Jean Racine

Phèdre, by Jean Racine - click to see full size image

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Phèdre is a dramatic tragedy in five acts written by 17th-century dramatist Jean Racine, and first performed in 1677. The play is based on Greek mythology, specifically the story of Phaedra, the wife of Theseus, King of Athens. The play unfolds in the royal court of Theseus, where Phèdre, his young wife, develops a forbidden and consuming passion for her stepson, Hippolytus, who is actually harbouring a forbidden love for Aricia, the sole survivor of the royal house supplanted by his father. Phèdre is consumed by guilt and shame over her feelings, but ultimately confesses her love to Hippolytus, after she learns that her husband is dead. However, when Theseus returns very much alive, tragedy ensues, as both Hippolytus and Phèdre seek to hide their feelings and intentions.

Part of the Encyclopaedia Britannica’s Great Books of the Western World set.

Part of the Harvard Classics set.

This book has 13,645 words, 49 pages in the PDF version, and was originally performed in 1677. This is a translation by Robert Bruce Boswell.

Production notes: This ebook of Phèdre was published by Global Grey on the 28th March 2024. The artwork used for the cover is 'Hippolitos, after the confession of Phedra, his mother-in-law' by Étienne-Barthélémy Garnier.

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