Memories, Fantasies, and Realities of Death in Racine’s Andromaque

Wilton-Godberfforde, Emilia (2019). Memories, Fantasies, and Realities of Death in Racine’s Andromaque. In: Hammond, Nicholas and Harris, Joseph eds. Racine's Andromaque: Absences and Displacements. Faux Titre, 436. Leiden: Brill, Rodopi, pp. 61–78.



The world of Racine’s Andromaque is defined by loss, dislocation, and trauma. Fundamental components of the temporal fixations shared by the different characters (namely, their compulsion to fuse past, present and future) are the perpetual memo- ries, fantasies, threats and violent realities of death. In this paper, I propose to examine how death functions in the play through a dynamic interplay of binary oppositions. These include seeking out the dead and fleeing from the dead; shielding from death and threatening death; death as a strategic manoeuvre and as a wild uncontrolled act; death as a form of abstinence and as a lustful act; the death of Trojans as opposed to the death of Greeks; and male and female death. I show how death operates in a way that paradoxically immortalises and annihilates and will reveal the tension that is generated from the way in which characters obsessively negotiate their positions in relation to the slaughter of the past, imminent death and their mortiferous desires.

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