This document was originally published in The Drama: Its History, Literature and Influence on Civilization, vol. 9. ed. Alfred Bates. London: Historical Publishing Company, 1906. pp. 14-15.

Hugo's inclination to the drama was also early manifested. Among the productions of his boyhood not preserved are mentioned two tragedies and a comic opera. But Inez de Castro, said to have been written at the age of sixteen, is given in full by the "witness of his life," possibly with some later touches. It is a melodrama in three acts, with two interludes. The story is one much used by Spanish dramatists. The play shows a disregard of the unities, a mingling of the comic and serious, a love of the marvellous and an abundant use of local color. All these features he afterward defended, and even declared to be essential to proper dramatic exhibition of life. But that a boy of sixteen should have exemplified these principles seems inexplicable. Among the strange scenes in the play is one in the tomb of the king; another, still more gloomy, is in a vast hall draped with black and containing a throne and a scaffold surrounded by guards in black and red and executioners in penitents' robes, with torches in their hands. The tense emotion of the drama is singularly relieved by the introduction of prattling children, for whom Hugo often showed special fondness in later works. An element never afterward employed was a ghost, but various scenes of this boyish drama seem to recur with modifications in his best plays.



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