chapter  X
19 Pages

The equilibrium of tragedy

There is, as we briefly suggested in the foregoing studies, a constant and creative conflict between content and form, technique and medium. But of no less significance is a conflict arising from limitation of mood. And the equilibrium which here results is essential to the highest reach of dramatic art. Indeed, in considering it we may perceive certain of the basic relations between limitation and achievement in drama. It is seen most clearly in tragedy, for tragedy depends most intimately upon the preservation of a strict and limiting balance between two contrary readings of life and their sequent emotions at work within the poet's mind. Such equilibrium is thus the distinguishing mark of the highest achievement in this kind, individual works tending to approach supremacy in so far as they derive from this conflict and reveal this resultant balance.