France's greatest tragedian, Jean Racine, is often admired for his poetic and tragic qualities. This book, on the other hand, explores the theatrical qualities of Racine's language and takes as its analytical tool two neglected parts of rhetoric, inventio and dispositio. How does Racinewrite exciting dialogue? He makes the persuasive interaction of characters a key feature of his dramatic technique and Word as Action shows how he deploys persuasion in well-defined contexts: trials, embassies, and councils; informal oratory as protagonists try to manipulate each other and theirconfidants in order to make their own views and wishes prevail; self-persuasion in monologues; and narrations, often used by characters with persuasive intent. The book draws illuminating and provocative comparisons with other playwrights and offers a closer and better documented description of thespecific nature of Racine's theatrical language than has previously been available in any one study.