(A Mortal; an Immortal)

Most anciently treated of all Situations is this struggle. Into its Babel of dramatic construction all or nearly all of the others may easily enter. For this is the strife supreme; it is also the supreme folly and the supreme imprudence. It offers the most unprecedented aims of ambitions, audacious enterprises, titanesque conspiracies, Ixionian abductions; the most fascinating of enigmas; the Ideal here undergoes a rare assault of passions; prodigious rivalries develop. As for the surrounding witnesses, does not their sympathy often go to him whom they should hate?—learning of his crime, is it not sometimes their duty to punish him themselves, to sacrifice him to their faith, or to sacrifice themselves for him? Between the dearest of kindred, hatreds will break forth. Then comes the storm of disaster, the vanquished one bound to misfortune, crushed before those whom he loves, unless, —acme of horror—he has, in a transport Of blind delirium, dishonored or massacred them unknowingly. Suppliants, seeking the lost loved one, advance sad theories and endeavor to disarm rancor,—but the divine vengeance has been unchained!

This remarkable grouping has been in our day almost entirely ignored. Byronists as we still are, "bon gre mal gre," we might yet dream of this superb onslaught on the heavens. But no!—we treat even the evangelical subject of the Passion, while we pass by, like owls in broad daylight, this genuinely dramatic situation, and content ourselves with sanctimoniously intoning the idyllo-didactic phrases which preceded the sacred tragedy,—itsefrieft unseen.

A (1)—Struggle Against a Deity:—"The iEdonians" and "The Bassarides," "Pentheus" and "The Wool-Carders" . by Aeschylus; "The Bacchantes" of Euripides; the "Christ Suffering" of Saint Gregory Nazianzen. , Epic: the sixth Homeric hymn (to Dionysos); the dream of Jacob.

(2)—Strife with the Believers in a God:—"The Exodus of the Hebrews" by Ezekiel; "L'Empereur Juhen" XMiracle of Notre-Dame, XIV Century); "Athalie." Historic instances: various persecutions Epic: "Les Martyrs."

B (l)^-Controversy With a Deity:—"The Book of Job." I cannot give, it is true, the date nor the place of the "premier" of "Job." But the fact of actual representation by Messieurs A, B and C and Misses X, Y and Z is no more an indispensable condition to the existence of true drama than it is an all-sufficient one. We may hold that the "premier" was given in that great Theatre of which Brahmanic legend tells; a Theatre inaugurated long before that of man, arid thanks to which the gods may occupy the leisures of their eternity.

(2)—Punishment for Contempt of a God:—"Teftltra Yadjgna" by Vedyanatha Vatchespati; "Le Festin de Pierre" (meaning the real actiori, which from the beginning leads toward the denoumeht).

(3)— Punishment fb* PrMe BeWki "a rG8fli^ Aeschylus' "Ajax Lbcrian" (according to one hypothesis) ; Sophocles* "Thamiras"; Euripides' BelteropKbn." A Christian example: Simon the Magician.

{4)—Prestinfptudus Rivalry with a God:—"The Nurses" by Aeseljylus; "Niobe" by Sophocles; '"ta ttfetrdti Pa|te" (Miracle of Notre-Dame, XIV Century).

(5)—Imprudent Rivalry With a Deity:—Sophocles' "Eumele"; in part "Phaeton" by Euripides.

May it not be possible that we shall one day see treated from the point of view of this Situation, the pathetic death of Guyot-Dessaigne, Minister of Justice ?


example: Rosemary’s Baby.

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