Athalie is a Tragédie in five acts (respectively comprising 4,9,8,6 and 8 scenes) and in worms of Jean Racine.
Athalie, widow of king de Juda, controls the country and believes to have eliminated all the remainder from the royal family. She gave up the Jewish religion in favor of the worship of Baal. In fact, its Joas grandson was saved by the woman of the large priest (see the biblical text in Wikisource and the Préface of Root).
Contrary to Esther , Athalie is a true tragedy in five acts. The choruses are present only at the end of each act. Instead of weakening the action, they give him a poetic and spiritual dimension.
Root reaches with Athalie the size of the Greek tragedies which he knows very well. It joined there, in certain speeches of Joad, the breath of the biblical prophets. God appears under one day terrible. Modern authors as Roland Barthes denounces the fanatic character of Joad and its very violent language, while Athalie is rather tolerant out of religious matter. It is of course not the glance which one carried on these characters at the time where Louis XIV, become very devout under the influence of Madam de Maintenon, persecuted the Protestants and the Jansénistes after having revoked the Édit of Nantes.
Athalie was victim of the opposition of the moralists during his creation. Opposed to the theater in general, they were indignant that one makes play a part, even on raised subject, by the boarders of a pious institution. Represented on the public stages after the death of Madam de Maintenon, Athalie forever belonged to the most popular parts of Root whereas Voltaire saw “ there perhaps the masterpiece of mankind ”.
Summary of the part
- Act 1 - Joad, the Jewish high priest, makes sure that Abner, officer of the army, would support possible going down from king de Juda if it appeared. Then it is advisable with his Josabet wife to reveal the existence of Joas in order to détrôner Athalie and to bring back the country to the true religion.
- Act 2 - Athalie went in the Jewish temple and found there a child whom she had already seen in dream. She is unaware of that this child is Joas, her grandson. She asks Joad to make come this child. Allured by its intelligence, it invites it to come to live with it with the palate. Joas, which was educated in the Jewish religion by the high priest, pushes back it.
- Act 3 - Fearing a plot of Joad, Athalie wants that it sends Joas like hostage to him. The high priest prepares to proclaim Joas as king in order to take it speed.
- Act 4 - Joad reveals in Joas that it is the downward one and the successor of kings de Juda. The priests barricade the Temple.
- Act 5 - Athalie is on the point of dislodging the rebels of the Temple. It comes to claim the child. Joad reveals to him which is Joas. Outside, the attackers are taken of panic and flee. Joad makes carry out Athalie.
- Foreword of Root, and text of the traditional part
- Theater To consult Athalie and the other parts of Jean Root, to seek occurrences of text and to undertake statistical research.
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