Page:The thirty-six dramatic situations (1921).djvu/19

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(Elements: an Unfortunate, a Threatener, a Rescuer)

This is, in a way, the converse of the First Situation, in which the unfortunate appeals to an undecided power, whereas here an unexpected protector, of his own accord, comes suddenly to the rescue of the distressed and despairing.

A—Appearance of a Rescuer to the Condemned:—The "Andromedas" of Sophocles, of Euripides and of Corneille; "Le Jeu de Saint Nicolas" (Jean Bodel). Partial examples: the first act of "Lohengrin;" the third act of Voltaire's "Tancred;" the role of the generous patron in "Boislaurier" (Richard, 1884). The last example and the following show particularly the honor of the unfortunate at stake: Daniel and Susanna, and various exploits of chivalry. A parody: "Don Quixote." A familiar instance: judicial assistance. The dénouement of "Bluebeard" (here the element of kinship enters, in the defense by brothers of their sister, and increases the pathos by the most simple of means, forgotten, however, by our playwrights).

B (1)—A Parent Replaced Upon a Throne by his Children:—"Aegeus" and "Peleus," by Sophocles; Euripides' "Antiope." Cases in which the children have previously been abandoned are "Athamas I" and also the "Tyro" of Sophocles. (The taste of the future author of "Œdipus at Colonus" for stories in which the Child plays the role of deliverer and dispenser of justice, forms a bitter enough contrast to the fate which awaited the poet himself in his old age.)

(2)—Rescue by Friends, or by Strangers Grateful for Benefits or Hospitality:—Sophocles' "Œneus,"