Acomat, grand vizir, wishes to take advantage of this failure by encouraging the Janissaries to revolt. He has already refused to execute Bajazet as the sultan commanded. In reality, Bajazet is in love with Atalide; he only returns the love of Roxane in order to become king. Act 2 5 scenes [ edit ] Roxane wants to dethrone Amurat by wedding Bajazet.
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Life Racine was born into a provincial family of minor administrators who were financially comfortable and socially ambitious. His mother died 13 months after he was born, and his father died two years later. His maternal grandparents took him in, and, when his grandmother, Marie des Moulins, became a widow, she brought Racine with her, perhaps as early as , to live at the convent of Port-Royal des Champs near Paris. Since a group of devout scholars and teachers had founded a school there, Racine had the opportunity to study the classics of Latin and Greek literature with distinguished masters.
The school was steeped in the austere Roman Catholic reform movement that came to be known as Jansenism , which had recently been condemned by the church as heretical. The Jansenists participated in the centuries-long debate over the primacy of free will or of divine omnipotence in the process of salvation.
Inspired by the writings of Saint Augustine , as transmitted by Cornelius Otto Jansen , bishop of Ypres, in his work Augustinus , the Jansenists believed that salvation was a gift—a grace —that was accorded only by God and that free will played little role in the process. For these Augustinians, life on earth was to be a rigorous pursuit of penance for original sin. His former teachers remained extremely disappointed in a man who had used his excellent education as a means of succeeding in a profession that Port-Royal considered an abomination, because the theatre promoted illusion as a distraction from reflection on the wretched human condition.
After leaving Port-Royal in , Racine transferred to the College of Beauvais for almost two years and then returned to Port-Royal in October to complete his studies in rhetoric. The school at Port-Royal was closed by the authorities in , but Racine was allowed to stay on there. When he was 18, the Jansenists sent him to study law at the College of Harcourt in Paris. The first was out of the question for the neophyte Racine, though he would eventually receive many gratuities in the course of his career.
He then returned to Paris to try his hand as a dramatist, even if it meant estrangement from his Jansenist mentors, who disapproved of any involvement with the theatrical arts. A reaction from them was not long in coming. Get exclusive access to content from our First Edition with your subscription. It was published in A dramatist had to win over three audiences to succeed in the theatre: the court, the general public, and the scholar-critics.
Racine doggedly pursued all three, though he had sharp clashes with the third group, who were mostly friends of his great rival, the older dramatist Pierre Corneille. By this time Racine had achieved remarkable success both in the theatre and through it; his plays were ideally suited for dramatic expression and were also a useful vehicle for his social aspirations. Racine was the first French author to live principally on the income provided by his writings.
At about the same time, he retired from the commercial theatre and accepted the coveted post of royal historiographer with his friend Nicolas Boileau. He may also have found it difficult to continue to respect the cardinal principle of classical art—unity.
Since fragmentation is a subversive notion in classical art, Racine may have abandoned a genre to whose classical tenets he could no longer subscribe. He thus announced the discontinuity of the modern world. In Racine was accused by Catherine Monvoisin called La Voisin of having poisoned his mistress and star actress, the marquise du Parc, but no formal charges were pressed and no consequences ensued.
In he was elected to the French Academy , over which he came to exert almost dictatorial powers. Racine died in from cancer of the liver.
In a codicil to his will, he expressed his wish to be buried at Port-Royal. Jean Racine.