Representing Charles I's Death in Some Mazarinades : The Limits of the Aristotelian Tragic Model

Abstract : This article studies some 'Mazarinades' bearing on the death of King Charles I and published in 1649 in the context of the French 'Fronde'. Shocked as they were by the conditions in which the English monarch had been tried and executed, the anonymous authors of these tracts often resorted to the tragic metaphor to relate the event and warn their own countrymen against the mortal dangers of civil war. Even though it is possible to find in these texts the key elements of Aristotle's Poetics - which was being rediscovered in France at the time -, terms such as "muthos", "catharsis", "pathos" and even the notion of catastrophe are submitted to paradigmatic shifts. Their primary poetic acception tends to give way to a political or natural one: these Aristotelian notions seem no longer adequate to make sense of the death of a legitimate reigning monarch and to apprehend this unthinkable regicide. The recurrent - and, in England, very conventional - comparison of Charles I with Christ is the main reason why Aristotelian tragedy can hardly account for what was, in the opinion of many, a deicide.
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Submitted on : Tuesday, May 13, 2014 - 10:48:02 AM
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Gilles Bertheau. Representing Charles I's Death in Some Mazarinades : The Limits of the Aristotelian Tragic Model. Etudes Epistémè : revue de littérature et de civilisation (XVIe - XVIIIe siècles), Association Études Épistémè, 2012. ⟨halshs-00990151⟩

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