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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 "Esther", the penultimate of twelve plays by the author. "Esther" was written at the request of Madame de Maintenon, second wife of King Louis XIV of France, who wished Racine write some more liturgical works to be performed by the pupils of the Maison royale de Saint-Louis, a famous academy for girls. Racine's drama concerns the Biblical character of Esther, Jewish queen of the Persian king Ahasuerus, who is commonly thought to be Xerxes I.

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