Page:The thirty-six dramatic situations (1921).djvu/25

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FOURTH SITUATION

VENGEANCE TAKEN FOR KINDRED UPON KINDRED

(Elements: Avenging Kinsman; Guilty Kinsman; Remembrance of the Victim, a Relative of Both.)

Augmenting the horror of Situation XXVII ("Discovery of the Dishonor of Ones Kindred") by the rough vigor of Situation III, we create the present action, which confines itself to family life, making of it a worse hell than the dungeon of Poe's "Pit and the Pendulum." The horror of it is such that the terrified spectators dare not intervene; they seem to be witnessing at a distance some demonic scene silhouetted in a flaming house.

Neither, it seems, do our dramatists dare intervene to modify the Greek tragedy, — such as it is after thirty appalling centuries.

For us it is easy to compute, from the height of our "platform" — to use Gozzi's word — the infinite variations possible to this theme, by multiplying the combinations which we have just found in the Third Situation, by those which the Twenty-seventh will give us.

Other germs of fertility will be found in turn in the circumstances which have determined the avenger's action. These may be a spontaneous desire on his own part (the simplest motive); the wish of the dying victim, or of the spirit of the dead mysteriously appear-