian official del Rey", title which honored you - with his good friend Boileau - own Luis XIV. In Exchange for this honor, the famous playwright pledged to abandon the cultivation of the playwriting, to be devoted only to new work of historiographer, in which are exhibited his composure and the adulation of the perfect courtier.

In 1678 he/she came to the world Jean-Baptiste, his first son officially recognized, which was followed, two years later, Marie-Catherine, the eldest of his daughters. Between both births, Racine had failed in its purpose of staying away from the theatre to collaborate with Boileau in the drafting of the fall of Phaeton (1679), an operatic libretto that can well be considered one minor work. That same year, left unscathed the serious accusations of those who had hurgado in his past to blame her death from "the Marquise du Parc" and the theft of their jewelry, imputation certainly originated in the envy that the privileged social and economic position achieved by Racine in court caused among his detractors. A result of this enviable solvency - endorsed in 1680 by Luis XIV, to raise your actual pension up to two thousand annual pounds - was the acquisition by the playwright retired, in a luxurious mansion in Paris, priced at eighteen thousand four hundred pounds.

That matured but sudden search of the daily peace and inner tranquility led him also to reconciliation with his former teachers and friends of Port-Royal, as well as the return to jansenist faith. Easily installed between the courtly gentry - arrived, even, in 1690 to be elevated to the rank of ordinary gentleman of the King, rarely awarded to a writer, during the last twenty years of his life attended the birth and raising of the rest of their copious tribe, made up of four women - Anne (1682), Elisabeth (1684), Françoise (1686) and Madeleine (1688) - and a last male - Louis (1692) - tomany years later, he/she would write the biography of his famous father.

Racine, meanwhile, continued to write some minor works putting revealed their inability to stay completely away from the dramatic creation. Thus, in 1683 he/she received ten thousand pounds on the part of the King, who had to deal with his friend and collaborator Boileau - which entered the Academy of inscriptions that same year-for writing both an opera which rejoiced at the Court during the celebration of the Carnival; and two years later, he/she composed an Idyll about peace, accompanied by the musical score of the famous composer of Italian origin Jean Baptiste Lully (1632-1687), it premiered in Sceaux in the course of a few festivities that homenajeaban Luis XIV. Finally, following the publication of the Second Edition - also in two volumes of his complete works (1687), he/she wanted to please the pleas of Madame de Maintenon (1635-?) - with which the King had married secretly in the middle of the Decade of the eighties - and this lady resumed his activity as a playwright, although now tilted only such godly matters to which it was so affectsfamous for its self-righteousness.

Still, meanwhile, performing their duties of historiographer, in 1688 was rewarded by the King with ten thousand pounds; and, at the same time, wrote some of the theatrical texts which Madame de Maintenon had commissioned him to contribute them to the spiritual education of the students of the convent of Saint-Cyr, founded by a former favorite and current wife of the sovereign. Under the condition that these pious works "love was totally banished", Racine accepted back to the cultivation of the tragedy abruptly changing thematic records, without therefore it funds one iota his inspiration and his mastery in the use of poetic and dramatic resources. They saw the light, on the makeshift stage of the convent of Saint-Cyr, Esther (1689) and Athalie (Athaliah, 1691), two splendid works - above all, the second-that revealed that new, unexpected and radical thematic shift in the theatrical production of a Racine which had definitely ignored their old inquiry in the passions of the human soul.

He alternated this resumption of his creative activity with its obligations as a historian and chronicler of the King Luis XIV, which led him to move with the French army in the campaigns of Mons (1691) and Namur (1692), and to write what they had happened (singular historiographical value of their relationship from what happened in the siege of Namur, dated that year of 1692). Shortly afterwards, after having returned to lyric poetry to write their spiritual songs (1694), received a new sample of the admiration that the Royal family was still professing you to be invited in 1695 by the own Luis XIV to stay in the Palace of Versailles, where, the following year, already serving as Secretary of the sovereign. In 1697, after the third edition of his complete works, undertook the writing of his famous history of Port-Royal, where he/she worked until the following year, in which a serious illness advised him dictate Testament and rushing to secure the future of her daughters. Thus, after pay a payment of three thousand pounds by way of dowry of his daughter Anne to the Ursulines of Melun, he/she attended, in January 1699, the wedding of Marie-Catherine. Didn't take the following spring, which received a Christian burial - in fulfillment of one of their last wills - the Abbey of Port-Royal des Champs.


Rooted jansenist Racine education determines, in good measure, thematic, conceptual and ideological aspects of his literary production, marked by a deep pessimism that originates in a total lack of confidence in the human nature. Indeed, to the Jansenists man born marked by their inability to overcome their limitations and miseries, and only the infinite grace of the Supreme being can help you to abandon this insignificance. Carried to the theater - and, in particular, to the tragedy-old generic domains, this negative conception of the human being and of all that surrounds him is reflected in its painful dependence from the tyranny of the passions, and, very pointed way, the feeling of love; and so, for Racine love is that tragic force par excellence that Leapfrogs the reason, order, and the will to impose chaos on the psyche and in the spirit of the characters, whose souls are always tormented by a unique and fatal conflict. Jealousy, hatred of the loved one that does not show a mutual love or desire to avenge a loving betrayal foot, Racine pen, give a linear action whose dramatic intensity goes in crescendo into a horrible outcome, with which the French dramatist is folded, once again, to the Aristotelian theory of Theatre (at this pointto achieve the pursued catharsis).

This unit of action, that gives to the plays of Racine's extraordinary simplicity to its storyline intrigue is concerned (because there is no more situations than those related to this passionate conflict inside players in them), perfectly embodies its scrupulous compliance with the famous "rule of the three units", according to which in a dramatic piece must maintain a unity of place (i.e.(, the facts reflected on the scene are located in one place), a unit of time (generally, reduced at the end of a day, and sometimes limited even between dawn and dusk) and a unit of action (or, what is the same, only one line plot, along with the lowest possible number of secondary stories).

It should be noted, finally, the lyrical dimension of the play by Jean Racine, who is considered one of the greatest poets of the French playwriting, and has even been seen by a considerable part of the criticism as a visionary forerunner of "pure poetry". Alexandrian verses that make up its tragedies have, indeed, a marked and exquisite musicality, as well as a refined conceptual depth pursuing online that plot sobriety that presides over all his works, a few models of simplicity and precision rarely achieved in the universal history of the theatre.


Tragedy in alexandrine verses, composed of five acts, whose action takes place "in Butroto, city of Epiro, in a room of the Palace of Pyrrhus". This, son of Achilles, is in love with the widow of Héctor, Andromache, who remains faithful to the memory of her late husband (the action begins after the Trojan war, when Andromache and her son Astyanax are prisoners of Pirro). When a Greek Embassy led by Orestes to kill Astyanax, Pirro promises to Andromache that, in Exchange for his love, will protect the boy. Then, the widow of Héctor takes a tragic decision: marry Pyrrhus to compel it to fulfill its promise and save, as well, the life of his son, and commit suicide shortly after the ceremony, in order not to betray the memory of the late Héctor. Meanwhile, Hermione, who Pirro had promised marriage before rendidamente falling in love with Andromache, agree with Orestes - who, in turn, is in love with it - on the condition that this avenge the insult that has made Pirro giving death until you get to marry his prisoner. Orestes meets the mandate and to communicate it to Hermione, causes that this, maddened by a rare combination of love and jealousy, rush to take their own lives over the corpse of Pyrrhus, which in turn gives rise to Orestes lose reason, while Andromache - safe from the Wiles of ones and others - revolt against the Greek people of Epiro.


Tragedy in five acts and in Alexandrian verse, Racine wrote with the aim of ousting to Corneille. Agrippina, mother of Nero, and donkey, tutor of the young, disagree about the consequences that can bring a violent action of the future emperor: the abduction - by his own order - of Junia, promised of his half-brother British. Although Agrippina doubts about the real reason that has led her son to this injustice - then just moved can have Junia love to hatred towards British-, has the certainty that, whatever the cause, this Act of his son has to bring dire consequences; but donkey, who believes in the goodness of his pupil, says not so. Meanwhile, British has managed to reach Junia and has been rejected by this, but not because it already does not love him, but because of the terrible threats that Nero has pressed it. But the wickedness of this is not quenched with this performance, so it looks for Narcissus, tutor of British complicity, and manages to poison her half-brother. The death of British has no effects planned by Nero, as Junia, instead of falling into his arms, takes refuge among the Vestals virgins, as he/she begins a long period of terror that just giving reason to the fateful omens of Agrippina, and showing a donkey the mistake that was.


Tragedy in alexandrine verses, composed of five acts, with which Racine returned to challenge the talents of Corneille. Tito has promised to Berenice, Queen of Judea, that should marry her, while in their inner selves, it houses many doubts about the advisability of a marriage which, as you know well, does not have the approval of the Senate. Faced with the need of splitting (and while has already confessed his love for Bérénice), Tito takes determination of reneging on his promise of marriage, and instructs Antiochus - King of Carlomagne, who is secretly in love with the Queen of Judea - that communicates its decision to the woman and return it to their lands of the East. Before embarking on this return, Berenice manages to meet Tito and reproaches him with breach of their word, but the future emperor responds that, against their will, should abide by the will of the Roman people. Meanwhile, Tito is proclaimed emperor, in effect, by the Senate, which gives rise to the firm resolve of Berenice of killing yourself, because you know that the union between the two; is completely impossible Tito, on the other hand, rushes to meet its high civic duties, but not without announcing that, if truly Berenice commits suicide, he/she will do the same. Meanwhile, Antiochus presented to Tito and informs you that it will also kill themselves if dies Berenice. The Queen of Judea, impressed by the intensity of love that both men, manifested toward her out heart of to resign ourselves to continue living without having achieved happiness. The tragic destiny of the three characters has condemned them to identical and fatal resignation.


Tragedy in alexandrine verses, composed of five acts, which is considered one of the highest dimensions of the French theater of all time. Phaedra, wife of Theseus, who has married is her second nuptials - confesses to his nurse Oenone, who is in love with Hippolytus, son been Theseus in his first marriage. With the arrival of new ones that announce the death of Theseus - who, at the beginning of the work, has already six months missing - Fedra dares to confess his passion to his stepson, to the conviction that, in its new status of widow, the love he/she feels for him not can be labeled guilty. Not so estimated by the young man, whom her stepmother; is outraged with affective feelings but the sudden emergence of Theseus puts struggling its integrity, since Oenone, preserve to Phaedra of any anger of her husband, accuses Hipolito hold an incestuous desire for Phaedra, what provokes the wrath of Theseus, who expelled his son from his home. From then on, love and jealousy waged a fierce battle in the soul of Phaedra: on the one hand, the affection that still professing to Hipólito and remorse for having been the cause of his misfortune advise you confess to her husband the truth; but, on the other hand, the news that Hippolytus loves dearly the young Aricia and is reciprocated by it enough that jealousy to devour it. While this bitter debate takes place in the consciousness of Phaedra, Theseus is informed that Hippolytus has died, victim of the curse he/she threw when, duped, drove out you of his house. Nurse Oenone, knowing were guilty of so much misfortune, it throws into the sea and put an end to his life, while Fedra appears before her husband to proclaim aloud the innocence of Hippolytus and announce, almost simultaneously, his own death, produced imminently in the eyes of a horrified Theseus, as heroin has ingested a slow but effective poison shortly before submitting to him.


It consists of five acts, last of the tragedies written by Racine, which was hatched - as already has scored above - under the condition to exclude any loving aspect of its story line. It tells the story of Jehoash, the last descendant of David, which, under the name of Eliacin, has been trained in secret by Joad, the high priest of the Temple in Jerusalem, and his wife Jehoshabeath. The Queen Athaliah, eager to put an end to all the lineage of David, had ordered to exterminate all the sons of Ahaziah; but Jehoshabeath saved the massacre joash and hid it in the temple, where, while the Queen Athaliah has established the sacrilegious worship Baal, follows with respect to the high priest. However, the ambition will cause the end of Atalia, therefore before the rumor circulating about the possibility of the Treasury of David is hidden in the temple, decided to besiege the sacred building (supported, moreover, by other signals that induce it to do so, as having seen that such Eliacin that is at all similar to a young man who appears to him in a disturbing dream(, or attend the Councils of Mathan, priest of Baal and supporter of the destruction of the Temple). In the siege, Jehoash is crowned King and, with the help of Joad, get that Athaliah enters the temple, where, after being surrounded immediately by the Warriors of the tribe of Levi, assumes its defeat and let it destroy without any resistance.