Markheimby Robert Louis Stevenson
Format of Original Source: Short Story
Recommended Adaptation Length: Two Hours
Candidate for Adaptation? Not Reviewed
Writes an editor 100 years ago: In one of the old Greek tragedies, after the actors on the stage have played their parts and the chorus in the orchestra below has hinted mysteriously of crime and retribution, the doors of the palace in the background suddenly fly apart. There stands the criminal queen. She confesses her crime and explains the reason for it. So sometimes a story opens the doors of a character’s heart and mind, and invites us to look within. Such a story is called psychological. Sometimes there is action, not for action’s sake, but for its revelation of character. Sometimes nothing happens. “This,” says Bliss Perry, “may be precisely what most interests us, because we are made to understand what it is that inhibits action.” In the story of this type we see the moods of the character; we watch motives appear, encounter other motives, and retreat or advance. In short, we are allowed to observe the man’s mental processes until we understand him.
The emotional value of this story may be stated in the words of C. T. Winchester: “We may lay it down as a rule that those emotions which are intimately related to the conduct of life are of higher rank than those which are not; and that, consequently, the emotions highest of all are those related to the deciding forces of life, the affections, and the conscience.”
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