Page:Asch-God of vengeance.djvu/15

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INTRODUCTION

time forth, so help me Heaven in my last hour, I'll do wrong and nothing but wrong. And I'll prosper on it." Perhaps, too, the retribution which in each case is visited upon the parent arises from the fact that both Mrs. Warren and Yekel have, in Vivie's accusatory words, "lived one life and believed in another."

"The God of Vengeance," despite conclusions too easily drawn, is not a sex play. When Ash wishes to deal with sex as sex he is not afraid to handle the subject with all the poetry and power at his command. Such a play as his "Jephthah's Daughter" treats the elemental urge of sex with daring, beauty and Dionysiac abandon. Here, too, a golden symbolism wafts through the piece. Again, in his powerful novel "Mottke the Vagabond," Ash has given us scenes from the underworld of Warsaw that are unparalleled for unflinching truth to detail. "The God of Vengeance," however, despite the sordid environment in which the play takes place, possesses a certain moral beauty, — a beauty much dimmed, perhaps, by the repellant human beings who are its carriers, but a beauty none the less. Its symbolism and its poetry lift it far above the brothel in which it takes place. And what a strong conception is the Holy Scroll, itself one of the chief characters, and how frightfully eloquent in the mysterious, religious power that the dramatist has woven around it![1]

  1. The Holy Scroll, the religious significance of which is fully explained in the course of the play, is a parchment manuscript containing the first five books of the Bible, together known as the Torah, or Law. (Pentateuch).

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