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The Senecan AestheticA Performance History$
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Helen Slaney

Print publication date: 2015

Print ISBN-13: 9780198736769

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: January 2016

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780198736769.001.0001

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The Great Repression

The Great Repression

(p.135) 4 The Great Repression
The Senecan Aesthetic

Helen Slaney

Oxford University Press

Following precepts derived from Aristotle’s Poetics, French neoclassical tragedy from the 1630s onwards was required to comply with the so-called Règles—the ‘Rules’—of dramatic composition. One of the most important of these was ‘unity of place’, which was not in fact prescribed by Aristotle but became essential in French theatre practice. Racine’s Phèdre is a brilliant example of how Senecan tragedy could be adapted to neoclassical regulation. Although claiming Euripides’ Hippolytus as its source, Phèdre actually has more structural and thematic similarities to the Senecan version. One such theme is the idea of repression and containment, expressed not only through the spoken text of Phèdre but also in its staging.

Keywords:   Corneille, Racine, Phaedra, Phèdre, Hippolytus, labyrinth, Aristotle, Poetics, D’Aubignac

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