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Jesuit Neo-Latin Tragedy in France

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Chapter Summary

Tragedy becomes the expression of communion with God in history and beyond. In Jesuit theatre, the hero's will is often at one with that of God. The drama is the expression not of the death throes of the hero's conscience but of the inexorable violence and cruelty of princes, kings or emperors who are blinded by their own power and rebelling against the will of God. The plays normally end with the reestablishment of divine order on earth and the punishment of the guilty. To write a tragedy, the Jesuits had two ancient models: Senecan tragedy, rediscovered by the first Paduan humanists in the early Trecento, frequently commented on, and Greek tragedy, printed and translated into Latin from the early sixteenth century. One major quality of the Jesuit theatre, apart from the ballets, is in the Latin writing of tragedy inspired by the formal framework of Seneca's plays.

Keywords: ballets; France; Greek tragedy; Jesuit theatre; Neo-Latin tragedy; Senecan tragedy



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