Poster for the theater play “Bajazet” by Racine.
“Bajazet” is a tragedy by Jean Racine in five acts (composed of 4, 5, 8, 7, and 12 scenes, respectively), in Alexandrian verse, first played at the Hotel de Bourgogne, on January 5, 1672, after Berenice, and before Mithridate.
Like Aeschylus in The Persians, Racine took his subject from contemporary history, taking care to choose a far off location, the Ottoman Empire.
The plot: In 1635, the sultan Murad IV (Amurat, in the work of Racine) had his brothers and potential rivals Bajazet and Orcan executed. Racine was inspired by this deed, and centered his play on Bajazet. Racine also develops several romantic subplots in the seraglio. The action is particularly complex, and can only be resolved by a series of deaths and suicides.”