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Full text of "ModernGermanLiterature18801950"

234                  MODERN  GERMAN  LITERATURE

in Berlin with Sigismund, a former pupil of her husband, in atten-
dance. Amadeus is soon finished with the Grafin; his heart is in his
work. But Cacilie comes back one evening from Berlin, changed
by her experience with Sigismund: she now wants 'adventures'
and thrilling experience from life. Amadeus is horrified! She is
not the woman he has lived with for seven years. She makes no
confession; and he does not realize that although, as she cries out
desperately, she is aching for love, her relations with Sigismund -
who, though in love with her, is a gentleman - have been correct.
In any case she has come back, lovely and excited and disputatious
- at bedtime; and, though she resists, Amadeus seizes his marital
rights. The morning after she is, as she tells her husband, really a
changed woman. She has yielded to him, but only in the shock of
the psychological moment: any other man might have taken her
just then. In her own eyes she has been untrue to herself: after
months of resistance to her lover she has been seized by her own
husband; and she has been untrue to her husband because their
contract of freedom has been overthrown by the surprise of pas-
sion. This reasoning is beyond the man's conception. He wishes
to return to connubial possession; but Cacilie *úr/ erne andere ge-
worden\ He packs his things and goes away, taking his manuscripts
with him; Cacilie bows her head on her hands, and weeps gently.
There is in this play - it probes deeper than Paracelsus - a pene-
trating contrast of the man's attitude to freedom from the marital
bond and that of an emancipated and sensual but decent woman.
If Amadeus' conception of love had been higher - and more
sensual, certainly more Casanova-like - Cacilie would have been
true to him in the sense in which she conceives the word. Amadeus
is not quite a Tesman - he is brilliant and a true artist -, but he has
the Viennese conception of the casualness of love added to the
German idea of connubial routine. Cacilie on the contrary has all
the physical and mental qualities of the passionate woman artist,
but at the same time absolute respect for herself. And this clash
of character produces the marital conflict. The ladies of Scheduler's
plays drew the solemn reminder from Vogt and Koch (in their
Uieraturgeschuhte) that ancient German women had something
holy and that even Goethe had some idea of non-animal decency
in women; Cacilie, one hopes, has something holy - but as a con-
temporary of Schnitzler, not of Tacitus. Derjunge Medardus (1910),
an historical drama of Vienna in 1809, has the crowded action of