(Interrogator, Seeker and Problem)

This situation possesses theatrical interest par excellence, since the spectator, his curiosity aroused by the problem, easily becomes so absorbed as to fancy it is himself who is actually solving it. A combat of the intelligence with opposing wills, the Eleventh Situation may be fitly symbolized by an interrogation point.

A—Search for a Person Who Must be Found on Pain of DeathEdit

Sophocles' and Euripides' "Polyidus." Case without this danger, in which an object, not a person, is sought: Poe's "Purloined Letter."


A Riddle to be Solved on Pain of DeathEdit

"The Sphinx" of Aeschylus. Example from fiction (without the danger): "The Gold Bug" by Poe.

The Same Case, in Which the Riddle is Proposed by the Coveted WomanEdit

Partial example: the beginning of Shakespeare's "Pericles." Example from fiction: "The Traveling Companion," by Andersen. Epic example (but without the danger): the Queen of Sheba and Solomon. Partial example: Portia's coffers, in "The Merchant of Venice."

The sort of contest, preliminary to the possession of a desired one, which is vaguely sketched in this episode, is singularly alluring in its suggestive analogues. But how many fibres, ready to thrill, will the perplexities of the love contest find in us, when they are raised to their third power by the introduction of the terrible, as in the one complete and pure example which we have,—the "Turandot" of the incomparable Gozzi; a work passionately admired, translated, produced and rendered famous in Germany by Schiller; a work which has for a century been regarded as a classic by all the world, although it remains little known in France.

The effect of B (2) is strengthened and augmented in cases in which the hero is subjected to the following:


Temptations Offered With the Object of Discovering His Name.Edit

Temptations Offered With the Object of Ascertaining the SexEdit

"The Scyrian Women" of Sophocles and of Euripides.

Tests For the Purpose of Ascertaining the Mental ConditionEdit

"Ulysses Furens" of Sophocles; "The Palamedes" of Aeschylus and of Euripides (according to the themes attributed to these lost works). Examinations of criminals by alienists.

Example: Seven.


Puzzles and problems draw the reader into the situation as they (the reader) also seeks to understand and resolve the puzzle.

A basis of the motivation we feel to resolve puzzles is the need for completion and the consequent reward of closure. Resolving enigmas makes us feel clever and intellectual and hence more able to face life's other challenges.

More general temptations play to basic needs and desires.

Example: Turandot.

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