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Tragédie Classique, Souveraineté Et Droit: Le Cas De Britannicus (1669) De Jean Racine

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Chapter Summary

The tragedy of Britannicus is not only a gallant history, as it simultaneously confronts its spectators with a reflection on the limits of sovereign power, in an era in which the absolute monarch has no other limitation than the will of God. Instead of a straightforward affirmation of its contemporary frame of reference, Britannicus questions this very frame. De Jean Racine?s tragedy is both a thorough reflection on the gradual transition from sovereignty to governamentality, and a sharp analysis of the way in which the French monarchy constructed its own mythological history. Racine shows how Nero is a true baroque sovereign suffering from deep melancholia, but also a modern tyrant who does not hesitate to proclaim the state of exception. Britannicus also deals with very specific juridical problems such as the laws of primogeniture, Racinian tragedy being a locus of juridical experimentation.

Keywords: De Jean Racine; juridical experimentation; sovereignty; tragedy of Britannicus



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