people's theater cannot exist, because up to the present it never has existed," thus admitting in advance there is no progress, and that nothing ever changes. Which is at least convenient. But M. Faguet is much too clever for me to attempt to disprove an assertion the truth of which he is better able to see than anyone else; the only revenge I wish to take is to borrow a little of his irony—especially when it suits my purpose.
"So you have taken it into your heads to consider Andromaque a melodrama?" he asks. "If so, you have seen that it can very well be so considered. We find an innocent woman being persecuted, and a ferocious tyrant. Here are the ingredients of melodrama, all the ingredients. And after many peripeties, in which the sympathetic character never once flinches, she is just about to commit a crime—but does not, remaining faithful to these two sentiments: maternal love and conjugal love. The ferocious tyrant is killed, the traitress stabs herself, the traitor goes mad, and the sympathetic character becomes Queen, and lives secure with her little boy who has been saved from drowning. This is pure melodrama, the king of melodramas."
Then comes a dénouement à la Diderot, introduced for the popular productions: the coronation of Andromache. "She mounts to the throne, Céphise brings her her son, whom Andromache takes on her knees and embraces. Curtain."
"But," continues M. Faguet, "see how many of
- ↑ Journal de Débats, July 20, 1903.