An analysis of Polyeucte by Pierre Corneille reveals that the presence of God’s grace is evidently alive and can be seen in the character’s actions and choices throughout the play. At the beginning of the play, the main character Polyeucte is immediately thrown into a dilemma, to be baptized or not to be baptized. On one hand he fears his wife, who is a non-Christian will become angry with him for going through with the baptism. On the other hand, his friend Nearchus urges him to become a Christian as soon as possible. The question then becomes how the role of grace affects not only Polyeucte’s actions but all the main characters in the play. Grace is defined by the Merriam Webster Dictionary, as “unmerited divine assistance given humans for their regeneration or sanctification”. This leads us to trying to figure out where grace is present in the play.
A very brief summary of Polyeucte, begins in Act I, where Paulina, the wife of Polyeucte confesses she was in love with a man named Severus before she married Polyeucte. Paulina has since been convinced that Severus died in battle; however her father, Felix is introduced into the play and announces that Severus is alive and is frightful that he has come to seek revenge against him because he rejected Severus Paulina’s hand in marriage. Polyeucte and his friend Nearchus get baptized and become Christians and when Felix learns of this he immediately puts Nearchus to death in order to strike fear into Polyeucte and make him to recant. Paulina begs her father to not put Polyeucte to death but her father is scared that Severus is plotting something against him and executes Polyeucte. Right after the moment that Polyeucte becomes a martyr, Paulina converts to Christianity and Felix follows her footsteps.
Throughout history, God’s grace has been developed by many scholars. After years of attending private school and studying about the Christian faith, I’ve soon to realize that God’s grace is simply the desire implanted in human beings by God to do his will. Grace is a gift from God in order for human beings to follow their faith and what they believe in and we only received this grace through Jesus’ sacrifice on the cross. Grace has one characteristic and that is the actions of one person to do God’s will. Grace is God’s good will and there are no bad qualities about it; to put it in simpler words, it basically the motives a person have to do a certain thing. Polyeucte, the main character that Corneille creates is motivated by this grace to do God’s will.
The obvious sign of God’s grace in action is depicted immediately when the play starts; Polyeucte’s conversion to Christianity and his desire to be baptized. After Polyeucte’s baptism, where he receives God’s grace he refuses to recant his new profound faith, “Paulina: Leave these wild raveling’s. Love me. Polyeucte: But I do, Much less than God, but far more than myself” (Corneille 99). This interaction between his wife shows Polyeucte is a...