Jean Racine Books In Order | Full List 02/2024

Jean Racine was a French playwright and poet known for his tragedies, which often explored themes of love, betrayal, and power. He wrote a total of 11 plays, including the famous “Phèdre” and “Andromaque,” which continue to be studied and performed to this day. His works are characterized by their complex characters and dramatic plots, making him a significant figure in French literature.

Jean Racine Books in Order

  1. Phèdre
  2. Andromaque
  3. Britannicus
  4. Bérénice
  5. Iphigénie
  6. Iphigenia / Phaedra / Athaliah
  7. Bajazet
  8. Andrómaca / Fedra
  9. Mithridate (Folio Theatre)
  10. Esther

Overview of Jean Racine Books in Order


“Phèdre” is a tragic play written by Jean Racine, first performed in 1677 at the court of King Louis XIV. The play is based on the Greek myth of Phaedra, a tragic figure who falls in love with her stepson Hippolytus. The story unfolds as Phèdre confesses her forbidden love to her confidante Oenone, and Hippolytus himself reveals his feelings for Aricia, a princess who is Phaedra’s rival. The play explores themes of love, desire, and the destructive power of passion.

The main conflict of “Phèdre” revolves around the characters’ conflicting emotions and the consequences of their actions. Phèdre struggles with her forbidden passion for Hippolytus and the guilt she feels for desiring her husband’s son. Hippolytus, on the other hand, is torn between his duty to his father and his love for Aricia. The play builds to a tragic climax as Phèdre’s feelings drive her to extreme measures, resulting in devastating consequences for all involved.

Racine’s “Phèdre” is known for its poetic language and profound exploration of human emotions. The play delves into the complexities of love and desire, as well as the destructive nature of unchecked passion. Through its timeless themes and compelling characters, “Phèdre” continues to be celebrated as a classic work of French tragedy.


“Andromaque” by Jean Racine is a tragic play that revolves around the aftermath of the Trojan War. The story is set in Epirus, where Andromache, the widow of Hector, is held captive by King Pyrrhus. Pyrrhus desires Andromache, but she remains loyal to her deceased husband and is hesitant to return his affections. Meanwhile, Pyrrhus seeks to marry Hermione, who in turn loves him. The play delves into the complex web of love, betrayal, and political intrigue as the characters navigate their conflicting desires and allegiances.

The play is known for its intense emotional drama and complex character dynamics. Racine’s poetic language and exploration of human emotions make “Andromaque” a gripping and thought-provoking work. The tension between love and duty, as well as the consequences of past actions, are central themes in the play. Racine’s skillful portrayal of human nature and the complexities of relationships makes “Andromaque” a timeless and compelling piece of literature.

Overall, “Andromaque” is a powerful and tragic play that delves into the depths of human emotion and the complexities of love and loyalty. The characters grapple with their desires and the consequences of their actions, leading to a dramatic and compelling storyline that continues to captivate audiences to this day.


“Britannicus” by Jean Racine is a tragedy set in ancient Rome, focusing on the power struggle between Emperor Nero and his stepbrother Britannicus. The plot revolves around Nero’s increasing paranoia and desire to eliminate Britannicus as a threat to his rule. The story also delves into the complex dynamics of love, betrayal, and political manipulation within the royal court.

The central conflict of the play arises from Nero’s fear of Britannicus’ rightful claim to the throne. As the drama unfolds, Nero becomes increasingly ruthless and suspicious, ultimately resorting to poisoning Britannicus in order to secure his own position as emperor. Racine’s masterful portrayal of the characters’ inner turmoil heightens the tension and emotion of the story, leading to a gripping and tragic climax.

The play showcases Racine’s skillful use of language and verse, as well as his ability to create compelling and multi-dimensional characters. “Britannicus” remains a timeless exploration of power, ambition, and the destructive nature of unchecked authority.


“Bérénice” is a tragedy written by French playwright Jean Racine. The play is set in Rome and revolves around the love triangle between the Emperor Titus, his former lover Bérénice, and his best friend Antiochus. Titus is torn between his duty as an emperor and his love for Bérénice, as he struggles to find a way to reconcile his personal desires with his responsibilities to the state. The play explores the themes of love, duty, and sacrifice, and ultimately ends in tragedy for the main characters.

Racine’s “Bérénice” is known for its intense and emotional portrayal of the conflicting desires and obligations of the characters, as well as its exploration of the complexities of human relationships and the sacrifices that love often demands. The play is written in Racine’s signature classical style, with poetic language and a focus on internal conflict and psychological depth. Through the characters of Titus, Bérénice, and Antiochus, Racine delves into the complexities of love and power, and the ways in which they intersect in the lives of the characters.

Overall, “Bérénice” is a timeless tragedy that continues to resonate with audiences due to its universal themes and compelling characters. Racine’s exploration of love, duty, and sacrifice in the context of power and politics makes the play a thought-provoking and emotionally impactful work that has stood the test of time.


“Iphigénie” by Jean Racine is a French tragedy that is based on the Greek myth of Iphigenia. The play is set during the Trojan War and revolves around the dilemma faced by Agamemnon, the King of Mycenae, who is forced to sacrifice his daughter, Iphigénie, in order to gain favorable winds for the Greek fleet. The play explores themes of duty, sacrifice, and the struggle between personal desires and the greater good.

The story unfolds as Iphigénie is brought to Aulis under the pretext of marrying the warrior Achilles, only to discover that she is to be sacrificed instead. The play delves into the emotional turmoil of the characters as they grapple with the moral implications of their actions. Iphigénie’s bravery and willingness to sacrifice herself for the glory of her country contrasts with the conflicted emotions of her father, Agamemnon, as he struggles with the decision to sacrifice his own daughter.

Racine’s “Iphigénie” is a powerful exploration of the human condition, blending political intrigue, personal sacrifice, and moral dilemmas. The play is a timeless classic that continues to resonate with audiences, prompting reflection on the complexities of human nature and the choices we make in the pursuit of greater goals.

Iphigenia / Phaedra / Athaliah

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“Bajazet” is a tragic play written by French dramatist Jean Racine. Set in the Ottoman Empire, the play revolves around the love affair between Bajazet and Roxane. As the plot unfolds, Bajazet, a noble and valiant prince, is imprisoned by his enemy, the Sultan Amurat. Bajazet’s love for Roxane and his desire for freedom propel the story forward, leading to a series of tragic events.

The play examines themes of love, power, and betrayal, as well as the clash between duty and personal desires. Racine’s skillful portrayal of complex characters and their emotional turmoil adds depth to the story, creating a compelling narrative that explores the human condition. With its intense emotions and dramatic conflicts, “Bajazet” remains a timeless classic in French literature, showcasing Racine’s mastery of tragic drama.

Throughout the play, Racine’s evocative language and compelling dialogue bring the characters to life, drawing readers into the turbulent world of the Ottoman Empire. As the story reaches its tragic conclusion, the audience is left to ponder the consequences of love and ambition, making “Bajazet” a thought-provoking and emotionally stirring work of literature.

Andrómaca / Fedra

Andromaque / Phaedra is a collection of two classical tragedies written by the French playwright Jean Racine. Andromaque is a tragic story that takes place after the Trojan War, focusing on the widow Andromache and the struggles she faces as the wife of Hector, the fallen hero of Troy. The play deals with themes of love, jealousy, and the impact of war on human relationships. Phaedra, on the other hand, is a story of tragic love and passion, revolving around the character of Phaedra, who becomes consumed by her forbidden desire for her stepson, Hippolytus. The play explores the destructive power of unchecked emotions and the consequences of acting on impulses.

Jean Racine’s writing is characterized by its intense emotional depth, psychological complexity, and the exploration of human desires and their consequences. Both Andromaque and Phaedra are prime examples of Racine’s mastery of classical tragedy, as he delves into the complexities of human nature and the moral dilemmas faced by his characters. The plays are revered for their timeless themes and poetic language, making them enduring classics of French literature and theater.

Racine’s Andromaque / Phaedra continues to be studied and performed by theater enthusiasts and scholars alike, and its enduring relevance is a testament to the playwright’s profound understanding of the human condition and his skillful portrayal of the complexities of human relationships and emotions. The collection remains a cornerstone of classical tragedy and a testament to Racine’s enduring legacy as one of the greatest playwrights of his time.

Mithridate (Folio Theatre)

“Mithridate (Folio Theatre)” by Jean Racine is a tragedy that revolves around the conflict between Mithridates, the king of Pontus, and his two sons, Xipharès and Pharnace, who are vying for the love of Monime, the princess of Cappadocia. The play is set in the royal palace in Paphlagonia, where Mithridates is grappling with political uncertainty and personal turmoil. The plot unfolds as the characters navigate their complex emotions and allegiances, culminating in a dramatic showdown that exposes the depths of their desires and betrayals.

Racine’s play delves into themes of love, jealousy, and power, capturing the intricacies of human relationships and the destructive consequences of unchecked passion and ambition. The characters’ internal struggles are intertwined with the larger political and familial dynamics, creating a gripping narrative that underscores the timeless allure of tragedy. Through vivid dialogue and poignant interactions, Racine masterfully portrays the turmoil of the human heart and the complexities of morality, offering a thought-provoking exploration of the human condition.

As the plot unfolds, Mithridate and his sons grapple with the consequences of their actions, revealing the depths of their conflicting desires and loyalties. The play’s intense emotional intensity and riveting conflicts propel the narrative forward, culminating in a tragic conclusion that leaves a lasting impact on the characters and the audience alike. “Mithridate (Folio Theatre)” stands as a timeless testament to Racine’s mastery of tragedy and his profound understanding of the human psyche.


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Biography Jean Racine

The playwright Jean Baptiste Racine is known for his tragedies, such as Britannicus and Phèdre, which are based on Classical Greek and Roman themes. Alongside Molière and Pierre Corneille, he is considered one of the most important literary figures of the 17th century. His dramaturgy is marked by psychological insight, passionate characters, and a starkness in both plot and stage. Despite being primarily a tragedian, Racine also wrote one comedy. Orphaned at a young age, he was raised by his grandparents and received a classical education at a religious institution, which greatly influenced his work. His interactions with the Jansenists, followers of a heretical theology, during his years at this academy had a significant impact on his life and plays. Racine ultimately died from cancer of the liver and was buried in the church of Saint-Étienne-du-Mont in Paris after the destruction of his requested burial site at Port-Royal.

Author Jean Racine

Frequently Asked Questions about author Jean Racine

Jean Racine books transformations to the screen

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What types of books does Jean Racine write

Jean Racine was a French playwright and poet known for writing tragedies. Some of his famous works include “Phèdre,” “Andromaque,” “Britannicus,” and “Iphigénie.” His plays often explored themes of love, passion, and betrayal in a poetic and dramatic manner.

How many books has Jean Racine written

Jean Racine has written 11 plays.

What was the first book written by Jean Racine

The first book written by Jean Racine is “La Thébaïde, ou les frères ennemis” (The Thebaid, or the Enemy Brothers).

Published at 23:56 - 08/02/2024
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