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which has as its object the scrutiny of the human heart, goes back to the tragedy of Racine, and this, in turn, dates from the "Andromaque."

Much has been written of the art with which Racine transformed the story of Andromache to make it appeal to modern audiences and readers. According to the ancient legends, Andromache, after the fall of Troy, became the property, that is to say the slave, of Pyrrhus, son of Achilles. After she had borne him three sons, he tired of her and gave her to another slave of his, Helenus, a brother of Hector, to whom she bore another son. Euripides accepted this tradition, which was not at all repugnant to the Greeks, and so does Virgil, from whose "yEneid" Racine quotes a passage as the source of his tragedy. But the transformation effected in the French play is not all Racine's. Of all her story, the most affecting part was the touching scene in the " Iliad," in which Hector takes leave of his wife and little son before going to the fight. Andromache assures him: "But it were better for me to go down to the grave if I lose thee; for never more will any comfort be mine, when once thou, even thou hast met thy fate, but only sorrow." Popular imagination, which always idealizes, was unwilling to think of Andromache in any condition other than that which her union with the most knightly of ancient heroes seemed to demand of her — a wife faithful unto death. To insist upon this point is no injustice to Racine: it conforms to his own declaration, "j'ai cru en cela me conformer à l'idée que nous avons maintenant de cette princesse." With this "idea" as a starting-point, we may note briefly the main sources of other materials, in order to give some idea of Racine's methods. There were two traditions as to the fate of Astyanax, the son of Hector and Andromache. According to one of these, and the most generally accepted, he was thrown from the ramparts of burning Troy. But there existed another, according to which Astyanax had been saved, and carried by his mother to Epirus to share in her captivity. The latter was obviously more in harmony with Racine's conception (l'idée), and so he adopted it. Now Euripides had composed a tragedy upon the same subject. His "Andromache" contains two distinct actions. In the first, Andromache and the son whom she had had by Neoptolemus (Pyrrhus) are brought into imminent danger through the jealousy of Hermione, whose marriage to Pyrrhus has already taken place. The second part deals with the death of Neoptolemus (Pyrrhus), which is apparently brought about by Orestes, before whom Hermione appears, imploring him to take her away with him. Orestes answers: "Fear nothing from the son of Achilles. This hand has just prepared for him a deadly trap from which he may not escape. This crime shall teach him that he should not have wedded her (Hermione) who was promised to me." Hermione is actuated chiefly by fear, Orestes by selfinterest and hatred. It is really here that Racine's art appears at its best. He represents Andromache as the unsullied wife of Hector. Hermione is the betrothed, not the wife of Pyrrhus; she has left her country to come among strangers to marry him. Hence her resentment against Andromache becomes so much the more bitter, for it is due to jealousy irritated by the very embarrassing and painful situation in which she finds herself. Then, accepting the dénouement with its murder of Pyrrhus, Racine makes that murder less revolting because in his play Orestes commits it with regret, and only because he is impelled by his passion for Hermione. This modern love element is entirely lacking in the tragedy of Euripides and of his Latin imitator Seneca. Racine by a master stroke makes the conjugal and maternal love of Andromache the central and unifying principle of the play. Faithful to the memory of Hector, she rejects the advances of Pyrrhus: this turns him back to Hermione, and this eliminates Orestes. Then, to save her son, Andromache becomes more gracious to Pyrrhus, allows hjm a faint ray of hope, finally consents to a marriage — and thereupon Hermione, beside herself with rage and despair, turns once more to Orestes, and the tragedy rushes on to its inevitable conclusion.1

BIBLIOGRAPHY

For a general study of Racine the following works may be especially recommended:

Œuvres de Jean Racine (editor P. Mesnard; Grands Écrivains). Paris, 1888.

The recently discovered Poèmes Sacrés. Bureaux de l'Archevêché d'Auch, 1911.

G. Larroumet, Racine (Les Grands Écrivains français). Paris, 1903.

Paul Monceaux, Racine (Collection des classiques populaires). Paris, [1892].

Jules Lemaître, Racine. Paris, 1908.

Emile Deschanel, Racine, in Le Romantisme des Classiques, 2 vols. Paris, 1891.

P. Robert, La Poétique de Racine. Paris, 1891.

F. Deltour, Les Ennemis de Racine au XVII'siècle. Paris, 1898.

G. Michaut, La Bérénice de Racine. Paris, 1907.

For a study of the language one finds the raw materials assembled in the Lexique (vol. VIII) of the Mesnard edition. Use for reference

A. Haase, Syntaxe française au XVII' siècle, traduite par Obert. Paris, 1898.

C. Ayer, Grammaire comparée de la langue française. Paris, 1900.

1 A number of lcsser details for which Racine is indebted to ancient and perhaps to contemporary sources are discussed in Robert's " La Poétique de Racine," p. 81 ff. Textual similarities to these sources are listed in the footnotes to the Grands Écrivains edition, " Œuvres de Jean Racine,'' Paris, 18SS, vol. II.

A MADAME

Madame,

Ce n'est pas sans sujet que je mets votre illustre nom à la tête de cet ouvrage. Et de quel autre nom pourrais-je éblouir les yeux de mes lecteurs, que de celui dont mes spectateurs ont été si heureusement éblouis? On savait que Votre Altesse Royale avait daigné prendre soin de la 5 conduite de ma tragédie. On savait que vous m'aviez prêté quelques-unes de vos lumières pour y ajouter de nouveaux ornements. On savait enfin que vous l'aviez honorée de quelques larmes dès la première lecture que je vous en fis. Pardonnez-moi, Madame, si j'ose me vanter de cet heureux 10 commencement de sa destinée. Il me console bien glorieusement de la dureté de ceux qui ne voudraient pas s'en laisser toucher. Je leur permets de condamner YAndromaque tant qu'ils voudront, pourvu qu'il me soit permis d'appeler de toutes les subtilités de leur esprit au cœur de Votre 15 Altesse Royale.

Mais, Madame, ce n'est pas seulement du cœur que vous jugez de la bonté d'un ouvrage, c'est avec une intelligence qu'aucune fausse lueur ne saurait tromper. Pouvons-nous mettre sur la scène une histoire que vous ne possédiez aussi 20 bien que nous? Pouvons-nous faire jouer une intrigue dont vous ne pénétriez tous les ressorts? Et pouvons-nous concevoir des sentiments si nobles et si délicats qui ne soient infiniment au-dessous de la noblesse et de la délicatesse de vos pensées? 25

On sait, Madame, et Votre Altesse Royale a beau s'en cacher, que dans ce haut degré de gloire où la nature et la fortune ont pris plaisir de vous élever, vous ne dédaignez pas cette gloire obscure que les gens de lettres s'étaient 30 réservée. Et il semble que vous ayez voulu avoir autant . d'avantage sur notre sexe par les connaissances et par la solidité de votre esprit, que vous excellez dans le vôtre par toutes les grâces qui vous environnent. La cour vous regarde comme l'arbitre de tout ce qui se fait d'agréable. Et nous, 35 qui travaillons pour plaire au public, nous n'avons plus que faire de demander aux savants si nous travaillons selon les règles. La règle souveraine est de plaire à Votre Altesse Royale.

Voilà sans doute la moindre de vos excellentes qualités. 40 Mais, Madame, c'est la seule dont j'ai pu parler avec quelque connaissance: les autres sont trop élevées au-dessus de moi. Je n'en puis parler sans les rabaisser par la faiblesse de mes pensées, et sans sortir de la profonde vénération avec laquelle je suis, Madame, 45 De Votre Altesse Royale

Le très humble, très obéissant

et très fidèle serviteur,

Racine

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