THE last of Wagner's dramas is not only mystical in its subject, but also in the manner in which it confronts the critical student. In Bayreuth it exerts a most puissant influence upon the spectator and listener; but when one has escaped the sweet thraldom of the representation, and reflection takes the place of experience, there arise a multitude of doubts touching the essential merit of the drama. These doubts do not go to the effectiveness of "Parsifal" as an artistic entertainment. If they did they would arise in the course of the representation and hinder enjoyment. Against what, then, do they direct themselves?
An answer to this question must precede our study of the drama.
"Parsifal" is not a drama in the ordinary acceptation of the term; yet it is a drama in the antique sense. It is a religious play; but, again,