If it is the persuasive interaction of characters that constitutes the theatricality of Jean Racine's discourse, what becomes of verbal action if characters speak when they are alone, or accompanied by silent and anonymous followers? When d'Aubignac says that in 17th-century French tragedy to speak is to act, he gives the example of Emilie's monologue at the beginning of Cinna. If persuasion is central to an understanding of verbal action involving two or more characters, can it not be useful in appreciating monologues? Does the definition of verbal action have to change to incorporate any features that might be peculiar to monologues? This chapter explores answers to these questions. It also compares lyricism with persuasion and discusses deliberative oratory and judicial oratory in Racine's monologues.
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