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Britannicus

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46 pages54 minutes

Summary

The 17th century dramatist Jean Racine was considered, along with Molière and Corneille, as one of the three great playwrights of his era. The quality of Racine's poetry has been described as possibly his most important contribution to French literature and his use of the alexandrine poetic line is one of the best examples of such use noted for its harmony, simplicity and elegance. While critics over the centuries have debated the worth of Jean Racine, at present, he is widely considered a literary genius of revolutionary proportions. In this volume of Racine's plays we find "Britannicus", the fifth of twelve plays by the author. "Britannicus" is the first work by the author to draw upon Roman History for its subject matter. The story concerns Britannicus, the son of the Roman emperor Claudius, and would be heir to the imperial throne. Britannicus's rule would be usurped however by Nero who has desires for Britannicus's fiancée Junia as well. The struggle for power and love are at odds in this play. Considered one of Racine's best works, "Britannicus" is still widely studied by young dramatists.

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