Page:The thirty-six dramatic situations (1921).djvu/53

From Wikisource
Jump to: navigation, search
This page has been proofread, but needs to be validated.


FIFTEENTH SITUATION

MURDEROUS ADULTERY

(Elements: Two Adulterers; a Betrayed Husband or Wife)

This, to my mind, is the only strongly appealing form in which adultery can be presented; otherwise is it not a mere species of house-breaking, the less heroic in that the Object of theft is an accomplice, and that the household door, already thrown open by treachery, requires not even a push of the shoulder? Whereas this treachery becomes at least logical and endurable in so far as it is a genuinely sincere folly, impassioned enough to prefer assassination to dissimulation and a base sharing of love.

A (1) The Slaying of a Husband by, or for, a Paramour: — The "Agamemnons" of Aeschylus, of Seneca and of Alfieri; Webster's "Vittoria Corombona;" "Pierre Pascal;" "Les Emigrants" (Hirsch, L909); "L'Impasse" Fread Amy, 1909); "Partage de Midi" (Paul Claudel) ; "Amour (Leon Hennique, 1890); the beginning of the "Powers of Darkness." Historic example, with pride and shame as motives for the crime: the legend of Gyges and Candaules. From fiction: the first part of "Therese Raquin."

(2) — The Slaying of a Trusting Lover: — "Samson et Dalila" (opera by Saint-Saens, 1890).

B — Slaying of a Wife for a Paramour, and in Self-interest: — Seneca's "Octavia" and also Alfieri's; "La Lutte pour la Vie" by Daudet (in which cupidity