Page:The thirty-six dramatic situations (1921).djvu/54

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

52 THIRTY-SIX DRAMATIC SITUATIONS

dominates adultery); "The Schism of England" by Calderon; "Zobeide" by Gozzi. Narrative example: Bluebeard. Historic: the murder of Galeswinthe.

Hints for varying and modifying this situation: —

The betrayed husband or wife may be either more or less powerful, more or less sympathetic in character, than the slayer. The blindness of the intended victim may be more or less complete at various moments of the action; if it be dispelled, partly or fully, it may be by chance, by some imprudent act of the guilty ones, by a warning, etc.

Between the victim and the intruder, ties of affection, of duty, of gratitude, may have previously existed; ties very real to one or the other of the two. They may be relatives; they may find themselves united by some work or responsibility in common. The Victim, whether he be pursued openly or secretly, will be, doubtless, the object of an old rancor, either on the part of the consort or of the intruder; the origin of this rancor may be in any one of the imaginable offenses by which a human being is wounded in his family affections, his loves, his ideals, etc., or in his pride of birth, of name, of achievement; in his interests, (money, property, power, freedom); in any one of the external radiations of life.

Of the two adulterers, one may be but an instrument — impassioned or resigned, unconscious or involuntary — of the other, and may later be rejected, the end being attained; the blow may be struck by one of the two traitors alone, or it may be that neither of them has stained his own hands with the crime, which has been committed by a new character, perhaps unintentionally, or perhaps from love of one of the two Adulterers, who has utilized and directed this passion, or has let it move of its own accord toward the desired and criminal end.

A multitude of other characters will be, in varying degrees, the means employed, the obstacles, secondary victims, and accomplices in the sinister deed; the deed itself may be brought about according to the author's choice among the numberless circumstances which the