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Unformatted text preview: One of Racine's contemporaries, Guez de Balzac, in a well-known statement, noted that Corneille portrayed characters as they should be and Racine as they were. It is true that compared with Corneille's heroic figures, Racine's characters seem to be made of much more mortal clay. But Racine is anything but a realist in the modern sense. The seventeenth century did not strive for cinematic effects. It focused only on those aspects of man which transcend time and place. In other words, it sought universality. Racine's characters do not have the uniqueness, the collection of idiosyncratic traits, which distinguishes one individual from another. They are sketched through a few fundamental characteristics such as pride, ambition, and, above all, love. Within this simplification Racine enforces a further reduction. Phaedra does not experience every possible aspect of her violent passion. Racine has omitted, for instance, the ambiguity of love's possible aspect of her violent passion....
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This note was uploaded on 11/27/2011 for the course ENG 101 taught by Professor Staff during the Fall '08 term at Texas State.
- Fall '08