Mithridate (Racine)

Mithridate is a tragedy in five acts (with respectively 5, 6, 6, 7, and 5 scenes) in alexandrine verse by Jean Racine.

Background and history

First performed on January 13, 1673 at the Hotel de Bourgogne, Mithridates follows Bajazet and precedes Iphigenia in Racine's work. The subject is drawn from ancient history. Mithridates VI Eupator reigned over the kingdom of Pontus, around the Black Sea. Famous for having gradually accustomed to poisons through mithridatization, he long resisted the Romans. He finally killed himself after being betrayed by his own son.

Racine shows several episodes of the life of Mithridates in one day and, as usual, gives great importance to the amorous intrigues. However, the epic is still more prevalent than in other tragedies. In terms of style, the piece is distinguished by a large number of long speeches and monologues.

Mithridates was the favorite tragedy of another great king, Louis XIV. Over the centuries, the play has become increasingly rare on stage. Today, it is one of the least performed works of Racine.


External links

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