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Words of Wisdom

Henry Becque and the Hypocrisy of Equality

“The defect of equality,” wrote the bombastic French dramatist, “is that we only desire it with our superiors.”

Henry Becque (1837-1899) was a French playwright and one of the early pioneers of dramatic realism and French naturalism. Staunchly unsentimental, Becque’s plays were notable for their relative brutality and his emphasis on portraying realistic characters with familiar struggles. His later devotion to investigating social ills through his work made him a forebear to the genre’s more famous stalwarts: Ibsen, Shaw, and Strindberg. 

“The defect of equality is that we only desire it with our superiors.”

Source: Querelles littéraires (1890)


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