Page:The thirty-six dramatic situations (1921).djvu/48

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Historical example: Caesar and Pompey. Hatred of two brothers-in-law, ex-rivals: "La Mer" (Jean Jullien, 1891) — the only modern drama, I may note in passing, in which one finds emotion increasing after the death of the principal character. In this respect it conforms to reality, in which we may experience shock or alarm, or cry out in dread, but in which we do not weep, nor feel sorrow to the full, until afterward, all hope being forever ended.

E — Hatred of Mother-in-law for Daughter-in-law: — Corneille's "Rodogune" (motive, tyrannical avarice).

F — Infanticide: — "Conte de Noel" (Linant, 1899). A part of the "Powers of Darkness."

I will not repeat the list of degrees of relationship into which this situation might be successively transferred. The case of hatred between sisters, one frequent enough, will offer, — even after "Le Carnaval des Enfants" (de Bouhelier) — an excellent opportunity for a study of feminine enmities, so lasting and so cruel; hatred of mother and daughter, of brother and sister, will be not less interesting; the same may be said for the converse of each class which has furnished our examples. May there not be an especially fine dramatic study in the deep subject, — heretofore so vulgar because treated by vulgar hands, — the antipathy of the mother and the husband of a young woman? Does it not represent the natural conflict between the ideal, childhood, purity, on the one hand, and on the other Life, vigorous and fertile, deceptive but irresistibly alluring?

Next the motive of hatred, changing a little, may vary from the everlasting "love of power" alleged in nearly all extant examples, and, what is worse, invariably painted in the strained attitudes of neo-classicism.[1]

The character of the common parent, torn by affection for both adversaries in these struggles, has been

  1. Neo-Classicism: Belonging to or designating the revival of classical taste and style in art.