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Madach, Imre

MADACH, IMRE (1829-1864), Hungarian dramatist, was born at Als6-Sztregova. He took part in the great revolution of 1848-49 and was imprisoned; on his return to his small estate in the county of Nograd, he found that his family life had meanwhile been completely wrecked. This only increased his natural tendency to melancholy, and he withdrew from public life till 1861, devoting his time mainly to the composition of his chief work, Az ember tragoedidja (" The Tragedy of Man "). John Arany, then at the height of his fame as a poet, at once recognized the great merits of that peculiar drama, and Madach enjoyed a short spell of fame before his untimely death of heartdisease in 1864. In The Tragedy of Man Madach takes us from the hour when Adam and Eve were innocently walking in the Garden of Eden to the times of the Pharaohs; then to the Athens of Miltiades; to declining Rome; to the period of the crusades; into the study of the astronomer Kepler; thence into the horrors of the French Revolution; into greedeaten and commerce-ridden modern London; nay, into the ultra-Socialist state of the future, when all the former ideals of man will by scientific formulae be shown up in their hollowm?ss; still further, the poet shows the future of ice-clad earth, when man will be reduced to a degraded brute dragging on the misery of his existence in rf cave. In all these scenes, or rather anticipatory dreams, Adam, Eve and the arch-fiend Lucifer are the chief and constantly recurring personae dramatis. In the end, Adam, despairing of his race, wants to commit suicide, when at the critical moment Eve tells him that she is going to be a mother. Adam then prostrates himself before God, who encourages him to hope and trust. The diction of the drama is elevated and pure, and although not meant for the stage, it. has proved very effective at several public performances. Concerning Madich there is an ample literature, consisting mostly of elaborate articles by Charles Szasz (1862), Augustus Greguss (1872), B. Alexander (1871), M. Palagyi (1890), and others.

Note - this article incorporates content from Encyclopaedia Britannica, Eleventh Edition, (1910-1911)

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