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N.1/2018 Studi cartesiani tra Europa e Brasile

Il teatro e la pietà secondo Descartes

Laurence Renault
Sorbonne Université (Paris)

Sorbonne University in Abu Dhabi

Published in June, 2018

Theather and piety according to Descartes

Studi Cartesiani tra Europa e


The following article deals with the elaboration of the Cartesian doc-trine of the pleasure that the members of the audience at the theatre take in sad passions, from the correspondence with Elisabeth to the Passions of the Soul. The text highlights the role played by the example of tragedy in the Cartesian thinking about the nature and the value of pity. In this way, it shows how Descartes takes a stance on the questions raised by Aristotle and Augustine concerning, on the one hand, the catharsis of the pity inspired by tragic performances and, on the other hand, the moral value of pity.


Descartes, Elisabeth of Bohemia, Aristotle, Saint Augustine, Theater, Passions, Pity, Catharsis, Virtue

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