(The Lover; the Beloved)
This is the only tragic situation of all those built upon Love, that subject being one essentially belonging to comedy (see XXVIII and XXIX).
Eight species of erotic crimes may be pointed out:—
First: Onanism, that "solitary vice" which does not lead to action, can furnish only melancholy silhouettes such as the legend of Narcissus and "Chariot s'amuse," or certain grotesqueries of Aristophanes," unless it be made the basis for a study of the weakening and collapse of the Will, in which case it might be grouped with drunkenness, gambling, etc., in Situation XXIL
Second: Violation, like murder, is but an act, generally a brief one and not a situation; at most it approaches "Abduction." Even the consequences to the perpetrator, like those of the
Thii d: Prostitution and its succeedant gallantry and Juanism (repetition of acts), do not become dramatic unless pursued by punishment, in which case they belong to the Fifth Situation. Nevertheless, if impunity be secured, the taste for violation and for prostitution tends toward the Twenty-Second.
Fourth: Adultery, whose character of theft has given rise to special situations already studied.
Fifth: Incest is divided in two principal directions. It may be committed in an ascendant-descendant line, in which case it implies either filial impiety or an abuse of authority analogous to that which we shall find in the Eighth variety of criminal love. It may also occur upon what may be called a horizontal line; that is, between consanguines or persons related by marriage.
A (1)—A Mother in Love With Her Son:—"Semiramis" by Manfredi, and by Crebillon; to explain and extenuate this case, the latter author has first used the Eighteenth (Involuntary Crimes of Love); "Les Cuirs de Boeuf" (Polti, 1898). Inverse case: "Le Petit Ami" by Leautaud.
(2)—A Daughter in Love With Her Father:— Alfieri's "Myrrha," whose psychology is drawn from that of "Phedre."
(3)—Violation of a Daughter by a Father:—"The Cenci" by Shelley; the story of the Peau d'ane (intention only).
B (1)—A Woman Enamored of Her Stepson:— "Iobates" and "Phaedra" by Sophocles; the Hippolytus" of Euripides and of Seneca; "Phedre" by Racine. In comedy: "Madame i'Amirale" (Mars and Lyon, 1911). In almost none of the foregoing cases, it will be observed, is there a reciprocity of desire, whereas the passion, heretofore solitary, is shared, and the crime, unconscious at least on one side in "Myrrha," is boldly committed in
(2)—A Woman and Her Stepson Enamored of Each Other:—Zola's "Renee" (drawn from his story "Curee,") and similar to the quasi-incestuous passion of "Dr. Pascal." The love is platonic in Alfieri's "Philip II," and Schiller's "Don Carlos."
(3)—A Woman Being the Mistress, at the Same Time, of a Father and Son, Both of Whom Accept the Situation:—"L'Ecole des Veufs" (Ancey, 1889).
C (1)—A Man Becomes the Lover of His Sister-inLaw:—"La Sang-Brule" (Bouvier, 1885); "Le Conscience de l'Enfant" (Devore, 1889). The Man Alone Enamored:—"Le Sculpteur de Masques" (Cromelynck. 1911).
(2)—A Brother and Sister in Love With Each Other:—Euripides "iEolus"; "Canace" by Speroni; "Tis Pity She's a Whore," Ford's masterpiece; "La Citta Morta" by d'Annunzio.
Even after these works, there remains much more than a gleaning; an ample harvest is still before us. We may extend Class A to include the complicity of both parties (Nero and Agrippina furnish an example, according to Suetonius); a similar example, although fragmentary, exists for A 2, in the beginning of Shakespeare's "Pericles." B 1 may be reversed, the stepson's passion being unrequited by his father's wife, a case which is certainly not uncommon. We may also suppress the complicity in B 3, in C I, and in C 2, allowing the infatuation to subsist upon one side only, Without going so far as the criminal act, a study of mere temptations or desires, well or ill controlled, has furnished subtile chapters in the psychologies of Seventeenth Century grandes dames, such as Victor Cousin took delight in.
Finally, we may interlace the threads of each of these species of incest with one of the seven other classes of Crimes of Love; under the form of ignorance, the fifth and sixth classes are mingled in one of the episodes of "Daphnis and Chloe." Add the usual incidental rivalries, adulteries, murders, etc.
Sixth: Homosexuality in its two senses, the branches of pederasty and tribadism:
D (1)—A Man Enamored of Another Man, Who Yields:—Example from fiction: "Vautrin." Dramatic examples: the "Laius" of Aeschylus; the "Chrysippus" of Euripides. The latter tragedy appears to have been one of the finest, and perhaps the most moving, of all antiquity. Three situations were there superposed with rare success. Laius having conceived a passion, unnatural and furthermore adulterous, for the young Chrysippus, an epithalamium as terrible as that of Ford must have resulted, for here appeared and spoke the first man who had ever experienced such desires and dared to express and gratify them, and in his words lay the explanation of the wavering and fall of Chrysippus. Then followed the most indignant and pitiless jealousy on the part of Jocaste, wife of Laius. Against Chrysippus she roused the old envy of the young man's two brothers, an envy of the same type as that which armed the sons of Jacob against Joseph, but an envy which shows itself strangely menacing at the mere announcement of the names of these two brothers,—Atreus and Thyestes! The fratricide is accomplished, to the fierce joy of the queen; Laius learns the details from the lips of the dying Chrysippus himself. And, in some prediction—doubtless that of Tiresias, young at the time and not yet deprived of sight—there dawns the destiny of the two great families of tragedy par excellence, the Labdacides and the Atrides, beginning in these crimes and running through all Greek legend.
The tribadic or sapphic branch has not been used upon the stage; Mourey alone has attempted it, but in vain in his "Lawn Tennis." The objection which might be urged against it (and which probably explains why the drama, in the ages of its liberty, has made no use of it) is that this vice has not the horrible grandeur of its congener. Weak and colorless, the last evil habit of worn-out or unattractive women, it does not offer to the tragic poet that madness, brutal and preposterous, but springing from wild youth and strength, which we find in the criminal passion of the heroic ages.
Seventh: Bestiality, or passion for a creature outside the human species. Classed in general as a vice, it is of no use theatrically. Nevertheless, in
E—A Woman Enamored of a Bull;—"The Cretans" of Euripides seems to have revealed the emotions, after all conceivable, of this "Ultima Thule" of sexual perversion. Better than anywhere else, evidently, the illogical and mysterious character of the life of the senses, the perversion of a normal instinct, and the feeling of fatalism which its victims communicate, could here be presented in sad and awful nudity.
Eighth: The Abuse of Minor Children borrows something from each of the seven preceding varieties. That such a subject—so modern, so English—may in skillful hands become most pathetic, is readily apparent to those of us who read, a few years ago, the "Pall Mall Gazette."
Examples: Chinatown (incest), The Apostle (murder).