Literary critic Bernard Weinberg reveals his survey of Racine’s plays, The Art of Jean Racine (1963,) it is in Phèdre that Racine finally solved the challenge of his demanding dramatic mode of expression:

Where the action had seemed to be satisfactorily compounded, the emotion had sometimes remained divided among several main personages, it had at other times failed to become a truly tragic emotion. Where the protagonist had seemed to possess the necessary qualities and to produce the desired, effect, his general effectiveness had been impaired or limited by the lack of a properly dramatic action. Only in Phedre will Racine combine the lessons learned about both action and protagonist into a brilliantly successful synthesis.

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