This is a chapter about people who want to die, and others who try to stop them. Emily Wilson has recently identified the way in which tragic figures are sometimes “concerned not with dying too early but with living too long, or ‘overliving.’”1 Wilson’s reading focuses on figures who feel they should have died but who never resort to suicide. In this chapter, in contrast, I look at tragic characters who actively seek to die – more martyrs – but who overlive, at least for a time, because they are thwarted in their attempts. For if the martyr’s desire to die reveals a desire to stage an ending and to decide on questions of duration that are usually imagined to be beyond human control, a similar but contradictory desire to manage life is also evident in the projects of reason of state and in the new political practices at work both at home and in the colonies. Such projects are of particular interest to the neoclassical stage as it, too, tries to stage lives and to manage bodies, and in this chapter I pursue that dynamic as it is explored in the martyr tragedies of Pierre Corneille, and ask what light those plays shed on the particular sorts of embodiments proposed by reason of state.