صور الصفحة
PDF
النشر الإلكتروني

23, and from the Poetic, xix. 4 ". But the case is very different in the definition we are examining. For there certain passions are viewed in their relation to a particular art, and as proper to be excited by it; and if Aristotle had meant to include all passions, he would hardly have used the word Twoww, which in that case were worse than useless, and could only have the effect of misleading the reader. And that the commentators on the passage are almost universally against M. Von Raumer's interpretation, may be seen by referring to the two and twenty versions of it which he has given in his essay; all which, except four, render "such" or "similar" passions: and of those four, one only—that of Alonso Ordonez—includes all the passions, indiscriminately.

It would seem, then, that M. Von Raumer undertakes to reconcile two meanings, neither of which was contemplated by Aristotle. But even of the two which he takes in hand, it will, probably, be admitted, that the Stagirite could only have held one; unless we be disposed to assert, that the views of the great philosopher were contradictory or inconsistent, and that he made no distinction between two passions and all. At best, then, the Professor is reconciling not Aristotle with himself, but his commentators with one another.

M. Von Raumer, however, proceeds to develope his theory as follows:

Other passions besides fear and pity are represented on the stage, and indeed, more frequently: as love, jealousy, ambition, &c. Their representation must have an effect on the corresponding passions of the spectator, and result either in strengthening or weakening them. But, if the tragic picture of each passion works on each, why does not Aristotle say that tragedy accomplishes the purification of all passions? and why does he specify only fear and pity?

M. Von Raumer has certainly here proposed to himself two pithy questions; let us see how he answers them.

Every passion, he says, may be purged by certain means, but all these means are not within the province of tragedy, which has a peculiar means of its own. Hatred cannot be purged by hatred, nor jealousy by jealousy, &c.; yet all admit of purgation by some common tragic element, and that is fear and pity. These may operate upon all passions; since compassion comprehends all the part which we take in others, and fear all that relates to ourselves. All passions, then, may be purged in passing through these two conductors, and none without; and it is therefore an indispensable' condition that the tragic interest be powerful enough to excite them.

12 It should be observed that in this passage of the Poetics the author is only remarking upon the way in which the speeches of tragedy should be prepared

in order to their effect upon those to whom they are addressed; viz. the other dramatis persona, and not the audience.

Here, it may be asked, Are fear and pity the means only, and not also the objects of purgation? M. Von Raumer does not assert so much, and, indeed, it is clear from the terms of his thesis, which is given in the note above, that he includes them in the operation: nor would the words of the definition admit of any other meaning. But then we have this awkward consequence, that the more fear and pity are purged and moderated, the less efficient must they be as means to operate on other passions; and tragedy, as a moral lesson, must soon become altogether useless. Independently, however, of this,- M. Von Raumer seems hardly to have taken a correct view of the way in which the spectator is wrought upon by the mimic passions of the stage. When we behold the love of Romeo, the ambition of Macbeth, or the jealousy of Othello, we do not partake in that love, that ambition, or that jealousy, and may not even have ever been in a situation to feel them; what we experience is, fear and pity at seeing the victims of those passions hurried on to destruction by their power. But, what is more to the purpose, Aristotle does not require the presence of such passions in the tragic hero; nay, they are even better away. Thus the beau ideal of a tragic character with him is such a man as CEdipus, who falls into misfortune, not through crime or passion, but through some great oversight or error (81 apaprlav nva, § «). And what other reason can be assigned for this, than that the fear and pity of the spectator may not. be diminished by the distraction of other passions 1 But it is sufficiently evident that the more a character is calculated to excite, in this way, those two emotions which Aristotle considers the more peculiar objects of tragedy, the less fitted does it become to convey any moral lesson.

The conclusion, however, that, in the Poetic, tragedy is treated merely as a subject, of art and not of morality, does not seem to justify M. Von Raumer's inference that, in that case, it must be positively immoral. That dramatic art and virtue are, as he eloquently contends", perfectly compatible, few, perhaps—unless they be lineally descended from Prynne—will be inclined to deny. But is it not possible to treat of the drama merely as a subject of art, and without also viewing it as a question of morals? M. Von Raumer is frequent in his appeals to the sister-work of the Poetic—the Rhetoric; and even quotes it to shew the lofty idea which Aristotle entertained of happiness as being inseparably connected with virtue". He is not there, however, giving any definition of happiness, but merely stating the various conceptions of it

18 Wie man aber dies und ahnliches stellen und deuten moge so viel stent fest. Aristoteles hielt eine Versbhnung der Kunst und Sittlichkeit fiir mbglich, wirklich, nothwendig. Die Ideen des Guten und Schb'nen behalten ihm ihr eigenes, eigenthumliches Wesen, keiue

soil die andere vemichten, oder auch nur unbedingt beherrschen; wol aber findet zwischen ihnen stete Wechselwirkung und harmonische Zusammenwirkung statt," &c. P. 187.

14 effTW di) eiiSaifJLOVia euirpa^ia fxeTci dperiji, &c. Rhet. i. 5.

formed by mankind, in order that the rhetorician may know how to address himself to their different sentiments; and, accordingly, in the three other views of it mentioned, virtue is not noticed as an ingredient. It may be remarked, too, that M. Von Raumer has here changed the terms upon us, by substituting the more general one of happiness (evhaipovla, gliickseligkeit) for pleasure (i)Sowj, vergniigen)"; the purpose of which is not very obvious, unless it be that, as Aristotle speaks of the 1J80W7, or pleasure, resulting from tragedy, it is intended we should infer that the term is equivalent to elbai/iovta, or happiness; and that hence a moral end may be established by the substitution of an abiding feeling for a transient one. Such a course, however, is incompatible with any right method of reasoning; and the more inadmissible inasmuch as, a few chapters further on (cap. xi.) Aristotle supplies us with the true definition of i/Sowj—viz. a Kimjo-is "foxy*) or temporary emotion.

It may be remarked, by the way, that M. Von Raumer seems unacquainted with Twining's translation of the Poetic; as, amongst the versions which he gives of the celebrated definition the English one is taken from the inferior performance of Pye.

T. Dyer.

[With respect to the text of the definition of tragedy in the Poetic (above, p. 190) Bekker, c. vi. reads iicao-Tov, but omits ak\a without noticing any various reading. It may therefore be presumed that the word is not recognised by either of the three MSS. of the Poetic which he collated. 'ek<jotou has probably been altered from iKaara by a transcriber, who attending merely to the collocation of the words, and not to their meaning, thought it was governed by xaPiS- In expanding this part of the definition lower down, Aristotle has the dative case: T6 8e x<*>p»s "Is eifico-t, &c. A similar instance of the corruption per attractionem occurs above, at the end of c. i. in the following words: TaCras per

oiv Xeyco Tcls 8uuj>opas iw rcxyav, h> ots iroiovvrat rf/v iil/ir/cnv', the

meaning of which is, "I understand the differences of the several arts to consist in the means by which the imitation is effected." All the MSS. have, however, alg for oh.Editor.]

15 "Das Vergniigen oder noch allgemeiner die Gliickseligkeit ist (so lautet pie Anklage) dem Aristoteles hochster Zweck und hbchstes Gut. Was versteht

er denn aber (diese Untersuchung erscheint unabweislich) unter Gliickseligkeit?" &c. P. 186,7.

XVI.
NAPOLEON ON THE CAPTURE OF TROY.

In an article on 'Grecian Legends and Early History,' (of which a brief abstract was given in our first Number, p. 125), Mr. Grote adduces some examples of the rationalizing process by which the Greeks, particularly those of the later ages, converted mythology into history. The process was a simple one; it consisted in eliminating the marvellous and supernatural parts of the old poetical legend, and in supplying such other facts and motives as might render the narrative more consistent with the later and more philosophical, but more prosaic, standards of credibility'.

The first example to which he adverts is taken from Thucydides. This extraordinary man, who (as Mr. Grote remarks) has never been surpassed in his capacity for judging or describing recent events, was less happy in his mode of treating the mythical history of his country. Even at the dawn of historical criticism, it was natural that his sceptical and positive mind should refuse to admit the Iliad as a true narrative of events; but it was equally natural that he should so far share the universal belief of his countrymen as to assume that the poetry of Homer contained at least a nucleus of fact. Accordingly, he gives a sketch of the Trojan expedition, from which everything marvellous is excluded, and in which the events are treated according to the same canons of probability which he applies to the Peloponnesian war.

One of the first points which naturally attracts his attention— a question which he is about to consider fully in reference to his own subject,—is the cause of the Trojan war. It immediately occurs to him as highly improbable that so large a body of men should have made so distant an expedition, and have endured and inflicted so great evils, in order merely to recover Helen from Paris; he cannot believe that the oaths of her suitors given

1 See some remarks on this mode of inventing history, in Mullet's Doriom.B. i. ch. vii. § fl.

to her father Tyndareus should have produced so mighty an effect as the collection of that vast armament, and the formation of the ten years' siege in Asia Minor. He therefore rejects the only cause of the war which is known to Homer and the early epic poets'; and maintains that the war in truth had its origin in the great power of Agamemnon. The Greeks did not fight ten years against Troy in order to avenge the wrong offered by Paris to Menelaus, and to recover his wife and property', which the Trojan ravisher had carried away; but they were actuated by more politic motives. Agamemnon was a powerful king, with

8 ofrrt fioi aWir\ Icral, deoi vv fioi atrial elaiv, o'i fioL efpuipfiijcrair iroXefjiOV iroXvdaKpvv 'A-^attoVf are the words in which the kind and courteous Priam, when addressing Helen, alludes to her being considered the cause of the war. Iliad, in, 164-5. See also v. 128. and Odyssey, IV. 145-6. Compare the serious declaration of Agamemnon, in JEschylus, upon his returning to Mycenae t—

Tovtwv QeoXtrt x/>n iro\vp:vrj<rrov x**Plv Tivciv, e-n-enrep Kal irdya? t/irepKorovv ewpafcapLetrda, Kai yvvaiKos ovveica Ttoxiv ouifj.ddvvev 'Apyeiov &ekos.

Jgam. 821-4. Helen was described by the author of the Cypria, as the daughter of Zeus and Nemesis : see the long fragment in Ath. ▼in. p. 334, C, and compare Preller, Demeter und Persephone, p. 154. This genealogy alluded to the evils which she was to bring upon her country; to her being, as Virgil calls her, Trojae ac patriae communis Erinnys. Homer must suppose the Greeks to have nourished their vengeance against Troy for a very long time; inasmuch as he makes Helen, in the 10th year of the war, say that it is twenty years since she left Menelaus (//. xxiv. 765), and therefore conceives the siege to have begun in the 10th year after Helen went to Troy.

3 'EXe'vrjy Kal tcnjp.aTa irdirra. See the treaty in Iliad, in. 276-91, and the declaration of Agamemnon, after Paris has been vanquished in single combat by Menelaus, ib. 456-60. The theft of the goods of Menelaus was an essential part

of the injury done him by Paris; accord-
ing to the Cypria, Aphrodite contrives a
meeting between Paris and Helen; after
which, Tcc -TrXeiffTO KTi\p.aTa ev6cp.€tiOi,
I>ui:t6s dnroirXeovtri, Procl. Chrest. p. 473,
Gaisford. See likewise the account of
the dpTraytj of Helen, in Herod, n. 114,
115,118, where Thonis, the guardian of
the Canobic mouth of the Nile, informs
the king of the treachery of Paris, in the
following words :—£e'ivov yap Tov ecou-
Tov ^£airaT?jcras Tt\v yvvaiKa, aimiv Te
TaiiTi]V dyav iJKei, Kai TroXXa Kapra
■XP^ipa-a. According to Dictys, I. 3,
Paris carried off Helen et multas opes;
also jEthra et Clymena Menelai affines,
quae ob necessitudinem ejus cum Helena
agebant. Menelaus, however, according
to this writer, was more affected by the
loss of his kinswomen than of his wife;
'Queis cognitis Menelaus, etsi abstractio
conjugis animum permoverat, mnlto am-

plius tamen ob injuriam affinium

consternabatur,'(ib.4). Dictys adds, that before the Greeks declared war against Troy, they sent Palamedes, Ulysses, and Menelaus thither, to demand the restoration of Helen, et quae cum ea abrepta erant, (ib.) Priam,influenced by Hecuba, refuses to give her up; and the sons of Priam are peculiarly adverse to this step: 'Videbant quippe quantae opes cum ea adverts? essent; quae universa, si Helena traderetur, necessario amitterent. Praeterea pennoti forma mulierum, quae cum Helena venerant, nuptias sibi singularum jam animo destinaverant,' (ib. 7). In this way Dictys seeks to find a plausible reason for the unwillingness of the Trojans to deliver up Helen.

« السابقةمتابعة »