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3.69 of 5 stars 3.69  ·  rating details  ·  7,779 ratings  ·  155 reviews
En 1677, Phèdre, la dernière grande tragédie de Racine, met en scène la mythique descente aux enfers d'une incomprise. Vouée au malheur par son hérédité, Phèdre aime sans espoir son beau-fils Hippolyte. Lorsque son mari, Thésée, revient, il envoie injustement son fils à la mort. On assiste alors à l'empoisonnement d'une femme à la fois innocente et coupable. Ironie tragiqu ...more
Paperback, 55 pages
Published 1971 by Nouveaux Classiques Larousse (first published 1677)
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Hamlet by William ShakespeareMacbeth by William ShakespeareDon Quixote by Miguel de Cervantes SaavedraParadise Lost by John MiltonKing Lear by William Shakespeare
Best Books of the 17th Century
18th out of 119 books — 344 voters
The Little Prince by Antoine de Saint-ExupéryThe Count of Monte Cristo by Alexandre DumasMadame Bovary by Gustave FlaubertLes Misérables by Victor HugoThe Stranger by Albert Camus
Classic French Literature
19th out of 336 books — 165 voters

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Renato Magalhães Rocha
Phèdre is hydrogen.
Phèdre is helium.
Phèdre is a star.

I say this not only because she's the main character in this glorious play, and even less because she's been played by some of the greatest actresses in the world (Sarah Bernhardt, Helen Mirren, Fernanda Montenegro - yes, even Brazil adapted this famous play!), but because she's constantly in a thermonuclear fusion between reason and emotion that ultimately leads to self-destruction in such a powerful blast that affects all the other bodies th

When is one guilty of something, when one commits the reprehensible deed, and only one knows it, or when it is made known to others?

Phèdre thinks that the latter case is a great deal worse, worse even than death:

je meurs pour ne point faire un aveu si funeste
je n’en mourrai plus, j’en mourrai plus coupable

And so probably did Racine, because in his Phèdre, the action is activated by Phèdre’s avowal of her guilt which she makes three times. These three long soliloquies are amongst the most fam
Let's see: thwarted love, betrayal, implied incest, heinous lies, father-son love triangle with wife/stepmother, and a whole lot of death at the end. Um, yeah, that's the recipe for a pretty awesome story. Phaedra, married to Theseus, has always nurtured a secret love for his son, Hippolytus. When she receives news that Theseus is dead, she finally confesses her love to Hippolytus, who is in love with Aricia and is disgusted by his step-mother's advances. But, hey, guess what? Theseus isn't dead ...more

a tragic play , Explores the Depths of the Human Soul ...
fascinating in its complexity.....

Phèdre the young and second wife of the king Theseus, fall in love with his son Hippolytus,her obsession disrupts her,she was losing her mind, sees Hippolytus everywhere. her offerings and prayers to change destination was in vain.....
she had Hippolytus exiled,and dismissed him from her presence.... However, she soon discovered that she could not remove his love from her heart. It remained. So she wished
Greek families! Histrionics, rash reaction instead of considered response, inability to control emotion. Tragedy.


See the complete review here:

Bonus GR only bit: So if Goodreads was ever a family, it's now clear that it was one that escaped from a Greek Tragedy. It's fairly obvious that all the things in the first sentence of this review can be applied to the GR family - the only ques
David Sarkies
Apr 28, 2015 David Sarkies rated it 4 of 5 stars
Recommends it for: Lover's of Tragedy
Recommended to David by: The Book of Lost Books
Shelves: tragedy
A pretty brutal love triangle
12 August 2013

This is apparently Racine's last play before he gave up the theatre scene to return to a religious life within the Jansenist sect. For those who don't know what a Jansenist is (and that would probably include most of us) then picture a god who is mean, nasty, and smacks you over the head with a baseball bat when you step out of line, and you have the god that the Jansenists worship. Why would anybody worship a god like that I don't know, but it probabl
There's an old Communist-era joke, quoted in the movie The Lives of Others, about the Party Leader's conversation with the Sun. (The punchline is "Fuck off, I'm in the West now"). In Racine's play, Phèdre also has a conversation with the Sun. When I looked at the footnote, I discovered that they were in fact close relatives.

Well... as everyone knows these days, being born into a rich, powerful family isn't exactly a guarantee that you're going to have a happy life. Generally, you marry someone y
Huda Aweys
في الأسطورة الإغريقية كانت الضحية الأساسية لهذه المأساة (هيبوليت) ابن الزوج ، إلا أن (جان راسين) أراد في مسرحيته التي أعدها من الأسطورة أن يجعل من (فيدرا) شريكة لهيبوليت في استدرار تعاطفنا .. فجعل منها ضحية ايضا .. ضحية الفضيلة .. او حب النفس و خشية السقوط ! ..، و قد نجح في ذلك الى حد ما
فمع أنها سعت للموت أكثر من مرة خلال المسرحية (عصمة لشرفها) .. الى أن ماتت بالفعل .. الا أن ذلك لم يغفر لها تماما تآمرها على برئ .. لم يغفر لها أيضا ضعفها و حمقها و غيرتها كذلك !
ركز ايضا راسين في مسرحيته ع
I love mythology, especially Greek mythology. And Phaedra's story is a particularly juicy myth. Married to heroic Theseus, who features in many stories himself, Phaedra has fallen in love with her stepson, Hippolytus. (Remind anyone else of A Little Night Music? Not for long.) Now word has come that Theseus is dead, and Phaedra confesses her love to Hippolytus. Problem: Hippolytus is already in love, with Aricia, a captive of his father. Further problem: Theseus isn't dead at all.

Like all the re
La pasión me llevó a querer expulsar/ al enemigo aquel al que yo idolatraba;/ la envidia fingí de una injusta madrastra (I.3). Con estas líneas dichas por Fedra se puede resumir el hilo conductor de la obra. Gira alrededor de pasiones inmanejables, malentendidos y acusaciones falsas que no anuncian un final feliz. Fedra es la esposa de Teseo, el rey de Atenas, y en su ausencia tiene que lidiar con el amor que siente por Hipólito (hijo de Teseo y una amazona), un hombre con el que ya había teni ...more
I was a bit nervous after reading Rawling's Translator's Introduction because 1) she is not a professional translator but an actor who translated this as a kind of hobby project, and 2) her introduction suggests a kind of slavish devotion to the genius of Racine. Both of these throw up red flags for me.

But this is a really beautifully translated play. Although the French is printed on the facing page I don't know any French, so I am not evaluating how accurate a translation it is. I mean that th
I loved this. Racine makes one big change from Euripides: he blames Phedre's false accusation mostly (though not wholly) on her nurse, instead of on her. Coincidentally, that's the one thing that really stuck out for me in the original: I found Phedre's final accusation jarring, unearned and unexplained. So...nice job, Racine!

He also throws a love interest for Hippolytus in, though, in order to make him a little less...y'know, above it all. This was less successful. I think he'd have achieved th
Joao Vaz
Que excesso!, só podia ser este o livro favorito do pequeno Marcel!

Fedra, a mulher do rei Teseu, acalorada por desejos incestuosos leva à perdição de todos à sua volta. Estava de tal forma dominada de culpa que produz algumas das tiradas mais exageradas que li: DRÃÃMA! (atenção, nada se chega a consumar!, mas o aborrecido é que na antiguidade os deuses puniam igualmente o pecado em pensamento)

Enfim: Racine, you're da bomb!
Luka Račić
Vrhunac svetovnih tragedija velikog francuskog pesnika-majstora zlatne burbonske epohe, po mnogo čemu je seminalno, koliko i tranziciono delo - više čak i od bilo kog Kornejevog komada.
Od izuzetne sofisticiranosti Francuske kulture XVII i XVIII veka me je često odvraćala mučnina koju je izazivao poznanik opsednut barokom do potpuno ekstremnih granica - koji je izabirao najgora, najartificijalnija i najneukusnija dela. No, pošto sam se oslobodio njegovog prisustva, konačno mi se ovaj period pribl
شعرت بفرحة طاغية عندما وجدت على غير اتفاق نسخة من مسرحية فدرة أمامي، كأنها أحد الاحلام الصغيرة التي تتحقق، وسبب ذلك أن عزيز أباظة كتب في مقدمة آخر مسرحياته الشعرية ظهورًا (مسرحية زهرة) وهي من أحب مسرحياته إلىَّ، كتب يقول:

سميتها (زهرة) وهو اسم على وزن (فدرة
وفدرة هذه كما تعلم بطلة مسرحية شعرية كتبها الشاعر المسرحي الأغريقي (يوريبيدس عن أصل مصري كما قيل (يشير الأستاذ عزيز أباظة فيما أعتقد إلى أن قصة فدرة مستوحاة من الفكرة الأساسية لما حدث بين سيدنا يوسف وبين زليخة امرأة العزيز) ثم عالج ا
PHAEDRA. (1677). Jean Racine. ****.
It is necessary to keep the cast of characters in front of you when reading this play, unless, of course, you are already a classical scholar. In the beginning, it is easy to get confused. Here it is:
Theseus Son of Aegeus and King of Athens
Phaedra Wife of Theseus and daughter of Minos and Pasiphae
Hippolytus Son of Theseus and Antiope, Queen of the Amazons
Aricia Princess of the blood royal of Athens
Oenone Nurse of Phaedra
Theramenes Tutor of Hippolytus
Ismene Fri
Maybe it was the translator Robert Lowell (Jean Racine's 'Phedre' was originally in French) and his style and language or my particular version that have contributed to my adoration of this play. However, although these factors do contribute substantially, it was Racine himself who showed his stature and dignity as a prominent French playwright.

I chose the words 'stature' and 'dignity' for a reason by the way. For Racine, although his basis is essentially Greek mythology and tragedy, had baptize
Maan Kawas
A beautiful tragedy by the great French playwright Jean Racine! It is based on Euripides’ tragedy “Hippolytus”, but at the same time it shows many differences. Unlike Euripides’ play, Phedre here is depicted more as an ordinary human being, who is not totally good and not totally bad. Although she was doomed by fate to fall in an incestuous love his her own stepson, Hippolytus, but originally Phedre is a virtuous woman by nature, who suffered and resisted her unacceptable feelings and urges towa ...more
Pocas obras deben existir como la 'Fedra' de Racine que sean una defensa tan radical de la virtud (afortunadamente), pero también pocas obras deben existir como la 'Fedra' de Racine que hablen con tanta intensidad del dolor por un amor que se sabe que nunca será correspondido (desgraciadamente). Fedra está enamorada de Hipólito, el hijo de su marido, que encima resulta que no es nada más que un bravucón misógino y arrogante. Ella agoniza literalmente de amor (como pasa en toda tragedia que se pr ...more
I was really impressed by this play. It's a page-turner. I didn't want to put it down. Hughes' translation has a delightful terse lyricism. I rarely felt like I was reading a translation of a French play recreating an ancient Greek atmosphere and style. The deviations from the plot helped me appreciate the play for what it is, rather than continually comparing it with Euripides' "Hippolytus." The biggest changes are Aricia (Hippolytus' lover), the order/progression of events, diminished role of ...more
Emilie Andersen
I just think I'm a bit bored of reading the same myth as Seneca and Euripides have already given a version of; the only new thing was that stupid girl that Hippolytos fell in love with. It was not bad, I've just already read the same story just by other authors :)
It's Yukio Mishima's favourite play! A mad old queen, a macho young man, plotting and confusion ... and then death comes to them both. But enough about Mishima (boom, boom), Racine's play is a spin on the classic(s). I saw a very cool Croatian production of "Hippolytus" quite soon after the Yugoslav war. Artemis was fully bandaged and moved about in a very curious manner. Hippolytus and chums spent the whole time worshipping her, in tiny loincloths.

"Phaedra: Thanks be to Heav'n, my hands are fre
Had to read this for college and I have to say I wasn't expecting it to be particularly good - I thought it would be more of a chore than anything else. I was seriously proved wrong! Once I got into the language and managed to figure out what they were saying the story was amazing - talk about dramatic! Literally couldn't put it down (unfortunately had to though!)

Positive: Epic story

Negative: Trying to get my head around the language!
Une des plus belles tragédies de la littérature mondiale
Nicholas Seders
In the spirit of full disclosure, I rarely enjoy reading drama - The Importance of Being Earnest and Tartuffe being exceptions to the norm. The dialogue is more stale on paper than it would be on the stage, and that bothers me. While Phèdre is an interesting story, the dialogue just wasn't powerful enough to grab my attention. However, I am aware that I was reading a translation. The original alexandrine verse could be more enjoyable, and highlight the "Frenchness" particular to this retelling o ...more
This tightly-knit seventeenth century play, based on a powerful and haunting myth, is filled with compelling tension. It takes place over a very short time span allowing the action to begin immediately and flow rapidly.
Read this play (translated by Robert Henderson) as it appeared in an old Modern Library book called Six Plays by Corneille and Racine. Will I have time to read it again?
Racine does an excellent job recreating the story of Phaedra. I love Greek theatre!
Fedra è da subito una sconfitta.
"Il mal d'amore" le scorre nelle vene, lo eredita da quella madre che giacque con un toro e diede alla luce il Minotauro e lo condivide con la sorella Arianna, abbandonata da Teseo. Ed è proprio a Teseo che Fedra sarà moglie e infedele amante. Fedra brucia di passione per Ippolito (figlio di primo letto di Teseo), anzi, muore d'amore, letteralmente. Racine ce la presenta pallida, non riesce a stare in piedi, le forze le vengono meno. Nasconde dentro di lei l'amor
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Jean Baptiste Racine was a French dramatist, one of the "big three" of 17th century France (along with Molière and Corneille), and one of the most important literary figures in the Western tradition. Racine was primarily a tragedian, though he did write one comedy.
More about Jean Racine...
Andromaque Britannicus Bérénice Iphigenie Iphigenia / Phaedra / Athaliah

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“Présente je vous fuis; absente, je vous trouve;
Dans le fond des forêts votre image me suit”
“Quand tu sauras mon crime, et le sort qui m'accable,
Je n'en mourrai pas moins, j'en mourrai plus coupable”
More quotes…