Alexandre le Grand

Definition

Theater

  • A tragedy by Jean Racine that made his name but ledto a breach with his supporter Molière. Molièreproduced the play at the Palais-Royal in 1665, a year after stagingRacine's first play, La Thébaïde ou les frèresennemis, with moderate success. Alexandre le Grand quicklyproved popular and seemed destined for a long run. Two weeks afteropening, however, Racine secretly took the play to a rival company,the Comédiens du Roy, who performed it at the Hôtelde Bourgogne with Floridor, the greatest tragic actor of thetime, in the lead role. When Molière found out, he severedrelations with Racine and never spoke to him again. The Hôtelde Bourgogne became the venue for all Racine's subsequent tragedies.

    The plot of Alexandre le Grand focuses on the conflictbetween Alexander the Great, presented as a paragon of magnanimity,and two Indian kings, Porus and Taxile. When Racine published theplay in 1666 he dedicated it to Louis XIV, the 'Alexander' of thatage.

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