In December 1669, as he approached his thirtieth birthday, Racine prepared the première of


. One of the foremost yet most controversial playwrights in Paris, he had previously looked to the world of Ancient Greece for the subject matter of his tragedies:

La Thébaide

, 1664, reworked the feud between the sons of Oedipus;

Alexandre le Grand

, 1665, an episode from the career of Alexander the Great; and


, 1667, the fate of Hector’s widow, Andromache. After a single foray into comedy (

Les Plaideurs

in 1668), he now returned to tragedy, but with a new twist – it is important not to underestimate Racine’s taste for experimentation. He set out to prove his credentials in the depiction of Roman history, hitherto the favoured arena of most French tragedians, notably the…

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Citation: Worth-Stylianou, Valerie. "Britannicus". The Literary Encyclopedia. First published 29 December 2011 [, accessed 22 April 2024.]

6165 Britannicus 3 Historical context notes are intended to give basic and preliminary information on a topic. In some cases they will be expanded into longer entries as the Literary Encyclopedia evolves.

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