Discuss The Representation Of God In Athalie Art Essay

In the western universe, most Christians, reflecting their ain clip and topographic point, by and large regard God as a friend, as a male parent, who is ever ready to demo his clemency and forgiveness. However in Jean Racine ‘s clip, things would non be wholly the same. Peoples must hold seen God as a supreme King so high above more than a friend or a male parent. That is due to the clip, in which the bulk of them were still populating under the hierarchal society, an age of absolute swayers. It is known to all that, Jean Racine ‘s calamity – Athalie is the version of the narrative in II Kings, chapter 11 and 12 ( a analogue history is in II Chronicles 22 – 24 ) , originally from the Holy Bible. Since it is a kind of reading of the narrative from the Holy Bible, so this calamity – Athalie itself is bound to hold some connexions with the God, who is the dominant figure throughout the whole book. Even though this is a calamity about humanity, where human existences are ruling the functions, the influence from God above on each character in this calamity is still deserving detecting. Therefore it would be really absorbing to analyze how God is represented in Racine ‘s calamity, and what sort of function God plays in at that place, i.e. is God every bit important as the other characters such as Athalie and Joad or is God simply an embroidery, which is of small importance.

Reading through the whole drama, it is about noticeable that God presented in this drama is frequently equivocal, merely when the choruses appear the audience or reader would detect the loving father our God. Thus it is sensible to reason, if Racine intentionally weakens the importance of the function of God in order to keep humanity, which is the nucleus subject he sets for his drama. Yet on 2nd ideas, one should be cognizant that possibly Racine is believing about showing God in a less-perceptible and less-visible manner. And in fact, his thought of showing God is genuinely singular in Athalie, as he makes the function of God fulfilled by other characters instead than straight by God himself. The undermentioned characters are those who I believe take the duty to stand for God in Athalie: Joad, Athalie and Josabet.

The length of Joad ‘s clip on phase can certainly bespeak how of import this function is. As the high priest, he certainly has the closest relation with God in this drama. Actually in many occasions, Joad does non talk simply on his history, but shows himself, that as a prophesier, he is the chief spokesman in the drama for God himself, the unseeable character whose presence dominates the whole action, and he is besides the chief representative of the values of his faith, many of which values the drama was no uncertainty commissioned to elaborate. Even though in this drama, Joad may look to be a rough and sturdy figure by any criterions, his virtuousness such as intelligence, bravery and unity must non be ignored. Then by foregrounding Joad ‘s exceeding virtuousnesss, Racine at the interim is able to stand for God. Because God himself stands for justness, order and power, and Joad precisely adapts himself to God ‘s function on Earth: he is the high priest, so in the land of Judah, he has power non less than the queen – Athalie ; his unagitated opinion and tireless attempt to reconstruct the line of David proves he wants to convey the traditional order and justness back to his state ( it may every bit good be argued that he would be profit when Joas takes the power, nevertheless I will be given to believe that he seeks power non for his ain interest but in order to function God, in whom his trust in unwavering ) . But what have any of these to make with God? First of all, God ‘s promise of a Messiah might be frustrated if the posterities of David be wiped off by Athalie, in order to forestall that from go oning, Joas, the last descendent of David must be saved and crowned male monarch. It is Joad who takes the duty and fulfils the mission. His severity, hardness and finding, shown as he is for the endurance and future prosperity of his people and the reliable faith, are what God requires and hopes people to move. Thus this is how Joad substitutes God ‘s function on Earth in this drama, or in other words, how God is represented through Joad.

Athalie is portrayed by Racine as a wicked, evil character, though sometimes the audience and reader may hold some understanding for her. Yet above all she is still the ‘arch-enemy ‘ to Joas and Joad, who represent the orthodoxy and traditional order, while Athalie sides in upset order and dictatorship. Accordingly Athalie would hold been an heroic narrative instead than a calamity, but why so? Possibly Racine is seeking to state us that the affaire d’honneur between human being ( in this drama is Athalie ) and God can hold a alone result, and Athalie is unluckily as an illustration shown here. Because it is God who leads Athalie into evil by working her passions and this seems to be inconsistent. The nature of God is once more reinforced here, that God ‘s authorization must non be offended, and his promises will non be broken. It could hold been evidenced by Joad ‘s bravery or his virtuous workss but Racine chooses Athalie this tragic character to foreground the consequence from a contradictive manner.

Josabet, as married woman of the high priest Joad and the one saves Joas, is queerly quieter than other characters and accordingly her importance and value are easy ignored, whereas she is one of the characters that Racine uses to replace God in Athalie. Unlike Joad represents the justness, power from God or Athalie indicates the suffering result if human affaire d’honneur with God, Josabet is shown more by the heat of her personality and by her unselfish love for Joas, that the cause of God has a human and positive face, in contrast with the harsh and comminatory image normally ( though non ever ) projected by her hubby. Furthermore, Josabet is stand foring God in a more complicated manner. On one manus she has more human traits, like her loving and touching relationship with her hubby, despite her frequent failure to swear to God makes her hubby disturbance. On the other manus, her occasional unfaithful attitude towards God and her changeless love on Joas even when his hubby foretells their boy Zacharie will be killed by him represents another nature of God: cosmopolitan love. God loves the virtuous but besides the evildoers. This is possibly how Racine characterizes God through Josabet in her limited visual aspect in this drama.

In decision, it is non like in the Holy Bible the being of God is rather perceptible through his direct address or something, in this drama although the choruses, which sing of a big and loving God whose changeless attention is for the human race sometimes remind the audiences and readers of the God. Furthermore on occasion the Temple, which is by and large acknowledged to be the dwelling topographic point of God himself and its function as the Centre of Judaic faith, can besides be seen as another type of symbol of God, but the representation of God is still chiefly carried out by Joad ‘s, Athalie ‘s and Josabet ‘s fulfillment of the characters. This spiritual component may non be so clearly cardinal to this drama, but surely maps really good to offer hints towards his apprehension of God. One ought to acknowledge that Racine ‘s command of dramatic suspense and of character is extremely extraordinary. As the tenseness additions and reduces, the audiences and readers are able to feel non merely the humanity inside this drama but besides the representation of God, though the latter frequently appears as glances and requires more attending to be sensed. Furthermore it must be emphasized that the representation of God lies in the heads and Black Marias of the characters.


Brereton, G. , ( 1973 ) , Gallic Tragic Drama in the 16th and 17th Centuries. London: Penguin

Dryhurst, J. , ( 1994 ) , Racine: Athalie. Critical ushers to Gallic texts. Grant & A ; Cutler Ltd

Lapp, J.C. , ( 1956 ) , Aspect of Racinian Tragedy. Toronto: University of Toronto

Racine, J. , ( 2009 ) , Britannicius, Phaedra, Athaliah. erectile dysfunction. C.H.Sisson. Oxford University Publish.

Yarrow, P. , ( 1978 ) , Racine, Oxford: Blackwell


Hi there, would you like to get such a paper? How about receiving a customized one? Check it out