A Blot in the ‘Scutcheon

Reviews

Clarke, George Herbert.  “A Blot in the ‘Scutcheon”: A Defence.”  Sewanee Review 28 (Apr. 1920): 213-227.  Surveys the play’s history of performance.

Contributed by Madelin DeJesus.

 

Globe 16 June 1893: 3.

Contributed by Curtis Ashley.

 

Pall Mall Gazette  1 February 1891: 1.  www. britishnewspaperarchive.co.uk

Contributed by Kate Sanchez.

Synopsis of Henrik Ibsen, Solness le Constructeur

Ibsen, Henrik. The Master Builder. Dover Publications, 2016.

by Eli Joseph, Harmony Gilliard, and Wynesha James

The first act of the The Master Builder starts with stage directions depicting a plainly decorated workroom belonging to the protagonist, Halvard Solness. Connected to this room is a draughtsman’s office, an office used to prepare technical drawings and plans used by production and construction workers. This of course gives the reader insight regarding Solness’s career, which later is revealed to be a “master builder.”  The stage directions then acknowledge the presence of several other characters in the house, including Miss Kaia Fosli, Mr. Knut Brovik, and his son Ragnar Brovik. Following the setting description, the actual story starts off with a conversation among Brovik, Ragnar, and Kaia. Brovik seems to suffer from some sort of respiratory problem evidenced by his labored breathing. He seems adamant about confronting Solness about something, but he resolves to do so after returning from a walk with his son Ragnar. This exit by Brovik and Ragnar leaves Kaia alone with an entering Solness.

The conversation that follows between them reveals that Solness is an architect/builder and that he is quite fond of his secretary Kaia. This conversation is followed by a heated conversation between Brovik and Solness. Brovik asks Solness to allow his son to become more independent to secure his financial future. An imminent marriage between Ragnar and Kaia is also brought up in their conversation. Throughout the entirety of the conversation, Solness expresses a variety of differing emotions, all of which reflect his inherent selfishness, pride, greed, and possessiveness, most notably his statement: “I will never retire! I will never give way to anybody! Never of my own free will.” After this conversation, Kaia returns and speaks to Solness; it becomes apparent that Solness does not desire Ragnar and Kaia’s marriage because of his own feelings for Kaia. This is made more interesting given the entrance of Mrs. Solness in the next scene, indicating some sort of infidelity on the part of Solness.

Mrs. Solness’ entrance amidst the conversation between Kaia and Mr. Solness transitions the conversation from one between Solness and Kaia to one between Solness and a new character named Dr. Herdal. Their conversation puts Solness on the defensive about his relationship with Kaia as Dr. Herdal questions him about it. At the end of their conversation, another new character emerges named Miss Wangel, also known as Hilda. Hilda greets the Doctor warmly and vice versa. Solness expresses some confusion as Miss Wangel identifies him but he does not seem to know who she is. Hilda converses with Solness at length as the Doctor leaves, refreshing his memory about the first time they met; apparently a long time ago Solness had promised the very young Hilda a castle. As their conversation draws to a close, Mrs. Solness enters again, announcing that Hilda’s quarters are ready. The scene closes with the last vestiges of conversation between Hilda and Solness, implying that this is not the last of the conversation the audience will see between the two.

Act 2 begins with Solness reviewing Ragnar’s portfolio while Mrs. Solness tidies the study. When Kaia arrives to work she begins to update Mr. Solness of the status of Mr. Brovik’s health. They have seen no signs of improvement and Ragnar has chosen to stay beside his father. Kaia then tries to revert the conversation back to Ragnar and his portfolio.  Solness, however, shows no interest in Ragnar’s project. He dismisses Kaia to tend to her duties, and then he proceeds to question his wife on the whereabouts of Hilda.  Mrs. Solness is skeptical of his concern for their guest and curious to know if she was the one he had been thinking of during their time in the study. To solidify the innocence of his question he mentions that it is comforting to make use of the nurseries by allowing her to stay. Solness admits to Mrs. Solness his eagerness from them to move so they are no longer haunted by the tragic events that happened in their home many years ago. Mrs. Solness argues that she doesn’t share the same passion for them to leave. Despite what Solness thinks, she values the memories of her parents’ home, and the pain she feels in their current home will only linger to their next. This was astounding to Solness because he believed that living in the old house was the bane of their relationship. When he asks her why have they built the house in the first place, she insinuates that it was only a priority of his. Solness tried to find a deeper understanding of her statement and accuses her and the doctor of believing he was becoming a madman. He insists that he is not crazy lives in debt to his wife. But before he can dwell on the conversation with Mrs. Solness, Hilda enters the room.

Hilda greets everyone and expresses how comfortably she slept in the nursery that had been unoccupied for years. Mrs. Solness offers to go into town and buy Hilda some new clothes so she can avoid being viewed as crazy in public. Thanked and embraced by Hilda, Mrs. Solness states that there is no need for appreciation because it is her duty to help. Shortly after Mrs. Solness exits, Hilda expresses to Solness that she took offense at Mrs. Solness’s comment. She had hoped that Mrs. Solness had made gesture because she approved of Hilda’s presence rather than because she felt obligated. Hilda becomes preoccupied by the sight of Ragnar’s drawings. Initially she thought the drawings belonged to Solness, but once he informed her of whom they belonged to she questioned why he would allow anyone to build besides him. Subconsciously his desire to stay in control was one of the reasons he doesn’t care to see Ragnar excel; he wants to be the sole builder.  She accuses him of being stupid for sharing his knowledge and he agrees that he may be slightly off. He begins to point her in the direction of the new house he is building and how the burning down of his previous home was the making of him as a builder.

While discussing the fire, he confesses how the loss of his sons forced him to focus on building. His exhilaration for building high towers and churches gained him the reputation as the “Master Builder.” He expresses how he must retire because he built a career of building homes for families, which acts as a reminder of what he lost in the fire and how he still struggles to forgive himself.  In the midst of him dwelling on the house, Ragnar enters the room. He confirms that his father is not improving and explains that his father hopes to hear before he dies that Solness has approved Ragnar’s drawings. Solness demands an end to the conversation: he insists that Ragnar should continue to stay with him because he has no value working on his own. With this disappointing news, Ragnar exits and Hilda shares her discontentment with Solness’s cruelty. The scene ends with her backtracking on her previous statement and convincing Solness to allow Ragnar to build on his own for his father’s sake.

Act 3 begins with Mrs. Solness resting in an arm chair, gazing over to the right and watching Hilda’s approach. The women begin discussing Mrs. Solness garden, Hilda mentioning her fondness for it. Hilda questions Mrs. Solness about the new home, Mrs. Solness expresses her lack of enthusiasm, and Hilda sympathetically refers to Mrs. Solness’s loss as the cause of her life’s despair. At first surprised by Hilda’s knowledge, Mrs. Solness begins discussing the loss of her family home sadly and in detail, telling Hilda about the loss of her children and her prized possessions. When Hilda mentions Mrs. Solness’s two sons Mrs. Solness interrupts and asks her not to mention the boys anymore. Mrs. Solness continues with details of her favorite items in the house that were forgotten during the fire. She mentions her childhood dolls, and when she explains to Hilda the significance of the dolls and begins to cry, she asks Hilda not to laugh. Dr. Herdal enters and observes Hilda and Mrs. Solness. Mrs. Solness begs Hilda to remove the idea of climbing the scaffolding from Solness’s head and asks her to be friends. Hilda enthusiastically embraces Mrs. Solness. Disengaging herself from the embrace, Mrs. Solness and Dr. Herdal go inside. Solness enters and approaches Hilda, and they discuss Mrs. Solness’s grief pertaining to her sons and family home. Solness agrees that he has noticed her grief but dismisses any sympathy toward his wife by saying that she cannot move on from the tragedy. Hilda very seriously says she is leaving, and Solness loudly says she cannot leave. Hilda explains that being in close contact with Mr. And Mrs. Solness has led her to realize that she does not want to hurt anyone. Solness asks her what is he to do when she leaves, and she tells him to live for his duties to his wife. Solness eagerly explains that his wife is lifeless and unhappy, and there is nothing he can do about it, yet he would still like to be happy. Hilda changes the subject by asking what he will build next.  He responds by saying that he will no longer build. Hilda states that it is foolish to be miserable because of someone else’s unhappiness. Solness asked her if she was happy with her father, and Hilda says she only had a cage and she never wants to go back. Excitedly, Hilda exclaims she knows what Mr. Solness will build next, stating that Solness will build a castle in the air.  Although Solness questions her about this castle, he becomes more and more excited and interested. Solness firmly declares that they will build this castle together.

Ragnar enters carrying a green wreath with flowers and silk ribbons. Hilda and Solness are pleasantly surprised with the beautiful wreath. Solness and Ragnar discuss Ragnar’s father’s health. Ragnar explains that his father has had a stroke.  When Solness insists that Ragnar go to his father, Ragnar explains that Kaia is by his bedside and insists on staying. Solness leaves with the wreath through the garden. Hilda asks if Ragnar has thanked Solness for his job. Ragnar goes on to explain angrily that Solness has kept him from succeeding. Ragnar explains that Solness possessed Kaia’s mind so she could only think about him. Hilda angrily disagrees, saying that Solness only held onto Kaia for Ragnar’s talent, exclaiming that Solness is a coward. Hilda defends Solness by sharing her experience with him fastening a wreath to a church vane and exuberantly saying he will do it again one day. Mrs. Solness enters and asks where Solness is.  Hilda explains he has gone with the wreath. With fear in her eyes Mrs. Solness asks Ragnar to get him. Mrs. Solness says she will wait for Solness outside, but Dr. Herdal says there are some ladies waiting for her. Mrs. Solness goes inside saying it is her duty to see the women at once. Dr. Herdal asks Hilda to occupy Solness if possible, and she agrees to do so. When Solness enters Hilda and Solness discuss how he could climb the scaffolding once before, and Hilda proclaims that he must climb the scaffolding once more as she has always dreamed. Solness excitedly declares that he will climb the scaffolding, and when he does he will speak to God and declare to God what he is going to build. A crowd has begun to gather in the street; music is playing. Mrs. Solness enters and Solness tells her he is going down below where the men are building. Mrs. Solness begs him to be careful, and Solness leaves. Ragnar approaches Hilda and tells her spitefully that all his students have come to see the master builder climb the scaffolding. Hilda notices Solness climbing the scaffolding, and Mrs. Solness shouts in fear when she realizes Solness is climbing. Dr. Herdal tells everyone to stay still and quiet, not to disturb Solness. Hilda happily sings; she hears music in the air. A group of women and Mrs. Solness shout that he is falling, they gather around his body, and Mrs. Solness screams for help.  Hilda stares blankly in the air.  “My master builder,” she shouts, “I hear harps in the air.”

 

Synopsis of Maurice Maeterlinck, Pélleas et Mélisande

Maeterlinck, Maurice. Pelléas and Mélisande and Other Plays. Trans. Richard Hovey. New York: Dodd, Mead and Company, 1915.

by Kristine Perez, Eduardo Guzman, Colby Levin

ACT 1

1.1

The play opens with maidservants asking for the gates of the castle to be opened. A celebration is bound to happen, so they have been tasked with cleaning the sills, the gate, and the threshold. Complaining of the perceived impossibility of the task, the women set out to work. The porter lets them in; they begin to clean.

1.2

One day, Prince Golaud finds himself lost in the forest while hunting. He wanders until he hears weeping. He follows the weeping and comes across Mélisande, a beautiful young girl, crying by a pool of water. Golaud approaches her and attempts to comfort her, only to be met with hostility and a threat to end her own life. He calms her down and begins to ask her questions about who she is. She reveals her name is Mélisande and that she has fled her home, a home far away from Allemonde. While consoling her, Golaud points out a shiny object in the depths of the water. Mélisande explains that it was her golden crown that fell when she bent her head over while crying. The sun begins to set and Golaud knows he must begin walking home, so he asks Mélisande to come with him since it can be dangerous out here by herself. At first, she refuses but later agrees to go with him.

1.3

The scene brings us back to the castle where Genevieve, Golaud and Pelléas’s mother, reads King Arkël a letter that Golaud sent to his brother Pelléas. In the letter, he tells the story of how he met Mélisande and why he ran away from home. Golaud also asks King Arkël to forgive him for his decision to marry Mélisande instead of the princess chosen by the King for political purposes. Surprisingly enough, Arkël accepts Golaud’s marriage. The King tells Pelléas to light the lamp, to let Golaud know he can return. Pelléas enters weeping because he has gotten a letter from his friend, Marcellus, saying that he is dying. King Arkël tells him that his friend may sound sicker than he really is and to wait for his brother to return with his wife.

1.4

The next scene fast forwards to the initial meeting of Geneviève and Mélisande. She has just arrived to Allemonde. They stand on a part of the castle overlooking the forest on one side and the vast ocean on the other. Genevieve is showing Mélisande the grounds of the castle.  Mélisande comments how gloomy the place is. Pelléas enters and tells the women about a ship that is leaving the port, the ship that brought Mélisande to the castle. Pelléas greets them and offers to hold  Mélisande’s hand to walk, but she refuses because she is carrying flowers. There is an obvious attraction between Mélisande and Pelléas as they talk about the sea. The scene ends with Pelléas telling Mélisande he will be going away.

ACT 2

 

2.1

The next act begins with Mélisande and Pelléas by a spring. Pelléas informs her that it is known as the “Blind Man’s Spring” with powers to heal blindness. But after the King’s sight started failing and could not be healed by the spring, people stopped believing in it. They both talk and goof around for a while. Against Pelléas’s warning, Mélisande leans over into the water too far and the ring that Golaud had given her falls off. They both try to retrieve the ring but it is too deep. They decide to come back another day. Mélisande is terrified of what Golaud will think, but Pelléas tells her to simply tell the truth.

2.2

The story then transitions to an injured Golaud on a bed. He was thrown off his horse.  Mélisande offers to stay the night and take care of him, but he refuses. Mélisande informs him of her own illness. Alarmed that someone may have done great harm to Mélisande, Golaud questions her. Confessing to Golaud about her unhappiness, Mélisande proposes they leave. She can’t explain why she feels this pain, but the only way to stop it is for her to go away. Golaud tries to console her and takes her hands. He realizes her wedding ring is gone. When he asks her where it is, she claims to have lost it by a cave while looking for tiny shells for Yniold—Golaud’s son from a previous marriage—to play with. He requires her to go look for it at once and to take Pelléas with her.

2.3

Following Golaud’s orders, Pelléas and Mélisande return to the grotto to look for the ring.  As they walk, Mélisande spots three beggars sleeping soundly. Pelléas mentions a famine happening in the kingdom, wondering why the three beggars would sleep in the cave. Frightened by the beggars, Mélisande suggests they go back. They decide to leave and come back another day.

2.4

Arkël gives a long speech to try to dissuade Pelléas from leaving. It is revealed that Pelléas’s friend Marcellus has indeed passed away. King Arkël continues to remind Pelléas of his duty to his father and to his kingdom. In the end, Pelléas decides to wait a little bit longer before he leaves.

ACT 3

3.1

Mélisande is sewing in the dark when Pelléas comes to check on her with Yniold. Pelléas tells Yniold his father will not be back from his hunt tonight, and he should go to bed. Yniold starts to cry, saying that his father and Mélisande are going to leave him alone. When asked why he thinks that, Yniold tells Mélisande it’s because he has seen her talk to uncle Pelléas and thinks they are going away. Mélisande comforts the crying child by singing a song and distracting him with the images of the dog chasing the swans. Then as Yniold is looking out the window, he sees his father Golaud return from his hunt. Yniold rushes to meet him and brings him back. Golaud and Yniold enter the room with the child excitedly showing Mélisande his lamp. Bringing the lamp towards Mélisande’s face, Yniold discovers evidences of her and Pelléas crying and asks why.

3.2

Mélisande is seen in a tower combing her hair like Rapunzel. Pelléas calls out to her from the bottom of the tower. Pelléas comes under her window, proclaiming words of admiration for her. He informs her of his impending journey once again and asks for her hand, so he might kiss it. Mélisande leans out the window and covers Pelléas with her hair. Golaud enters and finds the two in this precarious position. He scolds Mélisande to not lean out the window like so or she will fall out.

3.3

Going down to the depths of the castle, the next scene has Golaud and Pelléas going through the vaults below. Golaud takes Pelléas through the crypts to show him a little underground lake. As they go through the vaults, the smell of death is everywhere. To see the depths of the water, Golaud offers to hold Pelléas’ arm. There is a tense moment when both brothers realize that Pelléas could die very easily if Golaud let go of him. They decide to retreat.

3.4

The brothers return above ground. As they refresh themselves in the air out of the crypt, Golaud takes the moment to confront Pelléas about Mélisande. Golaud, once again, warns Pelléas to stop meeting and flirting with his wife in secret. He knows what happened in the tower the other night and tells Pelléas to back off because Mélisande is believed to be pregnant and is very impressionable.

3.5

Golaud is starting to suspect that something must be going on between his brother and his wife. Sitting under Mélisande’s window, he questions his young child about his stepmother and his uncle. Yniold reveals that they kissed once on the lips. Upon noticing that the lamp has been lit in his stepmother’s room, Yniold proposes that they leave the shadows and go to where the light is. Golaud decides to lift Yniold to Mélisande’s window to spy. Yniold sees Mélisande with Pellèas but they do not speak or go close to each other. Yniold starts to cry and Golaud brings him down and decides to act on what he has just witnessed.

ACT 4

4.1

Pelléas tells Mélisande that he is leaving the castle. There is nothing holding him there anymore; his father is pronounced saved by the physician. Pelléas has had a premonition that today will not end well. His father had told him to travel and so he plans to follow his father’s wishes and leave tonight. The lovers plan to meet one last time at the spring before Pelléas goes off.

4.2

Arkël speaks with Mélisande, confessing to her that he has noticed that she is unhappy. She denies this. He says that things will get better because the King will live and the gloom will leave the castle. A hysterical Golaud enters with blood on his forehead asking for his sword. He is disgusted by Mélisande and pulls her around by her hair. Golaud threatens her and Mélisande is left crying and confessing that yes, she is unhappy.

4.3

Yniold is found by himself trying to retrieve his golden ball from under a stone. He then notices a herd of sheep who are leaving. The shepherd tells Yniold that they have learned of a different route.

4.4

The play then cuts to Pelléas by the spring, waiting for Mélisande. When she arrives, they confess their love for each other and kiss. Then they hear chains and armor nearby in the shadows. They discover it’s Golaud and kiss one last time before Golaud kills Pelléas and chases after Mélisande into the forest.

ACT 5

5.1

The final act opens with the servants talking about what has recently transpired. It has a similar atmosphere as the first scene of the play. One servant retells his story of finding Mélisande and Golaud at the gates that morning. Mélisande was injured and Golaud was drunk. Through their conversation, we learn Mélisande prematurely gave birth to a tiny daughter, resulting in her life dwindling. Golaud is sobering up.

5.2

In the final scene of the play, we find Mélisande on her bed while a physician checks on her. The doctor notes how even though the wound she has is not big enough to kill a bird, she seems to be dying, probably from unhappiness. Golaud, seeking a moment alone with his wife, asks to be left alone with her. While alone, Mélisande forgives him for what he has done. The dying woman admits to loving Pelléas but does not understand what could be wrong about it.  The others come back in as well as a group of maidservants from the first scene. They apparently have a premonition that Mélisande is about to die. As they go to their knees, the doctor feels her body and confirms she has died quickly and silently.

 

 

Synopsis of Maurice Maeterlinck, Pélleas et Mélisande

Maeterlinck, Maurice. Pelléas and Mélisande and Other Plays. Trans. Richard Hovey. New York: Dodd, Mead and Company, 1915.

by Kristine Perez, Eduardo Guzman, Colby Levin

ACT 1

1.1

The play opens with maidservants asking for the gates of the castle to be opened. A celebration is bound to happen, so they have been tasked with cleaning the sills, the gate, and the threshold. Complaining of the perceived impossibility of the task, the women set out to work. The porter lets them in; they begin to clean.

1.2

One day, Prince Golaud finds himself lost in the forest while hunting. He wanders until he hears weeping. He follows the weeping and comes across Mélisande, a beautiful young girl, crying by a pool of water. Golaud approaches her and attempts to comfort her, only to be met with hostility and a threat to end her own life. He calms her down and begins to ask her questions about who she is. She reveals her name is Mélisande and that she has fled her home, a home far away from Allemonde. While consoling her, Golaud points out a shiny object in the depths of the water. Mélisande explains that it was her golden crown that fell when she bent her head over while crying. The sun begins to set and Golaud knows he must begin walking home, so he asks Mélisande to come with him since it can be dangerous out here by herself. At first, she refuses but later agrees to go with him.

1.3

The scene brings us back to the castle where Genevieve, Golaud and Pelléas’s mother, reads King Arkël a letter that Golaud sent to his brother Pelléas. In the letter, he tells the story of how he met Mélisande and why he ran away from home. Golaud also asks King Arkël to forgive him for his decision to marry Mélisande instead of the princess chosen by the King for political purposes. Surprisingly enough, Arkël accepts Golaud’s marriage. The King tells Pelléas to light the lamp, to let Golaud know he can return. Pelléas enters weeping because he has gotten a letter from his friend, Marcellus, saying that he is dying. King Arkël tells him that his friend may sound sicker than he really is and to wait for his brother to return with his wife.

1.4

The next scene fast forwards to the initial meeting of Geneviève and Mélisande. She has just arrived to Allemonde. They stand on a part of the castle overlooking the forest on one side and the vast ocean on the other. Genevieve is showing Mélisande the grounds of the castle.  Mélisande comments how gloomy the place is. Pelléas enters and tells the women about a ship that is leaving the port, the ship that brought Mélisande to the castle. Pelléas greets them and offers to hold  Mélisande’s hand to walk, but she refuses because she is carrying flowers. There is an obvious attraction between Mélisande and Pelléas as they talk about the sea. The scene ends with Pelléas telling Mélisande he will be going away.

ACT 2

 

2.1

The next act begins with Mélisande and Pelléas by a spring. Pelléas informs her that it is known as the “Blind Man’s Spring” with powers to heal blindness. But after the King’s sight started failing and could not be healed by the spring, people stopped believing in it. They both talk and goof around for a while. Against Pelléas’s warning, Mélisande leans over into the water too far and the ring that Golaud had given her falls off. They both try to retrieve the ring but it is too deep. They decide to come back another day. Mélisande is terrified of what Golaud will think, but Pelléas tells her to simply tell the truth.

2.2

The story then transitions to an injured Golaud on a bed. He was thrown off his horse.  Mélisande offers to stay the night and take care of him, but he refuses. Mélisande informs him of her own illness. Alarmed that someone may have done great harm to Mélisande, Golaud questions her. Confessing to Golaud about her unhappiness, Mélisande proposes they leave. She can’t explain why she feels this pain, but the only way to stop it is for her to go away. Golaud tries to console her and takes her hands. He realizes her wedding ring is gone. When he asks her where it is, she claims to have lost it by a cave while looking for tiny shells for Yniold—Golaud’s son from a previous marriage—to play with. He requires her to go look for it at once and to take Pelléas with her.

2.3

Following Golaud’s orders, Pelléas and Mélisande return to the grotto to look for the ring.  As they walk, Mélisande spots three beggars sleeping soundly. Pelléas mentions a famine happening in the kingdom, wondering why the three beggars would sleep in the cave. Frightened by the beggars, Mélisande suggests they go back. They decide to leave and come back another day.

2.4

Arkël gives a long speech to try to dissuade Pelléas from leaving. It is revealed that Pelléas’s friend Marcellus has indeed passed away. King Arkël continues to remind Pelléas of his duty to his father and to his kingdom. In the end, Pelléas decides to wait a little bit longer before he leaves.

ACT 3

3.1

Mélisande is sewing in the dark when Pelléas comes to check on her with Yniold. Pelléas tells Yniold his father will not be back from his hunt tonight, and he should go to bed. Yniold starts to cry, saying that his father and Mélisande are going to leave him alone. When asked why he thinks that, Yniold tells Mélisande it’s because he has seen her talk to uncle Pelléas and thinks they are going away. Mélisande comforts the crying child by singing a song and distracting him with the images of the dog chasing the swans. Then as Yniold is looking out the window, he sees his father Golaud return from his hunt. Yniold rushes to meet him and brings him back. Golaud and Yniold enter the room with the child excitedly showing Mélisande his lamp. Bringing the lamp towards Mélisande’s face, Yniold discovers evidences of her and Pelléas crying and asks why.

3.2

Mélisande is seen in a tower combing her hair like Rapunzel. Pelléas calls out to her from the bottom of the tower. Pelléas comes under her window, proclaiming words of admiration for her. He informs her of his impending journey once again and asks for her hand, so he might kiss it. Mélisande leans out the window and covers Pelléas with her hair. Golaud enters and finds the two in this precarious position. He scolds Mélisande to not lean out the window like so or she will fall out.

3.3

Going down to the depths of the castle, the next scene has Golaud and Pelléas going through the vaults below. Golaud takes Pelléas through the crypts to show him a little underground lake. As they go through the vaults, the smell of death is everywhere. To see the depths of the water, Golaud offers to hold Pelléas’ arm. There is a tense moment when both brothers realize that Pelléas could die very easily if Golaud let go of him. They decide to retreat.

3.4

The brothers return above ground. As they refresh themselves in the air out of the crypt, Golaud takes the moment to confront Pelléas about Mélisande. Golaud, once again, warns Pelléas to stop meeting and flirting with his wife in secret. He knows what happened in the tower the other night and tells Pelléas to back off because Mélisande is believed to be pregnant and is very impressionable.

3.5

Golaud is starting to suspect that something must be going on between his brother and his wife. Sitting under Mélisande’s window, he questions his young child about his stepmother and his uncle. Yniold reveals that they kissed once on the lips. Upon noticing that the lamp has been lit in his stepmother’s room, Yniold proposes that they leave the shadows and go to where the light is. Golaud decides to lift Yniold to Mélisande’s window to spy. Yniold sees Mélisande with Pellèas but they do not speak or go close to each other. Yniold starts to cry and Golaud brings him down and decides to act on what he has just witnessed.

ACT 4

4.1

Pelléas tells Mélisande that he is leaving the castle. There is nothing holding him there anymore; his father is pronounced saved by the physician. Pelléas has had a premonition that today will not end well. His father had told him to travel and so he plans to follow his father’s wishes and leave tonight. The lovers plan to meet one last time at the spring before Pelléas goes off.

4.2

Arkël speaks with Mélisande, confessing to her that he has noticed that she is unhappy. She denies this. He says that things will get better because the King will live and the gloom will leave the castle. A hysterical Golaud enters with blood on his forehead asking for his sword. He is disgusted by Mélisande and pulls her around by her hair. Golaud threatens her and Mélisande is left crying and confessing that yes, she is unhappy.

4.3

Yniold is found by himself trying to retrieve his golden ball from under a stone. He then notices a herd of sheep who are leaving. The shepherd tells Yniold that they have learned of a different route.

4.4

The play then cuts to Pelléas by the spring, waiting for Mélisande. When she arrives, they confess their love for each other and kiss. Then they hear chains and armor nearby in the shadows. They discover it’s Golaud and kiss one last time before Golaud kills Pelléas and chases after Mélisande into the forest.

ACT 5

5.1

The final act opens with the servants talking about what has recently transpired. It has a similar atmosphere as the first scene of the play. One servant retells his story of finding Mélisande and Golaud at the gates that morning. Mélisande was injured and Golaud was drunk. Through their conversation, we learn Mélisande prematurely gave birth to a tiny daughter, resulting in her life dwindling. Golaud is sobering up.

5.2

In the final scene of the play, we find Mélisande on her bed while a physician checks on her. The doctor notes how even though the wound she has is not big enough to kill a bird, she seems to be dying, probably from unhappiness. Golaud, seeking a moment alone with his wife, asks to be left alone with her. While alone, Mélisande forgives him for what he has done. The dying woman admits to loving Pelléas but does not understand what could be wrong about it.  The others come back in as well as a group of maidservants from the first scene. They apparently have a premonition that Mélisande is about to die. As they go to their knees, the doctor feels her body and confirms she has died quickly and silently.