This is the third volume of a projected translation into English of all twelve of Jean Racine’s plays—only the third time such a project has been undertaken. Iphigenia / Phaedra / Athaliah has ratings and 13 reviews. Strongly influenced by Classical drama, Jean Racine () broke away from the grandiose. Racine alone would be a worthy reason to learn French. Achilles is sexy af. Much less attention to Iphigenia than in Euripedes, but I prefer this version.

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The problem with this play is that there is a happy ending, which no doubt would have impressed the original audience who were probably not that familiar with the story, in the same way most of us moderns are not familiar either. In this story Abraham, after waiting a very long time and growing to an age that nobody could consider him to be fit to have a child, gives birth or his wife iphiggenia to a son. Racine alone would be a worthy reason to learn French.

The third play, Athaliah, is based on the Old Testament story of Athaliah, queen of Judah and follower of the pagan god Baal, and Jehoiada, high priest of the temple of Jerusalem the rwcine priest of Jehovahwho wants to restore the kingship of Judah to the House of David.

Five stars for quality of writing and powerful storylines. It is based on the story from Kings of Athaliah and her grandson Joash, rulers of the kingdom of Judah.

Erifila hesitates for a moment, but jealousy is stronger, and the captive decides to tell Kalkhasa everything. Alban Lecloirec rated it it was amazing Feb 27, Published by Penguin first published She continues to defend her father and insists on the need for her sacrifice. Racine chooses a more obscure version of the myth, in which Iphigenia is saved when the oracle is discovered to refer to another Iphigenia. He is a master at exploring the power of erotic passion to transform and pervert the human psyche.


Julien rated it liked it Mar 02, Iphigenia gently comforts her father: I have a fitting horror for my crime; I hate this passion and I loathe my life.

This classical Greek play, rafine by Euripides who based in on Homer’s Odyssey, is a classic story involving the deepest of human passions. Open Preview See a Problem?

Everything happens at exactly the right time for the maximum amount of tragedy; it’s so well constructed that it’s a bit overconstructed.

Distraught Agamemnon, daring not to approve, To ensure that no murders fell under his gaze, Or to cover his tears, wore a veil on his face.

Iphigénie by Jean Racine

Though it’s clear through Racine’s expositions and prefaces that he struggles with various aspects of religion and his Racine has always been on my periphery as someone I should read but to be honest, I’ve not bothered till I wandered into an Oxfam bookstore and found this book with the play Athaliah in it. His story here is based on Greek myth, the source of several of his plays, and iphigenka Iphigenia covers the same ground as a play by Euripides, in this case Hippolytus.

Racne complications of sin and pre-emptive guilt are moving, even if disturbing. Clytemnestre is beside herself with grief and despair, conjuring up the god of thunder at the end of her apocalyptic invocations.

The Complete Plays of Jean Racine

She feels unable to help herself, but is horrified by her desire for Hippolytus – in fact, she is almost driven mad by the guilt she feels. Iphigenia is taken away, and soon Clytemnestra hears thunderous rumblings — this Kalkhas sheds the blood of the gods on the altar!

Iphigenia combines two different versions of her story, creating a strange deus ex machina in the end. This is the opposite of the modern charismatic Christian viewpoint, for example, that miracles are a sign rcaine to convince non-believers.


Achille arrives to offer her the support of his troops. Agamemnon reminds him of the imminent death under the walls of Troy, but Rqcine does not want to hear anything: Port-Royal was run by followers of Jansenism, a theology condemned as heretical by the French bishops and the Pope. Account Options Sign in. Here Agamemnon has everything lined up; he has been chosen, out of many competing kings, to lead the military expedition against Troy that will restore honor to Greece after the way Paris and Helen shamefully skipped town together.

The princess asks the bridegroom to grant freedom to Eryphile at this joyous time for both of them, and Achilles readily promises. I thought this was the weakest play of the three despite its general acclaim. While the psychological study of Phaedra is interesting and very poetically expressed, her character rather overbalances the play. He rejected the story of the hind, probably because of his early background as a Jansenist.

Iphigenia is pictured here blandly stoic, paled by the more complex emotions of the tragic Eriphile who serves the improbable resolution of the knot. In Iphigenia, by contrast, the family is not dysfunctional: How frightened Achilles was frightened for Iphigenia! Ilhigenia, with her immense love for him, she became angry with heaven.

Iphigenia: Clytemnestra’s Monologue

Especially “Phaedra” is a very strong play. Having doubts about his duplicitous scheme, Agamemnon’s message now tells of Achille’s rwcine from the planned marriage.

The poetry, as conveyed through John Cairncross’ translation, is dramatic and moving. The boy is of course her grandson, though he does not know his own origins. View all 3 comments. Much like Solomon, he appears forced to make a choice.