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Full text of "ModernGermanLiterature18801950"

254                  MODERN   GERMAN  LITERATURE

that according to him the tragic action derives not from the char-
acter of the hero but from his fate; the tragic hero fights his
fate which is contrary to his character; 'Schicksal ist alles* The
necessary condition of the action is a situation which must inevit-
ably have the development we see in the tragedy, with conflict of
two wills, really the conflict between the will to self-assertion and
the perception of what is right, both personal will and recognition
of the moral law being equally justified. The Aristotelian canon,
of course, states that the clash of characters creates the situation;
or at least that, the characters being as they are, in the given situ-
ation the action must be as shown. To reveal the development of
a character, Scholz argues, is the business of the Er^iehungsroman,
whereas tragedy is Fate, which provides the situation fraught with
catastrophe for the characters. It might easily be shown that this
idea of fate explains the failure of the neo-classic dramas generally,
simply because it negates that clash of wills which Lessing estab-
lished as the necessary condition of tragedy. In other words the
failure of the neo-classic tragedies serves to prove once again the
irrefutable logic of Aristotle and Lessing. Where there may be
something acceptable is in the interpretation of the effect of tra-
gedy: an electric discharge is at all events a cleaner image than
the raw medical process of catharsis or purging; this, however, is
a matter of theory, and appraisement of the value as literature of
tragedies built up on these theories is another matter. One has
throughout the feeling that here the proof of the pudding is more
satisfying than the eating of it. Interesting in Scholz's system of
dramaturgy is his conception of the dual nature of the tragic con-
flict: the great man - and this dual conflict of ethic forces is pos-
sible in great men only - is seen fighting his external battle to
consummate his will; but within him there is another battle - that
of the unseen powers which direct existence: cthe invisible life in
the depth of us becomes in tragedy visible action9. Here we per-
ceive the influence not only of Hebbel but of Maeterlinck; and
indeed it is the idea which before long led Scholz away from neo-
classicism to a species of irrational mysticism which interprets all
external phenomena as symbols.

PAUL ERNST (1866-1933) has described his youth in his Jugend-
erinmrungen (1930) and Junglingsjahre (1931). The son of a miner
who had risen to be an overseer, he was born at Elbingerode in the
Harz Mountains. He reminds one of another miner's son from the