Voltaire returned from England with two plays already partially completed, and within three years he had finished and presented them along with two others, a group that is generally regarded as the most "English" of his many dramas. Brutus was read to the Comédie actors and accepted in October 1729, but Voltaire withdrew it for rewriting (he wrote quickly, but was an obsessive reworker of his dramatic pieces) and it was not presented until 11 December 1730.
Voltaire had returned to find a theatre much changed during his few years of absence from France. Baron, like his master, Molière, had been striken on stage and carried home to die that same fall. Duclos retired in 1730. Both of these actors had led long and full lives; much more unexpected and tragic was the death of the popular and beloved Adrienne Lecouvreur in 1730 at the age of thirty-eight. Although Lecouvreur had long suffered from very frail health, her death was such a shock that poisoning was suspected. Voltaire, who was at her deathbed with the surgeon and her long-time lover, Maurice de Saxe, ordered an autopsy, which found no poison. This was, however, not the end of scandal surrounding this much-publicized death. Despite the fact that antitheatrical tracts were now a rarity, and the theatre was widely regarded as useful for the encouragement of public and private morality, the acting profession itself was still banned by the church in France, and actors wishing to receive any sacraments (including marriage, baptism, or final rites) had to officially renounce their profession first. Baron had done so, and was given a respectful burial at his parish church, not far from the theatre. Lecouvreur, out of conviction or weakness, did not make the required renunciation, and