chapter  7
7 Pages

The 'Andromache'

Nowhere is it more evident that the unity of the play lies in its idea and not in the story. If we will not integrate these separate actions, and the epilogue, into one general impression we shall find no explanation of Euripides' behaviour, only a 'lack of unity' which, as Verrall truly declared, is a euphemism for downright insanity. It is useless to say that' the second action grows out of the first', for it does not 'grow', and it remains a 'second action'. This is a method ofmaking trilogies, not single plays. Meridier points out

to us an equilibrium, and in this way tries to impose a formal unity on the work; Hermione, humiliated in the first part, is victorious and takes her revenge in the second; Peleus, successful in the first, is overwhelmed in the second. But in the second part Hermione does not take a revenge, unless it is revenge to clutch at the first man who presents himself: and triumph to elope with an Orestes; nor can we congratulate Euripides if the gallant Peleus is overwhelmed not for some sin but for the sake of an equilibrium. The chiasmus does not work, and if it did it would be no explanation, for the principles of dramatic construction are not those of landscape-gardening.