- A tragedy by Voltaire, often regarded as his bestwork for the stage. First performed in 1732 in Paris, it is stronglyinfluenced by Shakespeare, whose works Voltaire had become familiarwith during his stay in England (1726 - 29). The dedication mentionsShakespeare's historical plays, while the plot suggests Othelloas another source.
Set in the Middle East during the Crusades, the story concernsZaïre, a slave, who is loved by her master, the sultan Osman.She discovers that she is really the daughter of another slave, Lusignan,the former king and a Christian. She also finds that she has a long-lostbrother, Nerestan. Zaïre keeps this information from the sultan,and when he discovers her meetings with Nerestan he becomes furiouslyjealous and murders them both.