Synopses & Reviews
First performed in Paris in 1677, Jean Racine's "Phaedra" is the tenth of twelve plays by the author and his last to be based on Greek mythology. Racine, the famed French dramatist and master of dodecasyllabic alexandrine, the 12-syllable poetic meter, was a contemporary of Moli re and Corneille. This classic story concerns its titular character, who though married to Theseus, the King of Athens, falls in love with Hippolytus, Theseus' son from his first marriage. Hippolytus also has a forbidden desire in his heart for Aricia, who is held by Theseus under a vow of chastity and is the lone survivor of the royal house vanquished by Theseus. Phaedra unleashes a tragic series of events when she is mistakenly told that Theseus has died and she reveals her taboo love for her stepson. Her husband returns and both Phaedra and Hippolytus pay the ultimate price for their forbidden desires. "Phaedra" was incredibly well received with praise from the likes of Voltaire who described the work as a "masterpiece of the human mind". The drama remains to this day widely performed, studied, and translated, and endures as one of Racine's most highly regarded works. This edition is printed on premium acid-free paper and follows the translation of Robert Bruce Boswell.