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Full text of "ModernGermanLiterature18801950"

THE  DRAMA   OF  EXPRESSIONISM                  393

from the till; only to find, between morn and midnight, that
money buys nothing worth having. DerZentaur (1916) shows the
influence on Kaiser of Sternheim's satirical comedies. A grammar-
school master is engaged, and fas fiancee is, by the terms of grand-
mamma's will, to forfeit the fortune bequeathed to her unless
within the space of one year there is a child. But the schoolmaster
has always lived a model life, and has no idea whether he will be
able to; so he tries himself out on a loose woman, gets the repu-
tation of being a centaur, and loses fiancee and post. Koralk (1917)
is a striking presentation of life as a flight from starvation; and
millionaires are simply those who flee farthest; hence they are the
most abject cowards. That they trample under foot those who
cannot or do not flee does not stay their feet. Poverty is contrasted
with wealth in the very effective second act, the scene of which is
on the deck of the millionaire's luxurious yacht: below the tourists
lolling in the tropic heat are the stokers in the hold: and the two
worlds are separated only by thin planks. (We find this motif in
Freiligrath's poem Von unten aufy The son and the daughter of
the millionaire - himself the son of a worker cast off when too old
to slave - turn Socialist; and the millionaire's heartless theories
beat helplessly against the armoured convictions of their new
humanitarianism. In his despair the millionaire listens to his secre-
tary, who, a clergyman's son, comparing the paradise of his own
childhood with the pampered upbringing of the millionaire's son,
states the law that experience proves: 'Vater undSohn streben von-
einander weg. Es ist immer ein Kampfum Leben und Tod.9 The million-
aire has worked for another law: that the son is the inner double
(Doppelganger) of the father. But to the son the paradise prepared
for him is hell, because he has looked below himself, and the only
double the father has is an outer double: his secretary. For secre-
tary and millionaire are each the living image of the other, and the
secretary's identity has to be marked by a coral on his watch-chain.
As the secretary unfolds the happiness of his youth (though he,
too, had followed the law and rebelled, to strike out a career for
himself) the millionaire realizes that wealth is stored within, in
recollections that the experiences of manhood may ruffle but only
as the wind stirs the sea, and he takes up the revolver with which
his son had intended to kill him, shoots the secretary, puts the
coral on his own watch-chain, is condemned for the murder of
himself, but is happy: *I have got back to the paradise behind us/