Page:The thirty-six dramatic situations (1921).djvu/77

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THIRTY-SIX DRAMATIC SITUATIONS

Before leaving these four symmetrical situations, I would suggest a way of disposing their elements with a view to seeking states of mind and soul less familiar. We have just seen these forces marshalled : — Passion (vice, etc.); pure affection (for parents, friends, benefactors, and particularly devotion to their honor, their happiness, their interests); reasons of state (the success of a compatriot, of a cause, of a work); egoism (will to live, cupidity, ambition, avarice, vanity); honor (truthfulness, feminine chastity, promises to God, filial piety). Oppose these to each other, two by two, and study the ensuing conflicts.

The first cases produced will be those already cited. Here follow other and newer ones: — a passion or vice destroying interests of state (for in "Antony and Cleopatra" it is only the royal pomp of the two lovers which is impressive; one does not reflect upon the peril of their peoples); egoism (in the form of ambition, for example) struggling with faith in the soul of man, a frequent case in religious wars; egoism in this ambitious guise overcoming natural affection (the plotter denying or sacrificing his father, mother or friend offers a fine study); a conflict between personal honor and reasons of state (Judith in the arms of Holofernes; Bismarck falsifying the despatch of his master). Then oppose the various nuances to each other (the hero torn between his faith and the honor of his people, and so on). Subjects will spring up in myriads. (Special notice — the neo-classic tragedy having proved itself dead, — to psychological fiction, its legatee).