During the Renaissance, France was slavishly following the classic patterns in its drama, particularly those laid down by Aristotle in his famous definition of tragedy. Plays observed the unities — of place (only one setting), time (twenty-four hours), and action (everything in the play points toward one major conflict). There was no violence on stage; battles and fights were told about, sometimes at great length. The plays concerned an important and heroic character, usually Roman or Greek, although one of the first French classic plays was Le Cid, by Corneille, which dealt with Spanish history. The heroes of these plays always had a tragic flaw and were dogged by fate. The plays were in verse. Racine, in the latter part of the seventeenth century, wrote such beautiful and perfect plays after this model that French drama of the eighteenth century was simply repetitious.
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Hugo, necessity. Local color, English historical characters, French classic plays