Phaedra and Enlightenment

Topics: Emotion, Love, Psychology Pages: 2 (768 words) Published: January 27, 2013
Phaedra and Enlightenment values

The Enlightenment period was began shortly after the Edict of Nantes in 1685 and lasted through the 18th century. This was an “intellectual movement” and the writers of this period disapproved of religion and politics ruled by absolutism. “ The movement would question almost every aspect of social and political life in Europe”(Hunt, 522). The writers and scholars that had enlightened views were those who believed that all people are able to apply reason or critical thinking to all issues that may arise in their lives. The countries that were affected most by the Atlantic system were participants in the enlightenment movement, such as: Britain, France and the Dutch Republic (Hunt, 522). Jean Racine is the Author of a tragedy named Phaedra. The play “Phaedra” has many examples of Enlightenment values in it. The play deals with many human emotions such as; passion, love and I do believe that there is a dangerous level to all these emotions such as the play suggests. Human emotion can be very complex, as it is in this play. Phaedra is filled with so much grief from having lustful feelings for her stepson Hippolytus. He on the other hand is filled with much grief and anxiety as well from the secret that he holds knowing that his stepmother Phaedra has deep feelings of love for him. It seems very heavy on both of their hearts to hold on to a secret such as this. Phaedra is clearly very much in love with Hippolytus and she lets this consume her mind body and soul. She goes as far as telling her husband, Theseus the King, that she was raped by Hippolytus. Phaedra is out of control at that point and the emotions that she feels for her stepson have made her irrational and make poor decisions. Her lies and deceit have tarnished many relationships in this story. The emotions that Phaedra has for Hippolytus are extreme, and I think that the events that occurred thus far show that emotions can be very dangerous if they spin out of...
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