Page:The thirty-six dramatic situations (1921).djvu/64

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D (1) — Being Upon the Point of Committing an Adultery Unknowingly (the only cases I have found in all drama): — "Le Roi Cerf" and "L'Amour des Trois Oranges," both by Gozzi.

(2) — Adultery Committed Unknowingly: — Probably the "Alcmene" of Aeschylus; "Le Bon Roi Dagobert" (Rivoire, 1908). From fiction: the end of "The Titan," by Jean-Paul Richter.

The various modifications of incest and other forbidden loves, which will be found in Situation XXVI, may be adapted in the same manner as those here classified.

We have seen above instances of adultery committed through a mistake on the part of the wife; it might also be through a mistake by the husband. This error is especially likely to be made by that one of the two adulterers who is unmarried; what is more common, for example, in the life of "pleasure," than to discover — a little tardily — that ones mistress is a married woman?

Ignorance of the sex of the beloved is the point upon which "Mademoiselle de Maupin" turns; there is in the first place a mistake (comedy), upon which are built the obsidional struggles of a soul (tragi-comedy), from which there finally results, when the truth is disclosed, a brief tragic dénouement.