3rd Dramatic Situation: Crime Pursued by Vengeance

This information is from Georg Polti’s The Thirty-Six Dramatic Situations with supplementary synopsis where I could find a reference online. Each synopsis focuses only on the main characters and eliminates other aspects of the plot.

III. Crime Pursued by Vengeance: Avenger; Criminal

A. 1. The Avenging of a Slain Parent or Ancestor

  • “The Singer” (anonymous)
  • “The Tunic Confronted” (Tchang-koue-pin: Zhang Guobin (simplified Chinese: 张国宾; traditional Chinese: 張國賓; pinyin: Zhāng Guóbīn; Wade-Giles: Chang1 Kuo2pin1; French: Tchang1 Kuo2pin1))
  • “The Argives” (Aeschylus)
  • “The Epigones” (Aeschylus)
  • “The Two Foscari” (1821, George Gordon Noel, 6th Baron Byron, a.k.a. Lord Byron)
  • “Atilla” (Attila, König der Hunnen, romantische Tragödie; English: Atilla, King of the Huns) (1809, Friedrich Ludwig Zacharias Werner)
  • “Le Maquignon” (Virgile Josz and Louis Dumur)
  • “Colomba” (1841, Prosper Mérimée)

Synopsis: Colomba’s father was murdered two years ago. She has an older brother Orso della Rebbia. Colomba believes the father was killed because of the long-running conflict between her family and the Barricini family. She begs her older brother to avenge their fathers’ murder, but Orso is not convinced of the guilt of the Barricini. Colomba’s efforts to persuade her brother include showing him the bloody, bullet-torn shirt of their father and taking him to the site of the murder. Colomba shows evidence of the guilt of the Barricini to a prefect who is attempting to reconcile the families and prevent a vendetta killing. The Barricini are incensed by the evidence shown by Colomba. The two sons of the Barricini elder later fire guns, wounding Orso, and he shoots and kills both of them. He is absolved of guilt because he killed them in self-defense. Later, while Colomba is travelling, she encounters the old Barricini father who lost both his sons. When he requests reconciliation, she refuses and instead rejoices that the vendetta to avenge her father has been accomplished. — I used the Google translate option to read a summary of Colomba from @lelettre.com.

  • “Le Prêtre” (1881, Buet)
  • “L’Or” (1908, Peter and Danceny)

A. 2. The Avenging of a Slain Child or Descendant

  • “Nauplius” (Sophocles)
  • “Sainte-Helene” (A Sainte-Helene: piece en deux actes, en prose) (1902, Mme. Séverine)
  • “Hecuba” (c. 424 BCE, Euripides)

Synopsis: Hecuba the Queen of fallen Troy has lost her husband and sons in the war. Now her daughter Polyxena must be sacrificed to appease the ghost of Achilles. After the sacrifice, a servant fetching water to ritually cleanse the daughter’s corpse also discovers along the shore the recently washed up body of Hecuba’s son Polydorus. Hecuba suspects that Troy’s ally the Thracian king Polymestor killed Polydorus and took the treasures he had carried. She connives to summon Polymestor; he visits her tent with his two sons. The women held captive with Queen Hecuba kill the sons and blind Polymestor. Agamemnon the Greek leader mediates the dispute; Hecuba convinces him that Polymestor killed her son out of greed. Polymestor is banished to a deserted island, but not before he prophecies that Queen Hecuba will die while journeying to Greece and that her daughter Cassandra will be killed by Agamemnon’s wife Clytemnestra. — I used a summary of Hecuba from ancient-literature.com

  • Epic

“Neptune’s pursuit of Ulysses because of the blinding of Polyphemus” p. 20

A. 3. Vengeance for a Child Dishonored

  • “El Mejor Alcalde el Rey” (El Mejor Alcalde,  el Rey; English: The Best Mayor, The King) (1620-1623, Félix Arturo Lope de Vega y Carpio)

Synopsis, based on events during reign of Alfonso VII: Nuño is a peasant and is the father of Elvira. When Sancho asks Nuño for permission to marry Elvira, he agrees but suggests that Sancho also make a request to Don Tello the landowner for whom he and Sancho farm the land. Don Tello generously offers a dowry for Elvira, only requesting that he be present at the wedding. When Don Tello sees Elvira’s beauty on the day of the wedding, he sends the priest away, preventing the marriage. Later that day Elvira goes home to live with Sancho; Nuño hears his daughter’s screams but does not respond quickly enough to prevent her from being kidnapped and he does not recognize Don Tello’s henchmen because of their masks. Sancho suspects Don Tello, based on the gossip of villagers. The next morning Nuño accompanies Sancho to Don Tello’s palace to report the kidnapping; Don Tello feigns ignorance. Elvira comes out of hiding to reveal what has happened. Sancho appeals to the king, who writes a letter to the don. Don Tello ignores the king’s directive. When Sancho reports Don Tello’s disrespect, the king orders him not to reveal the king’s plans to travel to the region incognito. Meanwhile, Nuño speaks to his daughter through a window and is assured of her chastity, which he would kill to defend. Sancho brings the incognito king as an honored guest to Nuño’s home, where the monarch eats with the peasants of the village and asks about the events Sancho has reported. Finding the story to be true, the disguised king goes to Don Tello’s home and requests an audience; when the don refuses to see the visitor unless he is the king, the monarch reveals his identity and orders that Elvira be returned. She reports that Don Tello has already violated her. The king demands that the execution of Don Tello for his offense and awards half of the landowner’s property as Elvira’s dowry for her marriage to Sancho. — I used the Google translate option to read a summary of El Mejor Alcalde,  el Rey at starMedia.

  • “Alcalde of Zalamea” (El Alcalde de Zalamea; English: The Mayor of Zalamea)  (1651, Pedro Calderón de la Barca y Barreda González de Henao Ruiz de Blasco y Riaño, a.k.a. Pedro Calderón de la Barca)

Pedro Crespo is a peasant of Zalamea with a beautiful daughter Isabel and a son Juan. A nobleman Don Mendo wishes to marry Isabel, but both she and her father refuse him. Soldiers tarry in Zalamea and the captain Don Álvaro lodges at Crespo’s house. He asks about Isabel, only to discover that she has been hidden away. Álvaro scuffles with some soldiers and climbs to safety, entering Isabel’s room. While the father does not suspect any foul play, Juan thinks Álvaro schemed the fight in order to meet his sister. The general Don Lope arrives and orders Álvaro to find other accomodations while he stays with Crespo.  The father tells the general that he would have killed Álvaro if the captain had dishonored him. While Pedro hosts dinner for Don Lope on the terrace, the general requests to see Isabel. During this time, soldiers sing songs for Isabel. At night Crespo assures that his daughter is protected within the house. Álvaro and two soldiers visit the house, as does Don Mendo and his servant. The soldiers are signing for Isabel when Don Lope and Crespo attack Don Mendo, thinking that he and his servant are simply a pair of soldiers. Don Lope decides that he will move the soldiers away from Zalamea. Juan admires the soldiers and is enlisted, making Pedro Crespo proud. When he sends off his son to join the soldiers, Álvaro kidnaps Isabel. Juan hears a woman crying for help and rescues her, wounding Álvaro. Isabel finds her bound father and asks him to kill her to for honor; Pedro Crespo refuses. Crespo is notified that he has become the mayor of Zalamea. Crespo speaks to Don Álvaro alone and pleads with him to marry Isabel, even offering all of his wealth and possessions. Álvaro refuses, enraging Crespo and ordering the captain’s arrest and trial for hanging. Juan returns, and Pedro Crespo puts his son in jail, too. Don Lope brings the soldiers back to Zalamea with the intent to punish Juan for injuring the captain and to get Álvaro released; Pedro Crespo will not release him. The king arrives to hear both Crespo and Don Lope’s sides. Crespo informs the king that a trial was held and Álvaro has been executed. The king is surprised because the mayor has no authority over the soldiers. Crespo persuades the king that the trial was handled as if it were military justice. The king declares Crespo the perpetual mayor of Zalamea. Crespo tells Don Lope that he will place his daughter in a convent and free all prisoners except his own son, since he deserves punishment. Don Lope informs him that he has forgiven Juan, and so takes him with the rest of his soldiers. — I used the Google translate option to read a summary of El Alcalde de Zalamea at starMedia.

  • Historic

“the death of Lucrece,” p. 20: There are multiple versions of the story. Sextus Tarquinius son of Rome’s king Lucius Tarquinius Superbus was sent by his father on a military mission to Collatia and stayed at the home of governor Lucius Tarquinius Collatinus. The governor was away; at night Sextus snuck into the bedroom of the governor’s wife Lucretia. Sextus offered to make her his wife and queen or he would kill her and a slave and say that she had cheated on the governor. When Sextus left her, she fled to the house of her father a Roman prefect. With witnesses she told of her rape and demanded vengeance before stabbing herself in her heart before her father. Collatinus grieved for his wife; his friend Lucius Junius Brutus, who was related to the royal family, incited the revolution to overthrow the tyranny of the king. The body of Lucretia was taken to the Forum as proof of the tyranny. Patricians decided to form a republican government and plebeians were called to assemble and to vote to approve the republic. When the king attempted to return, the city was barred to him. Meanwhile, his soldiers were told of the Republic and voted in favor; they returned to Rome while the Tarquins fled. Sextus may have been assassinated. — my source was Wikipedia.

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