Racine, Jean (1639–1699), translated by Kline, A. S. (contact-email)

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Berenice, a tragedy by French playwright Jean Racine, was first performed in 1670. The play is set in Rome and centres on a love triangle involving the Roman Emperor Titus, the Queen of Palestine Berenice, and Antiochus, King of Commagene. Inspired by a passage from Suetonius’ Lives of the Twelve Caesars, the play explores the tension between love and duty. Titus, torn between his love for Berenice and his political responsibilities as Emperor, ultimately chooses to fulfil his public duties, thereby forsaking his personal happiness. The play is known for its psychological depth and elegant verse. It was a commercial success upon its debut and continues to be regarded as a masterpiece of French classical drama.

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Kline, A. S.

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