box 36/4
Panphlets, offprints
his wise man seem ridiculous. The erring wife and the betrayer
are portrayed with such subtle irony that no doubt of the author’s
intention can remain. His point of view clearly is that these relations
must be analyzed objectively and understood if they are to be outgrown
Under the title of the last play of the series, three one-act dramas
Paracelsus,' The Companion,' and The Green Cockatoo,' were pub¬
lished in °99. The motto of the book is: We are always playing; he who
knows it, is wise.' Each play gives an effective illustration of the impor¬
tance of our illusions. The thesis of the book is put forward most clearly
in the first play. Theophrastus Hohenheim returns to his native city
Basel, after he has won fame as a wonder-working physician under the name
of Paracelsus. Ignoring the commonplace realities of life he forms an
interesting counterpart to Cyprian, the armorer of Basel, who is happy in
the possession of this world’s goods. Cyprian has a beautiful wife and
takes delight in the fact that he is able to protect her against her many
admirers. Although he knows of her carly love for Paracelsus, he brings
this man to his home. He further wounds the pride of Paracelsus by twit¬
ting him with his apparent insignificance. Paracelsus proceeds to revaluate
values. He hypnotizes Cyprian’s wife and puts her under the suggestion
that she has been guilty of infidelity. When Cyprian's anger has been fully
aroused by this he changes the suggestion and commands her to speak the
absolute truth. She now relates that she had been in love with Paracelsus
and that she had married Cyprian because she desired a safe happiness.
She tells that she has outgrown her love for Paracelsus, but confesses that
she really had been sorely tempted by another man on that very day.
Cyprian is quite willing now to have the suggestion of absolute truthfulness
removed. He is content to live henceforth with illusions and promises
to do so in a more humble manner.
The Companion’ takes us into another world. Professor Robert Pil¬
gram had married a woman much younger than himself, and had realized
that he had lost her affection. He consoles himself by devoting himself to
his profession with increased zeal and takes the matter philosophically.
He rcalizes that she is in love with Dr. Alfred Hausmann, his assistant, and
he feels certain that the time is not distant when she will insist upon a separa¬
tion. The wife suddenly dies, and Robert is ready to meet Alfred as a
friend and console him, when he learns that this man is announcing his
engagement to another woman to whom he has been engaged secretly for
two years. Robert feels now that his wife has been degraded unspeakably.
Not until he learns that his wife had been informed of the nature of her
relations, does Robert realize the web of illusions in which he has been