The relationship between religion and theater gave rise in seventeenth-century France to much discussion and dissent, commonly referred to as the Querelle de la moralité du théâtre. The 1640s were a rare period during which religious subjects were popular on the French stage; almost all of the major playwrights wrote at least one play that could be thus categorized (Pasquier 201). I propose to examine the friction between the domains of theater and religion through a discussion of the two most enduringly famous religious plays of this period, Pierre Corneille's Polyeucte (1643) and Jean Rotrou's Le Véritable Saint Genest (1645). I will approach the broader issues by tackling the long-standing problem of Félix's sudden conversion in Polyeucte's, final scene.
University of Pennsylvania Press
Ekstein, N. (2009). The conversion of Polyeucte’s Félix: The problem of religion and theater. French Forum, 34(1), 1-17.