Commentary Andromaque, Acte Iv, Scène Iv

Commentary 1356-1386

This passage is a reply of Hermione to Pyrrhus.
Previously, he had realised that his decision to marry Andromaque was in no way sensible (“À moi-meme je devenais contraire”)   and decided to, after all, marry Hermione. Hermione is flattered but once again deceived when Pyrrhus gives in to his feelings for Andromaque the second time. Pyrrhus comes to her to announce this which Hermione is already aware of. She has in fact persuaded Oreste to revenge her by killing Pyrrhus.
Pyrrhus approaches Andromaque in an apologetic manner and takes her malignity towards him as a sign of indifference claiming that she can not love him since they have no relationship: “Nous fumes sans amour engagés l'un à l'autre”. Hermione has so far retained her self-control and replied in a sarcastic and harsh tone.

At the beginning of this passage she seems to finally lose her temper and bursts out : “Je ne t'ai point aimé, cruel?”. She can no longer bear Pyrrhus' claim that she doesn't love him. She lists the sacrifices she had to make for him despite his infidelity. We also obtain the impression that she as a proud woman (“Il y va de ma gloire!”) is ashamed of her position, Pyrrhus being indifferent to her even though she ought to be made his wife. “Tu me rapporterais un coeur qui m'était du” - She clearly feels that what Pyrrhus is doing is wrong but at the same time takes love as the explanation for her previous behaviour (“Je t'aimais inconstant, qu'aurais-je fait fidèle?”).
She even goes as far as to say his marriage to Andromaque will represent her own death. Having declared her love she still calls him “ingrate” and “cruel” which reflects the basic principle of love in Racine: It is closely related to hatred. She confesses that despite this it is still doubtful whether she loves him. This is a remarkable attitude and illustrates the difference in character between Hermione and Oreste. She is a proud woman who is in no need to beg a man to love her as...