Alt Title

Moralité et héroïsme dans Phèdre et La Princesse de Clèves

Publication Date


Document Type


First Advisor

Birberick, Anne L. (Anne Lynn), 1954-

Degree Name

M.A. (Master of Arts)

Legacy Department

Department of Foreign Languages and Literatures


Racine; Jean; 1639-1699. Phèdre; La Fayette; Madame de (Marie-Madeleine Pioche de La Vergne); 1634-1693. Princesse de Clèves; Ethics in literature; Heroes in literature; French literature--17th century--History and criticism


Both Phèdre and La Princesse de Clèves deal with the theme of immoral passion. This study will consider passion as it is experienced by the heroines. It will also examine how the heroines express their passion and make it known to the outside worlds. Finally, it will try to define heroism by the standards of morality. Their passion being immoral, Phèdre and Mme de Clèves are not able to live it out in the real world. They will therefore create dreams in which reality is transformed according to their wishes. However the presence of their husbands does not allow for the illusion to continue and reality must return. At first, both heroines remain silent about their passion. When they start to put it into words, they discover that speech is dangerous because it can be manipulated and ambiguous. They will both return to silence at the end of their lives. Although Phèdre seems to be more immoral than Mme de Clèves, they both end their lives heroically as they refuse to give in to a destructive passion. Mme de Clèves especially shows that heroism means the knowledge and recognition of one’s individuality. She remains an "inimitable example."


Includes bibliographical references (pages [90]-91)


91 pages




Northern Illinois University

Rights Statement

In Copyright

Rights Statement 2

NIU theses are protected by copyright. They may be viewed from Huskie Commons for any purpose, but reproduction or distribution in any format is prohibited without the written permission of the authors.

Media Type