Page:The thirty-six dramatic situations (1921).djvu/17

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15
FIRST SITUATION

It should be noted that the "Phrygians," and the Twenty-fourth Book of the Iliad, which inspired the play, form a transition toward the Twelfth Situation (A Refusal Overcome).

C (1)—Supplication of the Powerful for Those Dear to the Suppliant.—Complete example: Esther. Partial example: Margaret in the denouement of "Faust." Historical example: Franklin at the court of Louis XVI. Example corresponding also to A (3): the "Propompes" of Aeschylus.

(2)—Supplication To a Relative in Behalf of Another Relative.—Example: the "Eurysaces" of Sophocles.

(3)—Supplication to a Mother's Lover, in Her Behalf.—Example: "L'Enfant de l'Amour" (Bataille, 1911).

It is apparent that, in the modern theater, very little use has been made of this First Situation. If we except subdivisions C (1), which is akin to the poetic cult of the Virgin and the Saints, and C (3), there is not a single pure example, doubtless for the reason that the antique models have disappeared or have become unfamiliar, and more particularly because, Shakespeare, Lope and Corneille not having transformed this theme or elaborated it with those external complexities demanded by our modern taste, their successors have found the First Situation too bare and simple a subject for this epoch. As if one idea were necessarily more simple than another!—as if all those which have since launched upon our stage their countless ramifications had not in the beginning shown the same vigorous simplicity!

It is, however, our modern predilection for the complex which, to my mind, explains the favor now accorded to group C alone, wherein by easy means a fourth figure (in essence, unfortunately, a somewhat parasitic and monotonous one), the Intercessor, is added to the trinity of Persecutor, Suppliant and Power.

Of what variety, nevertheless, is this trinity capable! The Persecutor,—one or many, voluntary or unconscious, greedy or revengeful, spreading the subtle net-