Author: Godmunder Kamban
Release Date: December, 2003 [Etext #4736] [Yes, we are more than one year ahead of schedule] [This file was first posted on March 10, 2002]
Character set encoding: ASCII
*** Start of the project gutenberg etext Hadda Padda ***
Produced by Nicole Apostola, Charles Franks
and the Online Distributed Proofreading Team.
The value of this play lies in the fact that, beneath the surface, it vibrates with the quivering, intensely pulsating forces of life. The speeches breathe. The leading characters not only have perspicuity, but each has its own representative melodic theme. There is as music under the text, a constant accompaniment of exquisite passion, rising, sinking, and now rising once more, in a struggle with vacillating sensual pleasure and base inclination to supersede others. Around the simple action there is an atmosphere of poetry. The play opens with the superstition of olden times, in the old nurse’s tale about the life-egg, suggested to her by a crystal ball, with which the sisters are playing. Modern superstition is woven into the beautiful scene, where Hadda Padda, with heroically mastered despair, meets the herborist who talks of her plants in a calm poetic manner, reminiscent of the way Ophelia speaks of the flowers she has picked and collected.
The drama stands or falls with Hadda Padda, that is to say, it stands. She holds it with a firm hand, as the Saint in the old paintings bears the church. In her, the Iceland of ancient and modern times meets. She has more warmth, more kindness of heart, more womanly affection, than any antique figure from a Saga. She gives herself completely, resignedly. She is tender and she is mild, without being meek. In her inmost self, however, she is proud. When first this pride is touched, then hurt, and finally the very woman in her is mortally wounded, it is at once perceptible that she descends from the strong, wild women of olden times. The wildness has become resolution, the pride has become poise, the strength has remained unchanged. She plays with life and death like the heroes of a thousand years ago. She faces death without flinching, and despite all her goodness, her delicacy, her kindly love for the old and the young, for the humble and the poor, for animals and plants, at the bottom of her nature she is heathen. In life’s last moments, with death and revenge in mind, she can still pretend, invent, dupe. Such profound and exquisite womanhood, such inflexible masculine will, have hardly ever been seen combined on the stage before.