« AnteriorContinuar »
7. As a rule, school organization is not such as enables the gifted to profit by their superiority.
8. Parents are often unaware that their children possess unusual capacities.
9. One of the big questions of school administration is how to adapt schools to individual needs and abilities.
The best plan of school organization provides teaching material socially and individually worth while, uses natural methods of instruction, and gives each pupil an opportunity to progress as fast as he is able. In the case of the superior student this guarantees that he reaches the period when the best work is done with the needed equipment. The discovery and fostering of this type of student should be one of the main aims of our educational system.
Sailing At Night
The ship cuts furrows deep through silver spray
That laughs into the air then drifts away;
The soft winds sing a drowsy lullaby,
A little moon smiles in a jewelled sky;
A happy city glows upon its hills,
The ghostly gulls swoop down with eager bills-
Are spread in resting from their day-long flight!
Imitations of Shakespeare in “The Bride of
G. DAVID HOUSTON, SOMETIME PROFESSOR OF ENGLISH, HOWARD UNIVERSITY, WASHINGTON, D. C.
COTT'S Bride of Lammermoor possesses special charm for the student of Comparative Literature, because many of the memorable passages show a marked likeness to certain of Shakespeare's tragedies. Throughout the story one finds unmistakable traces of Shakespeare's art revealed especially in Romeo and Juliet, Macbeth, and Hamlet. So obvious are these resemblances that there can be no reasonable doubt of the novelist's indebtedness to the dramatist. In the matter of theme The Bride of Lammermoor closely resembles Romeo and Juliet. Both stories portray youthful passion accelerated by such mutual enthusiasm that all traditional barriers are disregarded, even the deadly family feud. Capulets and Montagues in Romeo and Juliet, and Ravenswoods and Ashtons in The Bride of Lammermoor, maintain a reciprocal enmity that makes any possible union between the hostile houses seem hopelessly remote. Yet, so far as the children are concerned, the hatred of the houses is consumed in their love. Romeo is pledged to Juliet; likewise is the Master of Ravenswood to Lucy, regardless in either case of the bitter family feud. The theme of both productions, therefore, is love unconquerable by fate, whereof the individual is the merest instrument, ready to be sacrificed without the least hesitation.
This similarity in theme is but one of the many resemblances which should be noted in the two stories. In both stories the unity of the lovers is torn asunder. Protracted happiness does not fall to their lot. The old conflict between a parent's will and a daughter's choice manifests itself in all its intensity. In the tragedy, Juliet's mother supports the suit of Paris against the
girl's will. In the novel, Lady Ashton forces the suit of Bucklaw, regardless of her daughter's choice. Both mothers are very much alike. Neither supplies in care and attention the place of a real mother, especially at a time when a daughter needs most the guidance and affection of a mother. Lady Capulet entrusts such an important maternal duty to a coarse old nurse. Lady Ashton is equally as indifferent, though Sir William's paternal interest in the girl offsets appreciably such indifference; but a father can seldom take a mother's place as a confidential and sympathetic companion of the daughter. Both mothers give the impression of being cold, heartless women, who are virtually strangers to their daughters.
We note, again, Scott's imitation of Shakespeare's art in representing the lovers' blindness to their fate, superinduced by their innocent, mutual passions. Nursing a bitter hatred for the Capulets, Romeo rashly attends the masquerade in his enemy's dwelling, exchanges glances with Juliet, converses with her, and kisses her. Mutual acknowledgment follows. In the famous balcony scene they declare their love, ignorant of their "brooding fate.” Nature, furnishing a beautiful contrast, seems to mock the couple. When Romeo slips over the wall, the only light to guide him is that of the twinkling stars. While he speaks, the moon rises. Before he leaves, dawn breaks. How beautiful this accompanying nature! Yet, how cruelly ironic, in view of the impending fate! The lovers are doomed the minute they plight their love. In similar manner, the Master of Ravenswood and Lucy meet, not however for the first time, in a dwelling whose "roof retains the means of giving protection, though not welcome." They converse, and their cheeks meet each other. Both manifest through their embarrassment their mutual love. That very minute their fate is sealed. Nature sends a flash of lightning to brighten the darkened quarters; but the lightning, not so prolonged and varied as the light in Romeo and Juliet, serves only to make their fate more apparent.
Not only in these respects does The Bride of Lammermoor resembles Romeo and Juliet, but in the delineation of the heroines
and the heroes, the novel parallels the play. Both Juliet and Lucy represent aristocratic families. Both seem out of place in a household with such mothers. Both, in the absence of their lover, test to the utmost their own fidelity. Within a prescribed time, both must marry contrary to their choice. Their situation is that of a dramatic dilemma, but both girls remain resolute. Death offers superior inducements to final submission. Both heroines kill themselves, though the details differ slightly. The heroes, likewise, represent noble families. Both are impetuous, seldom letting reason sway their action. Romeo boldly attends the masquerade at the dwelling of his enemy and barely averts a brawl. The Master of Ravenswood boldly employs the forbidden service at his father's burial and narrowly escapes a disgraceful fight that might have resulted in serious consequences. Neither hero seems exactly equal to the task imposed on him for a secure union with his lover; yet both are heroic characters, because they are lovers until death.
Scott's imitation of Shakespeare does not by any means end with Romeo and Juliet. One of the most noteworthy characteristics of The Bride of Lammermoor is Scottish superstition, the very same characteristic that localizes the setting of Macbeth. The scene of both stories is laid in Scotland, a country prone in former ages to the primitive belief that supernatural creatures, such as witches and ghosts, influenced human affairs. Both Shakespeare and Scott employ freely Scottish superstition in the construction of their plots. In fact, the local color created at the very beginning, in both productions, is that of superstition. The drama opens in a barren spot in Scotland, where the weird sisters meet amid thunder and lightning. These unsightly hags, together with the stormy elements of nature, suggest at once the supernatural characteristic of the play. No student of literary art can read the opening scene without being impressed with the atmosphere of superstition which is introduced by these weird sisters. The novel, though somewhat entangled at the beginning in Scott's pon derous machinery, nevertheless creates a similar impression of superstition. The ancient hall referred to in the sketch, the
female figure in an attitude of speechless terror, the description of the castle with its black domain and wild pasture-land,—in short, the whole setting cannot help but create a kind of weirdness that suggests the superstition which resounds throughout the story.
After such local color has been created, one can readily understand in Macbeth the import of the Banquet Scene and of the scene in which the apparitions appear one by one to Macbeth. In The Bride of Lammermoor the fatal fountain is wrapped in superstition. The unfortunate episode of Raymond of Ravenswood with his Naiad at the fountain, rendered liable to destruc tion the succeeding Ravenswoods who drink at the fatal fountain, or even approach its brink. Current superstition at the time regarded the fountain as a death-bearing agency, to be avoided by every Ravenswood. We can understand, therefore, the significance of the Master of Ravenswood's experience at the fountain. When he, in hazardous proximity to the fountain, converses with Lucy shortly after the rescue, by his rash act he foreshadows his own ruin. When he later rides past the fountain, he has a weird experience with the ghost of Alice, an experience which may be attributed to the supernatural power of the fountain. His final experience at the fountain, when a raven shot by an arrow falls at the feet of Lucy and stains her dress with blood, revives the superstition with such vividness that the reader is made solicitous of the future of the couple. The fatal fountain, in short, resounds throughout the story. Moreover, old Caleb's secret knowledge increases the superstitious element in the story; for, according to his information:
"When the last Laird of Ravenswood to Ravenswood shall ride, And woo a dead maiden to be his bride,
He shall stable his steed in the Kelpie's flow,
And the name shall be lost for evermoe !"
Briefly, then, the plot of The Bride of Lammermoor, like that of Macbeth, is veiled in superstition.