(Elements: an Unfortunate; a Master or a Misfortune)

To infinite sorrow there is no limit. Beneath that which seems the final depth of misfortune, there may open another yet more frightful. A ferocious and deliberate dissection of the heart it seems, this Seventh Situation,—that of pessimism par excellence.

A—The Innocent Made the Victim of Ambitious IntrigueEdit

"The Princess Maleine" (Maeterlinck); "The Natural Daughter," by Goethe; "Les Deux Jumeaux," by Hugo.

Example: Schindler’s List.

B—The Innocent Despoiled by Those Who Should ProtectEdit

"The Guests" and the beginning of the "Joueurs d'Osselets," by Aeschylus (at the first vibration of the great bow in the hands of the unknown Beggar, what a breath of hope we draw!); "Les Corbeaux" by Becque; "Le Roi de Rome" (Pouvillon); "L'Aiglon" (Rostand); "La Croisade des Enfantelets Francs" (Ernault).

Example: Annie


The Powerful Dispossessed and WretchedEdit

The beginning of Sophocles' and of Euripides' "Peleus"; of "Prometheus Bound"; of "Job." Laertes in his garden. Example from comedy: "Le Jeu de la Feuillee" (Adam de la Halle).

A Favorite or an Intimate Finds Himself ForgottenEdit

"En Detresse" (Fevre, 1890).

D—The Unfortunate Robbed of Their Only HopeEdit

"The Blind" by Maeterlinck; "Beethoven" (Fauchois, 1909); "Rembrandt" (Dumur and Josz).

And now many cases yet remain! The Jews in captivity, slavery in America, the horrors of the Hundred Years' War, invaded ghettos, scenes such as draw the crowd to any reproduction of prison life or of Inquisition, the attraction of Dante's Inferno, of Pellico's "Prisons," the transporting bitterness of Gautama, of Ecclesiastes, of Schopenhauer!


Innocents are common in stories and echo the position of the child whose naivety leads them into danger and harm. Harming innocents thus creates emotion of outrage and horror.

Those who harm children are subject to something along the lines of vengeance taken for kindred upon kindred, and so those who harm the innocent may befall the same fate, giving the viewer the satisfaction of revenge.

The loss of hope that misfortune can bring can send us into a deep despair, from which we can find wonderful relief as we claw our way out or are rescued.

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