Constancy and inconstancy in "Bérénice"


This study seeks to shed light on the dialectics of constancy/inconstancy operative in Bérénice, a tragedy noted for the primacy of moral conscience. Obligated to bear stressful situations with the utmost patience, Titus, Bérénice, and Antiochus must demonstrate a form of courage grounded in the Stoic ethos of magnanimity. Whether the protagonists give way to expressions of powerlessness or come to a decision free from constraint, they invariably are prey to a particular illusion and each one ultimately undergoes a moral conversion. In as much as their errors of judgment derive from the pathology of their passions, and despite their desire for self-mastery, they find themselves far removed from the ideal of the sage who is never mistaken.

Publication Title

Studi Francesi