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One of Racine -...

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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 
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