Page:The thirty-six dramatic situations (1921).djvu/32

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30 THIRTY-SIX DRAMATIC SITUATIONS

C (1) — Ingratitude Suffered (of all the blows of misfortune, this is perhaps the most poignant): — Euripides' "Archelaus" (excepting the denouement, in which the action is reversed); Shakespeare's "Timon of Athens" and "King Lear," and the beginning of his "Coriolanus;" Byron's "Marino Faliero;" a part of "The Count of Carmagnola," by Manzoni. Bismarck's dismissal by the young Emperor William. The martyrs, the many instances of devotion and sacrifice unappreciated by those who have benefited by it, the most glorious of deaths shine against this dark background; Socrates and the Passion are but the most celebrated examples. "Le Reformateur" (Rod, 1906).

(2) — The Suffering of Unjust Punishment or Enmity (this corresponds in some degree to the "Judicial Errors"): — Sophocles' "Teucer;" Aeschylus' "Salaminiae."

(3) — An Outrage Suffered: — the first act of "The Cid;" the first act of "Lucrece Borgia." The "point of honor" offers better material than these simple episodes. We may imagine some more sensitive Voltaire, reduced by his persecutions to helplessness and to the point of dying in despair.

D (1) — Abandonment by a Lover or a Husband: — "Faust;" Cornielle's "Ariane;" the beginning of the "Medeas;" "Maternite" (Brieux, 1903).

(2) — Children Lost by Their Parents: — "Le Petit Poucet."

If classes B, C and D, which are concerned with the fate of individuals, have been so much less developed than they might easily have been, what shall be said of the case of social disasters, such as Class A? Shakespeare did not tread far enough upon that majestic way. Only among the Greeks has a work of this kind presented at one stroke that conception of human events, sublime, fatalistic and poetic, of which Herodotus was one day to create history.