Among the examples here offered will be found those of three slightly differing classes. In the first, the power whose decision is awaited is a distinct personage, who is deliberating; shall he yield, from motives of prudence or from apprehension for those he loves, to the menaces of the persecutor, or rather, from generosity; to the appeal of the persecuted? In the second, by means of a contraction analogous to that which abbreviates a syllogism* to an enthymeme,* this undecided power is but an attribute of the persecutor himself,—a weapon suspended in his hand; shall anger or pity determine his course ? In the third group, on the contrary, the suppliant element is divided between two persons, the Persecuted and the Intercessor, thus increasing the of principal characters to four.
These three groups (A, B, C) may be subdivided as follows:
Fugitives Imploring the Powerful for HelpEdit
Syllogism: A reckoning all together, a reasoning; to bring at once before the mind; to infer; conclude. As "Every virtue is laudable; kindness is a virtue; therefore kindness is laudable."
Enthymeme: An argument consisting of only two propositions; an antecedent and its consequent; a syllogism with one premise omitted; as "We are dependent, therefore we should be humble."
Against Their Enemies.—Complete examples: "The Suppliants" and "The Heraclidae" of Aeschylus; "The Heraclidae" of Euripides; the "Minos" of Sophocles. Cases in which the fugitives are guilty : the "Olcles" and "Chryses" of Sophocles; "The Eumenides" of Aeschylus. A partial example: Act II of Shakespeares "King John." Familiar instances: scenes from colonial protectorates.
Assistance Implored for the Performance of a Pious Duty Which Has Been Forbidden.Edit
—Complete examples: "The Eleusinians" of Aeschylus and "The Suppliants" of Euripides. A historical example: the burial of Moliere. A familiar instance: a family divided in its religious belief, wherein It child, in order to worship according to his conscience, appeals to the parent who is his co-religionist. –
Appeals for a Refuge in Which to Die.Edit
—Complete example : "(Edipus at Colonus." Partial ex¬ample: the death of Zineb, in Hugo’s "Mangeront-ils ?"
Hospitality Besought by the ShipwreckedEdit
— Complete example: "Naudicaa" and "The- Pheacians" of Sophocles. ’Partial example Act I of Berlioz’ "Trojans."
Charity Entreated by Those Cast off by Their Own People, Whom They Have Disgraced.Edit
—Examples: the "Danae" of Aeschylus and the "Danae" of Euripides;. the "Alope," "Auge" and "The Cretans" of Euripides. Familiar instances.:, a large part of the fifteen or twenty thousand adventures which, each year, come to an end in the Bureau des Enf ants¬Assistes. Special instance of a child -received into a home: the beginning of "Le Réve;" by Zola.
Expiation: The Seeking of Pardon, Healing or Deliverance.Edit
—Examples: Sophocles’ "Philoctetes ;" Aeschylus’ "Mysians ;" Euripides "Telephus ;" "Les thampairol" (Rraisse, 1884). - Historical example: the penitence of Barbarossa. Familiar instances: petitions for pardon, confession of Catholics, etc.
The Surrender of a Corpse, or of a Relic, SolicitedEdit
- —"The Phrygians" of Aeschylus. Historical examples: the Crusaders embassies to the Moslems. Familiar instances: the reclaiming of the remains of a great man buried in a foreign land; of the body of an executed person, or of a relative dead in a hospital. It should be noted that the "Phrygians," and the Tiventy-fourth Book of the Iliad, which inspired the play, form a transition toward the Twelfth Situation (A Refusal Overcome).
Supplication of the Powerful for Those Dear to the Suppliant.Edit
—Complete example:Esther.Partial example : Margaret in the denouement of "Faust." Historical example: Franklin at the court of Louis XVI. Example corresponding also to A (3) : the "Propompes" of Aeschylus.
Supplication To a Relative in Behalf of Another Relative.Edit
Example: the "Eurysaces" of Sophocles.
Supplication to a Mother’s Lover, in Her Behalf.Edit
—Example: "L’Enfant de l’Amour," (Bataille, 1911).
It is apparent that, in the modern theater, very little use has been made of this First Situation. If we except subdivisions C (1), which is akin to the poetic cult of the Virgin and the Saints, and C (3), there is not a single pure example, doubtless for the reason that the antique models have disappeared or have become unfamiliar, and more particularly because, Shakespeare, Lope and Corneille not having transformed this theme or elaborated it with those external complexities demanded by our modern taste, their successors have found the First Situation too bare and simple a subject for this epoch. As if one idea were necessarily more simple than another !—as if all those which have since launched upon our stage their countless ramifications had not in the beginning shown the same vigorous simplicity It is, however, our modern predilection for the complex which, to my mind, explains the favor now accorded to group C alone, wherein by easy means a fourth figure (in essence, unfortunately, a somewhat parasitic and monotonous one), the Intercessor, is added to the trinity of Persecutor, Suppliant and Power.
Of what variety, nevertheless, is this trinity capable! The Persecutor,—one or many, voluntary or unconscious, greedy or revengeful, spreading the subtle net¬work of diplomacy, or revealing himself beneath the formidable pomp of the greatest contemporary powers; the Suppliant, artless or eloquent, virtuous or guilty, humble or great; and the Power, neutral or partial to one side or the other, perhaps inferior in strength to the Persecutor and surrounded by his own kindred who fear danger, perhaps deceived by a semblance of right and justice, perhaps obliged to sacrifice a high ideal; sometimes severely logical, sometimes emotionally susceptible, or even overcome by a conversion a la Dostoievsky, and, as a final thunderbolt, abandoning the errors which he believed to be truth, if not indeed the truth which he believed to be error !
Nowhere, certainly, can the vicissitudes of power, be it arbitral, tyrannical, or overthrown,—the superstitions which may accompany doubt and indecision,—on the one side the sudden turns of popular opinion, on the other the anxiety with which they are awaited,— despairs and their resulting blasphemies,—hope surviving to the last breath,—the blind brutality of fate,— nowhere can they become so condensed and burst forth with such power as in this First Situation, in our day ignored.
France’s enthusiastic sympathy for Poland, revived during the last half-century; the same sympathy
which on so many historic occasions she has manifested for Scotland and for Ireland, might here find tragic expression; that cry of humanity with which a single priest, at the massacre of Fourmies, rallied to the Church a fraction of revolutionary France; the worship of the dead, that first, last, most primitive and most indestructible form of religious sentiment; the agony which awaits us all, agony dragging itself toward the darkness like a spent beast ; the profoundly humble longing of one whom a. murder has .deprived of all that• was dearest. to him, that pitiable entreaty, on bended knees, which melted into tears the savage rancor of Achilles and .caused him to forget his vow ;— all are here in this First .Situation, all these strong emotions, and yet others; nowhere else, indeed, can they be found in such completeness,—and our modern world of art has forgotten this situation!
'Supplication' is begging, humbly asking for something that someone else has and you do not have. There fact that you cannot just take it, whether through an imbalance of power or moral codes means the throwing yourself on the charity of the person who can help is the only option.
The position of the shady Persecutor is not very clear, who may be chasing or having harmed the Supplicant. This does add desperation, however, to the Supplicant's position, adding to the sympathy that we will offer (and perhaps removing any disgust at begging).
It can also offer another story strand that beggars, having humbled themselves to the lowest position can become very vengeful if they are rejected.
This situation echoes the child begging its parent for something and thus tugs at very early strings. The situation of having to beg is, in itself, very humbling and we thus may feel sorry for the protagonist.'