George Polti's 36 dramatic situations on film with Hannaleena Hauru

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TWENTY-THIRD SITUATION
NECESSITY OF SACRIFICING LOVED ONES

(The Hero ; the Beloved Victim ; the Necessity for
the Sacrifice)

Although similar to the three situations we have
just considered, the Twenty-Third recalls, in one of its
aspects, that destruction of natural affection which
marked the Thirteenth, ”Hatred of Kinsmen.” The feel-
ings which we here encounter in the protagonist are,
it is true, of a nature altogether different. But through
the intrusion of the element of Necessity, the end
toward which he must proceed is precisely the same.

A (1) Necessity for Sacrificing a Daughter in
the Public Interest: ”The Iphigenias” of Aeschylus
and of Sophocles; ”Iphigenia in Aulis,” by Euripides
and by Racine; ”Erechtheus” by Euripides.

(2) Duty of Sacrificing Her in Fulfillment of a Vow
to God: The ”Idomenees” of Crebillon, Lemierre, and
Cienf uegos ; the ”Jephthes” of Buchanan and of Boyer.
This nuance tends at first toward Situation XVII, ”Im-
prudence,” but the psychologic struggles soon give it
a very different turn.

(3) Duty of Sacrificing Benefactors or Loved Ones
to Ones Faith: ”Torquemada ;” ”Ninety-Three:”
”Les Mouettes” (Paul Adam, 1906) ; ”La Fille a Guil-
lotin” (Fleischmann, 1910). Historic instances; Philip
II ; Abraham and Isaac.

B (1) Duty of Sacrificing Ones Child, Unknown
to Others, Under the Pressure of Necessity : Euripi-
des’ ”Melanippe”; ”Lucrece Borgia,” (II, 5).

(2) Duty of Sacrificing, Under the Same Circum-
stances, Ones Father: The ”Hypsipyles” of Aeschy-
lus, and of Metastasio ; ”The Lemnian Women” by
Sophocles.

(3) Duty of Sacrificing, Under the Same Circum-
stances, Ones Husband: The ”Danaides” of Phryn-
ichus,, of Aeschylus, of Gombaud, of Salieri, of Spontini ;
the ”Lynceus” of Theodectes and of Abeille ; the ”Hy-
permnestres” of Metastasio, Riupeiroux, Lemierre, etc.

(4) Duty of Sacrificing a Son-In-Law for the Public
Good: ”Un Patriote” (Dartois, 1881). For the Sake
of Reputation: ”Guibor” (a XIV Century Miracle of
Notre-Dame) .

(5) Duty of Contending with a Brother-In-Law for
the Public Good: Corneille’s ”Horace,” and that of
Aretin. The loyalty and affection subsisting between
the adversaries remove all resemblance to the Thir-
tieth.

(6) Duty of Contending With a Friend: ”Jarnac”
(Hennique and Gravier, 1909).

Nuance B, (B 1 for example), lends itself to a fine in-
terlacing of motifs. Melanippe finds herself (1st)
forced to .slay her son, an order which she would have
resisted at the risk of her own life, but she is at the
same time (2nd) obliged to conceal her interest in the
child, for fear of revealing his identity and thereby
causing his certain death. Similar dilemmas may be
evolved with equal success in all cases in which a char-
acter receives an injunction which he is unwilling to
obey; it will suffice to let him fall, by his refusal, into
a second situation leading to a result equally repugnant
or, better yet, identical. This dilemma of action is
again found in what is called blackmail; we have also
seen its cruel alternatives outlined in Class D of Situa-
tion XX (”Theodore,” ”The Virgin Martyr,” etc.), and
clearly manifested in Class D (especially D 2) of Sit-
uation XXII (”Measure for Measure,” ”Le Huron,”
etc.) but it is therj presented most crudely, by a single
character or event, of a nature tyrannical and odious.
Whereas in ”Melanippe” it results so logically and piti-
lessly from the action that it does not occur to us to
rebel against it ; we accept it without question, so nat-
ural does it appear, so overwhelming.

Before leaving these four symmetrical situations, I
would suggest a way of disposing their elements with a
view to seeking states of mind and soul less familiar.
We have just seen these forces marshalled: Passion
(vice, etc.) ; pure affection (for parents, friends, bene-
factors, and particularly devotion to their honor, their
happiness, their interests) ; reasons of state (the suc-
cess of a compatriot, of a cause, of a work) ; egoism
(will to live, cupidity, ambition, avarice, vanity) ;
honor (truthfulness, feminine chastity, promises to
God, filial piety). Oppose these to each other, two by
two, and study and the ensuing conflicts.

The first cases produced will be those already cited.
Here follow other and newer ones: a passion or vice
destroying interests of state (for in ”Antony and
Cleopatra” it is only the royal pomp of the two lovers
which is impressive; one does not reflect upon the
peril of their peoples) ; egoism (in the form of ambi-
tion, for example) struggling with faith in the soul of
man, a frequent case in religious wars ; egoism in this
ambitious guise overcoming natural affection (the
plotter denying or sacrificing his father, mother or
friend offers a fine study) ; a conflict between personal
honor and reasons of state (Judith in the arms of Holo-
f ernes; Bismarck falsifying the despatch of his mas-
ter). Then oppose the various nuances to each other
(the hero torn between his faith and the honor of his
people, and so on). Subjects will spring up in myriads.
(Special notice the neo-classic tragedy having
proved itself dead, to psychological fiction, its
legatee) .


Tämä draamallinen harjoite on elokuva, joka karkasi lapasesta mutta oli välttämätöntä tehdä, jotta päästiin tekemään muuta. Consider it as a fart.