Page:Rolland - People's Theater.djvu/145

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the magnetic force of example, and of the action which irresistibly springs from action, historical drama enjoys the inestimable advantage of shaping the conscience and the intelligence of the people.

The majority of those who take it upon themselves to educate the people demand that the drama shall offer a cut-and-dried solution to the problems of the day. Leaving aside the fact that some problems cannot be solved at present, and that it would be most unwise to try to hasten their solution, there is nothing more fatal to education than to impose ready-made formulas on the people. What really matters is the development of their minds through the intelligence, and the training of the powers of observation. History will teach them to come out of themselves, and observe the souls of others—friends and enemies alike. They will once more find themselves in the past, where characters are much the same as they are now, only different in appearance, with the same vices and weakness as themselves; and these they can recognize and possibly guard against. The confession of their own faults will perhaps induce them to be lenient toward others. The perpetual train of varying ideas, customs, and prejudices set before them may perhaps show them that their own ideas, customs, and prejudices are not the center round which the world revolves, and that justice and reason cannot be founded upon a few pharisaical rules; to contemplate transitory things, and not mistake them for eternal.