The Tragic Middle links the philosophical texts of Aristotle with the tragic dramas of Racine and Euripides to show that tragic dramas of heroism results from a conflict between two ways of approaching a problem: a practical, ethical approach based on compromise and middle ground (Aristotle's ""golden mean"") and a theoretical approach that rejects ambivalence and admits only mutually exclusive solutions (the law of the ""excluded middle"" found in Aristotle's ""Metaphysics""). Richard Goodkin asserts that the tension between Aristotle's two precepts is eminently tragic and is crucial to the theatre of Racine and Euripides. The relation between the 17th-century French dramatist and the tragedian of ancient Greece has received scant critical attention, though four of Racine's plays are largely based on works by Euripides. Goodkin closely reads these eight plays, demonstrating and developing his theory of tragic discourse. He shows that traditional definitions of French Classicism stressing moderation and proportion fail to account for the tragic conflict central to Racine's work. Goodkin approaches the ancient and modern texts even-handedly, without treating the Euripides plays as mere forerunners of Racine's masterpiece or deeming Racine a pale imitator of Euripides.