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By C. J. Gossip (auth.)

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Above the second tier of loges down each side of the building ran a paradis or gods, containing a long bench and a guardrail. 75 metres deep, with rows of benches rising steeply to the back, although some critics, quoting the definition given in Furetiere's dictionary of 1690, see the amphitheatre as occupying the rear of the pi t or ground floor, raised above this floorlevel but wi th the double tier offour loges on top. Richelet's dictionary often years earlier is unhelpfully vague on the matter.

Since two of the three authors quoted might be said to have a vested interest in attacking rowdyism in the theatre (both the abbe de Pure and the abbe d'Aubignac, as well as being critics and prose writers, were minor dramatists), we may want to treat the detail of their accounts with some caution. What appears certain from the available evidence is that the pit audience was by and large a popular one; if this is so, then the number of patrons from among the lower classes was far from negligible.

One side of the stage represented the temple ofJupiter, with an altar and various ornaments, while the other was a climbable mountain made of wood, with at its foot 'une chambre funebre remplie de larmes, Ie tom beau d'Hercule superbe'. There were various pyramids, and vases with painted flames coming out 26 An Introduction to French Classical Tragedy of them. A fourth site was the 'middle' of the stage, representing an ornately decorated room, and a final location was the prison near the tomb, making five sites in all.

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