Page:The thirty-six dramatic situations (1921).djvu/29

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FIFTH SITUATION 27

and environment, far from being oppressive fatalities, become the germs of wisdom, which, satiety being reached, will triumph. This is why genius (not that of neurosis, but of the more uncommon mastery of neurosis) appears especially in families which have transmitted to it a wide experience of folly.

Through drama, then, we are enabled to gain our experience of error and catastrophe in a less costly way; by means of it we evoke vividly the innumerable memories which are sleeping in our blood, that we may purify ourselves of them by force of repetition, and accustom our dark souls to their own reflections. Like music, it will in the end "refine our manners" and dower us with the power of self-control, basis of all virtue. Nothing is more moral in effect than immorality in literature.

The sense of isolation which characterizes Situation V gives a singular unity to the action, and a clear field for psychologic observation, which need not be lessened by diversity of scenes and events.

A — Fugitives From Justice Pursued For Brigandage, Political Offenses, Etc.:- "Louis Perez of Galicia" and "Devotion to the Cross," both by Calderon; the beginning of the mediaeval Miracle "Robert-le-Diable;" "The Brigands" by Schiller; "Raffles" (Hornung, L907). Historical examples: the proscription of the Conventionnels; the Duchesse de Berry. Examples from fiction: "Rocambole" by Gaboriau; "Arsene Lupin" (Leblanc). Familiar instances: police news. Example in comedy: "Compere le Renard" (Polti, 1905).

B — Pursued For a Fault of love: — Unjustly. "Indigne!" (Barbier, 1884); more justly, Moliere's "Don Juan" and Comeille's "Festin de Pierre," (not to speak of various works of Tirso de Molina, Tellez, Villiers, Sadwell, Zamora, Goldoni, Grabbe, Zorilla, Dumas pere); very justly, "Ajax of Locris," by Sophocles. Familiar instances run all the way from the forced marriage of seducers to arrests for sidewalk flirtations.

C — A Hero Struggling Against a Power: — Aeschylus' "Prometheus Bound;" Sophocles' "Laocoon;" the