Page:Rolland - People's Theater.djvu/36

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of Pyrrhus, of Hermione and Andromache, is simply this: a woman takes revenge on a man who refuses to love her, but is in love with another woman. She incites the man who loves her to kill the first. She, however, does not love the murderer, though she has promised to marry him. Maître Decori has only to recall some similar incident from his past experience, in which he will find a butcher and his wife, their assistant and a shop-girl. In fact, this is what Maître Decori actually did; and he concluded with these words: 'I have just told you the story of Andromaque.'"

Now I understand the success of Andromaque. But here you have merely given the people a story from the Petit Journal! Do you really think that is the subject of Andromaque? Is that the "delicate shades," the "elegance of Racine"? How could you have possibly failed to observe that in the art of Racine the subject is next to nothing, that the analysis of human souls, and the style, is everything? Do you not see that when you emphasize the melodramatic element, you are not increasing appreciation of Racine; you are merely making him ridiculous?

M. Faguet felt this, and in one of his most open-minded articles set forth with striking irony what the people saw in Racine's masterpieces. M. Faguet is certainly no friend of the popular theater movement and he has often shown his disapproval to readers of the Journal des Débats—who asked nothing better than to be convinced. He said that "the