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what has been called the "virtuous coquetry" of Andromache in this scene. "Vous vous rappelez," says Lemaître, " qu'il y eut grande querelle à la Comédie-Française, au Temps et au Journal des Débats. Des gens ne voulaient pas qu'Andromaque fût coquette. . . . On répondait: 'Nous ne prétendons point qu'Andromaque cherche expressément à troubler Pyrrhus. Mais enfin elle voit l'effet qu'elle produit sur lui, et il est naturel qu'elle en profite pour sauver son enfant. Que si le mot de "coquetterie," même vertueuse vous choque, nous dirons qu'Andromaque a du moins le sentiment de ce qu'elle est pour Pyrrhus et, sinon le désir de lui plaire, du moins celui de ne pas le désespérer tout à fait, de ne pas le pousser à bout, et même de ne pas lui déplaire.' Il n'y a pas à aller là contre; le texte de Racine est plus fort que tout. Cette plainte: Mais il me faut tout perdre, et toujours par vos coups [v. 280, see note]; cet argument qui, sous prétexte d'éteindre l'amour du jeune chef, lui présente l'image de ce qu'il y a de plus propre à l'émouvoir [v. 301-304]; cette façon qu'elle a d'évoquer toujours Hector devant Pyrrhus, de parler du rival mort à l'amoureux vivant; et enfin, quand le péril de l'enfant Astyanax est proche et certain, ces mots audacieux sous leur air de réserve (ces mots qui, d'ailleurs, provoquent immédiatement, chez Pyrrhus, l'offre de sa main et de sa couronne) [i.e. v. 927-940, underscoring 934, 935, and 939], tous ces vers-là sont assurément faits pour mettre Pyrrhus sens dessus dessous; et il est clair qu'Andromaque ne l'ignore pas. Et c'est très bien ainsi. Cette finesse féminine parmi tant de vertu et de douleur et une aussi parfaite fidélité conjugale, il me semble que cela fait une combinaison exquise, et hardie, et vraie." On the other hand, Robert: "Mais il me faut tout perdre et toujours par vos coups. Je vois là une tristesse résignée et touchante, et non de la coquetterie. Aux déclarations brûlantes de Pyrrhus comment répond-elle? En parlant de Troie et d'Hector, et de son infortune, et de sa tristesse, en insistant sur tout ce qui sépare Andromaque et Pyrrhus. . . . Lui reprochera-t-on de se jeter aux genoux de Pyrrhus et de s'écrier: Vos serments m'ont tantôt juré tant d'amitiél [v. 903]? Mais ne comprend-on pas que même ce terme adouci d'amitié lui déchire la bouche, et que, pour le prononcer, il faut qu'elle ait présente à l'esprit l'affreuse image de son fils assassiné. Je vois partout le suprême effort d'un mère qui ne veut pas que son fils périsse, et j'entends comme les sanglots de l'épouse qui, dans sa sublime délicatesse, se croit infidèle à son Hector: je ne vois nulle part l'ombre de ce qu'on appelle la coquetterie. Jamais Racine n'a rien écrit de plus achevé, de plus tendre, de plus touchant et de plus vrai."

966 nous: reciprocal, ' each other.'

976 It is usual to call attention to the fact that a similar situation, presented in quite similar fashion, is found in the "Pertharite" (1652) of Corneille. See Robert, "Poétique de Racine," p. 84 f.

985 les Grecs: now that Céphise is so strongly urging the acceptance of Pyrrhus' offer, she throws all blame on other shoulders than his.

991 ses: those of Achilles, which become " superfluous" if they no longer have the effect of extirpating Troy.

994 Achilles, angry at being robbed of his captive Briseis (see note to v. 234), refused to fight until his friend Patroclus fell by the hand of Hector. Thereupon he consented to take up arms again, and killed Hector in a single combat. The dead body of the Trojan champion was dragged away behind the chariot of Achilles to the ships of the Greeks; and thereafter three times daily Achilles dragged the body around the tomb of Patroclus. Then Priam begged Achilles for his son's corpse and gave it a fitting burial. There is no account in the Iliad of the body being drawn around the walls of Troy; that is a detail found in the /Eneid, where it is said that Hector's corpse was dragged thrice around the city walls behind the chariot of his conqueror. In the Iliad, Achilles is said to have pursued Hector thrice around the city before they joined in combat.

995 See note upon Pyrrhus, act I, scene ii.

1001 In the Iliad, Andromache speaks of her seven brothers killed by Achilles. Here she refers to her brothers-in-law, killed at the fall of Troy. Racine's description is probably suggested by the graphic account in Virgil's ilîneid:

Fierce as his father, Pyrrhus presses on;

Nor bolts nor men may hold him. Doore give way

Beneath his frequent ram, and fall unhinged.

Force finds a road. ... I saw

The Atridae in the gate, and Hecuba

Beside her hundred daughters, and the King,

Staining with blood the flames himself had blest.

But lo I Polites, one of Priam's sons,

Flying from Pyrrhus' sword, through foes, through spears,
Down the long corridors and vacant halls
Runs wounded. Pyrrhus, burning on the stroke,
Chases and grasps and threats him with his spear;
Till, just emerging in his parents' sight,

He fell, and shed his life in streaming blood. (Billson's translation.)

1004 expirants: in Racine's time present participles were inflected for number but not (see note to v. 860) for gender. Cf. this verse of Fénelon: "Des fontaines, coulants avec un doux murmure." Early in the eighteenth century they became altogether invariable.

1008 With consummate art, Racine has kept before the spectator the image of Troy in flames as the background for the play. Compare 197 ff., 335 ff., 873 ff., and 928 ff. Here it is brought into perfect focus. Henceforth it will recede, crowded into the background more and more by the passions and problems of the moment.

1020 "So spake glorious Hector, and stretched out his arm to his boy. But the child shrunk crying to the bosom of his fair-girdled nurse, dismayed at his dear father's aspect, and in dread at the bronze and horse-hair crest that he beheld nodding fiercely from the helmet's top. Then his dear father laughed aloud, and his lady mother: forthwith glorious Hector took the helmet from his head, and laid it, all gleaming, on the earth, then kissed he his dear son and dandled him in his arms, and spake in prayer to Zeus and all the gods." (Iliad, trans, of Lang, Leaf, and Myers.)

1026 "And her husband had pity to see her, and caressed her with his hand, and spake and called upon her name: 'Dear one, I pray thee be not of over-sorrowful heart; no man against my fate shall hurl me to Hades; only destiny, I ween, no man hath escaped, be he coward or be he valiant, when once he hath been born. But go thou to thine house and see to thine own tasks, the loom and distaff, and bid thine handmaidens ply their work; but for war shall men provide, and I in chief of all men that dwell in Ilios"' (ibid.). In this last sentence, compared with the words which Racine lends to Hector, we have the measure of the French poet's modernization of the story.

1039 de mon fils: in place of modern pour mon fils, as frequently in the seventeenth century.

1043 foi: this is the most impolitic word Céphise could possibly have used; no wonder it checks Andromache, considering Andromache's character and her preconceived ideas.


1065 qui: as occasionally, for qu'est-ce qui.

1069 croître: this and the rime-word of the next verse were spelled in Racine's time craistre and maistre.

1116 This verse is pleasing and unexpected, coming from an accomplished courtier like Racine. It suggests many things when we remember that in this very aristocratic age many of the men who have lived " by what they did rather than by what they were " — Corneille, Molière, La Fontaine, Boileau, Bossuet, Colbert, Jean Bart — belonged, like Racine, to the middle or bourgeois class. 1134 au seul nom = au nom seul.

1175 des droits: the article is retained after a negative in the partitive construction, when the negation is limited by a following clause.

1176 ce n'est pas à vous à: in moder n French this means 'it is not your turn to '; whereas the same phrase with de means ' it is not your duty, right, or place to.' The distinction was not made in the seventeenth century. Compare v. 502, 1100, 1485, and the First Preface 1. 45.

1180 ff. Compare verses 771-778.

1213 See note to v. 778 upon Orestes as a Romantic type. Like most men of that class, he lacks decision when the crucial moment arrives. He is a French representative of the family of Hamlets, who fail to grasp their long-sought opportunities when they present themselves:

Now whether it be
Bestial oblivion, or some craven scrupule
Of thinking too precisely on the event,
A thought, which, quartered, hath but one part wisdom,
And, ever, three parts coward, ... I do not know
Why yet I live to say, 'This thing's to do ';
Sith I have cause, and will, and strength, and means
To do't. (Hamlet.)

1214 Note how the construction of the verse brings ce jour into sharp contrast with the cette nuit of the line before.

1218 cette fête: Racine does not hesitate to overstep the bounds of the much-cherished traditional dignity of tragedy in portraying the passions by which his characters are possessed.

1240 trop: construe with de refus.

1248 See note to verse 416.

1274 This quick change of feeling on the part of Hermione is characteristic of the personages of Racine as compared with those of Corneille. The latter always know what they are going to do, and always do it. Whence La Bruyère's oft-cited saying that Corneille paints men as they ought to be, Racine as they are. "Ce sont ces brusques retours, ces revirements soudains, ces incertitudes mêlées de crainte et de joie, ces cris de désespoir succédant à ces paroles d'allégresse, toutes ces inconséquences d'une passion qui ne se contient plus, qui font le naturel et la vérité de ce caractère d'Hermione." (Robert.)

1286 sans consulter: moder n syntax would require sans que fou consultât, when the subject of the main verb is not at the same time subject of the action contained in the infinitive. However, exceptions are occasionally found after the prepositions pour and sans.

1289 les, y: i.e. the promises made by the ambassadors.

1308 Pyrrhus, lui aussi, est entraîné par la violence de sa passion; lui non plus est maître de soi, étant le jouet d'une flamme servile [v. 629]. Mais que de différences avec Oreste! ce n'est plus ce maudit du Destin qui éclate en imprécations: il est roi; il y a chez lui plus de dignité et de calme, sinon dans les sentiments, du moins dans les paroles et dans le geste. Malgré ses perfidies, qu'Hermione pourra justement lui reprocher, malgré son parjure, il y a en lui une certaine magnanimité. Andromaque l'estime: je sais quel est Pyrrhus: violent, mais sincère [v. 1085]. ... Sa sincérité se montre bien dans son entretien avec Hermione. Il n'essaye pas de la tromper. C'est cette sincérité unie à un ardent amour qui nous attache à ce personnage, si faible du reste, et dont Pylade et Phœnix connaissent et jugent si bien la faiblesse. Seuls, les personnages, emportés par leurs passions, ne se rendent compte de cet état d'esprit de Pyrrhus. Hermione voit surtout sa cruauté et sa perfidie, Oreste attribue à son arrivée fatale le retour de Pyrrhus vers Hermione. Non, certainement, Oreste ne le connaît pas. Mais Pyrrhus se connaît assez lui-même. Cette connaissance de lui-même et de sa propre faiblesse n'est pas un des traits les moins curieux de son caractère. Rarement un poète a montré avec une netteté aussi impitoyable cet empire, cette obsession de la passion sur une âme du reste noble et élevée, qui a conscience de sa faiblesse et de ses perfidies. (Robert.)

1309 The first Unes of this speech have been the occasion of some discussion between great adresses who have played the part of Hermione. Some have sought to render them with all the bitter irony and sarcasm which the dignity of the classic drama permitted. Others maintain that Hermione is too deeply affected to indulge in anything but the most direct and sincere expression of her feelings. The first method seems not only more effective but more in keeping with the character Racine has created. Her tenderness will make its final suprême effort below: v. 1356-1374.

1320 Note the peculiarly malicious contrast, emphasized by the versestructure, between the daughter of the most beautiful woman of all the ages and the widow of Hector.

1323-1324 for the ironical anti-moralism see note to v. 772.

1333 Compare with the compliments of Orestes, v. 147 ff.

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