When is one guilty of something, when one commits the reprehensible deed, and only one knows it, or when it is made known to others Ph dre thinks that the latter case is a great deal worse, worse even than death je meurs pour ne point faire un aveu si funesteje n en mourrai plus, j en mourrai plus coupableAnd so probably did Racine, because in his Ph dre, the action is activated by Ph dre s avowal of her guilt which she makes three times These three long soliloquies are amongst the most famous parts of the play She is guilty of loving her stepson and she acknowledges this to her confidente Oenone , to her stepson Hyppolite , and to her husband Th s e These three confessions trigger the drama that unfolds irremediably fast, bringing the tragic downfall of both guilty and non guilty.But the interest of this play is not in the plot, but in the themes that Racine so lyrically develops Love coupled with jealousy as a fatal damnation Treachery as the worst ignominy that can be suffered and inflicted Choices that remain captive and render Destiny unavoidable And expectedly in Racine, the power of the word as the vehicle for the human soul.Racine s tragedies are distilled drama They are tragedies at their purest in which there is the very minimum of extraneous material Respecting the three Aristotelian units of one place, one theme and one unit of time one day , Racine also added the typically 17th century French concept of biens ance or propriety He approached the three units by emptying them as much as possible The place is no place, but just an enclosing undefined lieu that traps the tragic heroes and heroines in their own disarrays The action takes place elsewhere and the messengers just inform the enclosed heroes about them The resulting single action we see acted is no action at all, but the soul s suffering them in a way similarly to Baroque opera in which the recitatives tell the story and the arias sing the feelings With so much material stripped out, then everything can happen quickly We end up not been aware of whether it all happened in one day, or in an accelerated, condensed and immeasurable eternity On the stage are left the abstract concepts that do not resolve.For Ph dre has remained guilty.I have reread this play as a complement to reading Marcel Proust s La recherche du temps perdu as part of the 2013 The Year of Reading Proust Group And since it is a play I have sought to watch it acted out I found this DVD and therefore my review will comment on this production as well.I should add that, sadly, this is the only filmed production of a Racine play that I have been able to find Are they commercially so unattractive When I lived in Paris I was on a budget but was willing to stand and queue, for sometimes close to two hours, to be able to get the cheapest tickets FF12 for the Com die Fran aise performances Corneille, Marivaux, but mostly Moli re and Racine In one year I did not miss one single production.I am lucky that I have seen some wonderful productions of Racine at the CF then The stage settings were bare The accoutrements for emphasizing the Drama were almost only the costumes that the characters wore, with their flowing tunics and floating capes and veils They were simple but made out of absolutely exquisite materials Contrasting hues in the clothing paralleled opposite personalities while subtle gradations in color tones marked allegiances Only tenuously would they distract from the declaimed verses The acting was selective Racine s characters do not move abruptly nor do they gesticulate while they converse They do not need to touch since they reach each other with their words Racine s heroes and heroines are walking and speaking souls When in this DVD Ph dre first appears on the stage as a crouching and limping neurotic woman I was shocked that this could be a Racine Queen I had been expecting a dignified dame whose august and majestic body carried the full weight of suffering in a stately manner Ph dre is most famous for her remarkable and very long monologues, known to be so difficult to deliver well that they can make or unmake an actress It seems that theatre critics count their career in France by the number of Ph dres they have attended The legendary Sarah Bernhardt was unforgettably photographed in this role.But this unappealing first entrance of a broken and bent Ph dre in my DVD is, further, followed by somewhat hysterical characters who shout at each other their love and longings Their incensed and broken sentences and undue emphasis at invented syncopations ruins Racine s verses and rhyme For Racine was a master of the Alexandrines, the twelve syllable verses with a clear caesura in its exact middle His iambic hexameters establish a cadential rhythm which measures an even pace True, at selected times he breaks and joins the verses with a skillful enjambement the continuation of a thought in the following verse that has an effect of an accelerated train of thought, but this enjambement ought not to interfere with a mellifluous enunciation of the lines His verses should have the lulling effect of a hypnotic lullaby In the DVD production, with its broken chants and histrionic acting, a worthy exception is Th ram ne s account of Hyppolite s death Were a film director of Steven Spielberg s kind get hold of Th ram ne s speech, it would be inflated it into a fantastic rendering of monsters, seas opening into abysms, and a hair raising run of frenzied and desperate horses with a fatal consequence Instead, true to Racine, a sad man, barely moving, declaims this succession of horrors, without blinking, depicting with only words the dreadful scene that gradually sinks the listening father into an unavoidable sorrow What a wonderful speech.It is not surprising that Racine s selected use of words and exquisite ability with the Alexandrines would fascinate someone as careful and sensitive to the power of language as Marcel Proust We have Proust s explicit admiration for the way Racine could twist the very formal structure of his verses and with a broken syntax add ambiguity and richness to his meaning These examples he gave are from Andromaque Pourquoi l assassiner, Qu a t il fait A quel titre Qui te l a ditBut it was the poignant portrayal of guilty love in Ph dre that obsessed Proust And it is this play, which he knew in its entirety by heart, that he has associated to his fictional actress La Berma and which figures in La recherche repeatedly After this wonderful reading I will proceed with the rereading of plays by Racine and with the listening of Rameau s Opera, Hippolyte et Aricie. a tragic play , Explores the Depths of the Human Soul fascinating in its complexity..Ph dre the young and second wife of the king Theseus, fall in love with his son Hippolytus,her obsession disrupts her,she was losing her mind, sees Hippolytus everywhere her offerings and prayers to change destination was in vain..she had Hippolytus exiled,and dismissed him from her presence However, she soon discovered that she could not remove his love from her heart It remained So she wished for death as the only way to end her Destined Love and, to punish herself for her betrayal and forbidden and cursed love but the sudden announcement of Theseus death changed everything,she gives up her suicide plan and decided to enjoy life again.She lost control over herself and confess to Hippolytus her secret and passionate love, her confession has had an unexpected result,he has no pity on her and was in disgrace because of her shameful confessionTheseus return And stopped the false rumors of his death,At first, Ph dre panic,again threatens suicide,but knowing Hippolytus s crush on the princess Aricia her hysterical rage ,fear and jealousy make her leave Oenone her nurse accuses Hippolytus of attempting to seduce her, Theseus is completely deceived Theseus believed her and cursed Hippolytus with one of the three curses he had received from Poseidon As a result, Hippolytus horses were frightened by a sea monster and dragged him to his death..Phaedra feels guilty , she felt a total horror of herself, Recognizing the atrociousness of her crime, and the excruciating pain and feeling of disgust ,she declared the innocence of Hippolytus,and then committed suicide. I missed these French classics. Let s see thwarted love, betrayal, implied incest, heinous lies, father son love triangle with wife stepmother, and a whole lot of death at the end Um, yeah, that s the recipe for a pretty awesome story Phaedra, married to Theseus, has always nurtured a secret love for his son, Hippolytus When she receives news that Theseus is dead, she finally confesses her love to Hippolytus, who is in love with Aricia and is disgusted by his step mother s advances But, hey, guess what Theseus isn t dead and returns just in time for all Hades to break loose.Soap operas have nothing on ancient Greek drama Plus, on All My Children, you never get a half bull half dragon sea beastie sent by Neptune to torch our hero into a crispy critter before his horses go mad, crash the chariot, and then drag him to death And I have to believe that s worth something.Cross posted at This Insignificant Cinder 4.5 Uma das v rias vers es desta obra inspirada na mitologia Apesar de algumas discrep ncias entre os diversos autores no andamento do drama, todos eles comungam no fundamental um amor incestuoso, uma mulher rejeitada, vingan a e morte Dram tico e intenso Gostaria de ver isto no teatro. . En , Ph Dre, La Derni Re Grande Trag Die De Racine, Met En Sc Ne La Mythique Descente Aux Enfers D Une Incomprise Vou E Au Malheur Par Son H R Dit , Ph Dre Aime Sans Espoir Son Beau Fils Hippolyte Lorsque Son Mari, Th S E, Revient, Il Envoie Injustement Son Fils La Mort On Assiste Alors L Empoisonnement D Une Femme La Fois Innocente Et Coupable Ironie Tragique Qui D Montre Quel Point L Amour Peut Se Vivre Comme Une Mal Diction Tous les adolescents tombent d abord amoureux d Antigone, parce que c est la r volte adolescente C est quand tu tombes amoureux de Ph dre que tu sais que tu as grandi J avais quatorze ans, et je connaissais par c ur la tirade J aime Ne crois pas qu au moment que je t aime, Innocente mes yeux C tait le tout d but d un vrai amour de th tre. There s an old Communist era joke, quoted in the movie The Lives of Others, about the Party Leader s conversation with the Sun The punchline is Fuck off, I m in the West now In Racine s play, Ph dre also has a conversation with the Sun When I looked at the footnote, I discovered that they were in fact close relatives.Well as everyone knows these days, being born into a rich, powerful family isn t exactly a guarantee that you re going to have a happy life Generally, you marry someone you don t much like, get involved in an affair with a nasty but attractive person, and then it all goes from bad to worse That s pretty much what happens to Ph dre But at least Racine makes it into a great story, which is than you can say for your average royal gossip columnist. Greek families Histrionics, rash reaction instead of considered response, inability to control emotion Tragedy THIS REVIEW HAS BEEN CURTAILED IN PROTEST AT GOODREADS CENSORSHIP POLICYSee the complete review here GR only bit So if Goodreads was ever a family, it s now clear that it was one that escaped from a Greek Tragedy It s fairly obvious that all the things in the first sentence of this review can be applied to the GR family the only questions now is how many corpses are going to pile up as the Tragedy unfolds and whether we can summon a Diety to resolve the conflict for the futureno sign of Athena yet, s the pity.
Jean Baptiste Racine was a French dramatist, one of the big three of 17th century France along with Moli re and Corneille , and one of the most important literary figures in the Western tradition Racine s dramaturgy is marked by his psychological insight, the prevailing passion of his characters, and the nakedness of both plot and stage Although primarily a tragedian, Racine wrote one comedy.
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