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Gordian Plot

SECOND SITUATION, DELIVERANCE

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(Elements: an Unfortunate, a Threatener, a Rescuer)

This is, in a way, the converse of the First Situation, in which the unfortunate appeals to an undecided power, whereas here an unexpected protector, of his own accord, comes suddenly to the rescue of the distressed and despairing.

AEdit

Appearance of a Rescuer to the CondemnedEdit

The "Andromedas" of Sophocles, of •Euripides and of Corneille ; "Le Jeu de Saint Nicolas" (Jean Bodel). Partial examples: the first act of "Lohengrin;" the third act of Voltaire’s "Tancred ;" the role of the generous patron in "Boislaurier" (Richard, 1884). The last example and the following show particularly the honor of the unfortunate at stake : Daniel and Susanna, and various exploits of chivalry. A parody : "Don Quixote." A familiar instance : judicial assistance. The denouement of "Bluebeard" (here the element of kinship enters, in the defense by • brothers of their sister, and increases the pathos by the most simple of means, forgotten, however, by our playwrights).

BEdit

A Parent Replaced Upon a Throne by his ChildrenEdit

—"Aegeus" and "Peleus," by Sophocles; Euripides’ "Antiope." Cases in which the children have previously been abandoned are "Athamas I" and also the "Tyro" of Sophocles. (The taste of the future author of "CEdipus at Colonus" for stories in which the Child plays the role of deliverer and dispenser of justice, forms a bitter enough contrast to the fate which awaited the poet himself in his old age.)

Rescue by Friends, or by Strangers Grateful for Benefits or HospitalityEdit

—Sophocles’ "(Eneus," "Iolas" and "Phineus." A partial example : the second part of Euripides’ "Alceste." Example in comedy : Musset’s "Fantasio." Example in which protection is accorded by the host who has granted asylum : Euripides’ "Dictys."

Example—The Terminator

We see, by a glance over these subdivisions, what our writers might have drawn from the second of the Situations. For us, indeed, it should possess some little attraction, if only for the reason that two thousand years ago humanity once more listened to this story of the Deliverer, and since then has so suffered, loved and wept for the sake of it. This situation is also the bails of Chivalry, that original and individual heroism of the Middle Ages ; and, in a national sense, of the French Revolution. Despite all this, in art,—if we except the burlesque of Cervantes, and the transplendent light flashing from the silver armor of Lohengrin,—in art, as yet, it is hardly dreamed of.

commentsEdit

Being rescued plays to the primitive need for safety and echoes the childhood theme of being 'saved' by parents from the various messes into which children get themselves.

Example—The Replacement Killers

Example—The Exodus from Egypt

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