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NEO-CLASSICISM                                263

a conflict not yet ended. The lines of the conflict are actually more
topical today than they were at the date of the appearance of Ernst's
drama, and the conflict is practically between the same powers.
In Meroe the conflict is equally topical, but the remoteness of the
action veils the actuality; moreover the 'mythical* atmosphere is
nullified by the fact that King Sarias is not only a dictator, he is a
freethinker as well, who (in a mythical period!) tries to suppress
the church. As in Ernst's Canossa there is a conflict between father
and son: the son joins forces with the priests, defeats his father,
but then asserts his rights as king against the claims of the church.
Literary interest Meroe certainly has: for one thing Scholz varies
the soporific regularity of the German lambendrama by a free use of
dactyls and trochees; for another thing, with its pseudo-mythical
atmosphere and its barbarians who reason like Jesuits and with its
melodramatic thrills, it comes near to being a revival of Baroque
tragedy. One glaring fault is in its lack of originality: it has ele-
ments of the Pflichtdrama - like the Prince of Homburg the re-
bellious heir to the throne recognizes that he has been justly
condemned to death; and there is no mistaking the borrowings
from Hebbel's Herodes undMariamne - in both the queen's brother
is the High Priest and conspires against the king, and in both the
king's nearest official is charged to slay the queen if the king dies
before her.

In 1914 Scholz modified the framework of his dramatic system
in the I\eue Folge to his Gedanken *%um Drama. His practical experi-
ence as Director (Dramaturg und Spielhiter) of the Court Theatre
at Stuttgart (1914-23) may account for the more stage-like struc-
ture of the plays that follow, all of them mystical. In his treatise
Der Zufall^ erne Vorform des Schicksals (1923) he further expounded
the dramatic doctrine of chance on which these plays are based;
he attributes to chance or accident a power which may determine
the fate of the individual, whereas of course Lessing postulated
rigid necessity and excluded chance. Scholz* s conception of chance
is, however, mystical: chance, being ordained by Fate and obeying
laws hidden to us, is 'organic3, a complex, a connected process:
that is to say, a causality in itself, in its own parts. This acceptance
of chance does at least justify the construction of Othello,, which
Lessing had rejected because the catastrophe hinges on the chance
falling and finding of a handkerchief.

The new series of plays begins with Vertauscbte Seehn (1910), an