Violence and Virtue: Early Modern French Theatre (MLF2070)

15 credits

The seventeenth century was a great age of French theatre, including the celebrated comedies of Molière and the tragedies of Racine. This module offers an overview of French theatre during this period through its three great playwrights. Our French texts transport you to Medieval Spain, highlight the influence of Italian sketch theatre, offer biting satires of French society, and culminate in ancient Greek myth. You will study bloodthirsty revenge, the place of women in patriarchal society, education and social mobility, manipulators behind masks, and the world of gods and monsters. You will also observe changes in literary tastes, as theatregoers desensitized to violence from the Wars of Religion gave way to spectators whose fondness for linguistic eloquence and moral commentaries on their own times were strikingly modern.