Aber ist es wirklich erstrebenswert, ewig zu leben? Ist es nicht gerade die Endlichkeit, die das Leben erst wertvoll macht? Was fasziniert dich an diesem Komponisten? Da ich kein Tschechisch spreche, kann ich nicht wirklich beurteilen, inwiefern ihm das gelungen ist. Wie ergeht es dir nun mit der Sache Makropulos? Mittlerweile habe ich einen Zugang zu Makropulos gefunden.
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Prus has been going on for nearly a century. Gregor expresses frustration and wishes for the case to end. She praises Emilia Marty, a famous singer whom she has seen rehearsing and despairingly states that she will never be as great an artist as Emilia Marty.
Accompanying him is Emilia Marty, to the surprise of Kristina. Emilia expresses interest in the case of Gregor v. Prus, after learning about the case that morning. Baron Joseph Ferdinand Prus died in , leaving no will or legitimate children.
One document in the records mentions a "Gregor Mach". The name "MacGregor" thus explains "Gregor Mach". Emilia asks what would be required for Albert Gregor to win the case. Emilia says that there is, in fact, such a document, and claims that there is an old cupboard in the Prus mansion where important papers were kept where he will find the document they need.
He is already infatuated with Emilia, and makes advances to her. Emilia, bored and indifferent, refuses him. However, she asks his help in retrieving a document that will be found with the will. Emilia says she can provide such written evidence. Jaroslav enters, seeking Emilia, accompanied by his young son Janek, and Kristina.
Kristina tells Janek that they cannot continue their relationship, because she needs to concentrate on her singing to become a great artist like Emilia. Emilia enters, but spurns them all, including Janek, who instantly falls under her spell, and Albert, who brings her expensive flowers.
There is a discussion about a past opera singer, Strada, from years earlier, whom Emilia mocks from what appears to be first-hand experience of hearing Strada sing in person. There is a further similar discussion about Jean-Paul Marat and the French Revolution, where again Emilia expresses strong opinions that appear to derive from her direct experience of the people and events, even though they occurred years earlier.
At first, Emilia treats him with disdain, but then he states that she seems to resemble Eugenia Montez, a Romani woman with whom he had an affair in Andalusia half a century before. She calls him by a past pet name and asks him for a kiss, to his surprise. He then takes his leave. Vitek asks that Emilia sign a photograph for his daughter Kristina, which Emilia does. Jaroslav then comments on her interest in and striking knowledge of his family, then asks if she knows the name Makropulos.
This startles Emilia, but she then recovers her bearings. Prus reveals the presence of additional documents, including an additional document whose contents he does not know, with a seal from Baron Prus intended for the hands of "his son Ferdinand", which he has never opened.
Jaroslav asks for a reason, which Emilia does not directly answer. Jaroslav proceeds to ask Emilia what she knows about Ellian MacGregor, whom he describes in disparaging terms, after reading her love letters that detail explicit sexual behaviour.
Emilia takes offence at this part of the conversation. Jaroslav then mentions another name, Elina Makropulos, which also startles Emilia. He says that the name registered as the mother of Ferdinand Gregor was Elina Makropulos. Emilia goes on to say that Elina Makropulos was her aunt.
He continues saying that only a descendant of Ferdinand Makropoulos can claim the estate. Emilia offers to buy a mysterious document found with the will, but Jaroslav refuses and leaves. Albert returns and again pleads his love. Emilia spurns his advances again. However, she also tells him that he must obtain from Prus papers that will provide him with proof to win the inheritance. After she again says that she cannot love him, he threatens her with violence. However, she angrily shows past scars, and snores in response to his final protestations of love.
He leaves. Janek returns, and Emilia asks him to get the document for her. Jaroslav overhears this, and states that the document is in a safe. Janek leaves. Jaroslav then offers to provide the document himself if Emilia will spend the night with him. She agrees. A chambermaid arrives with news for Jaroslav, that Janek has committed suicide because of his infatuation with Emilia. Jaroslav grieves at his lack of showing affection to Janek, but Emilia is indifferent and asks if she has to tear her hair out every time someone dies.
However, Gregor notices that the ink is fresh, and accuses Emilia of forgery. Emilia swears that in fact, Ellian MacGregor truly wrote that document. The others all note the similarity of this handwriting to the signature on the picture for Kristina. Gregor threatens to call the police, and then tosses a parcel of papers on a table. Among the documents, there is visible a seal with the letters EM, dating from Emilia asks that the party stop reading the documents, and says that she will then explain everything.
She asks that the hotel room be re-arranged to resemble a court room, and asks for time to dress. He places Emilia, who has drunk some whiskey just beforehand, under oath. Gregor accuses Emilia Marty of fraud and forgery, as well as practices against common decency. When Jaroslav asks again her name, she repeats: Elina Makropulos. Jaroslav asks if she was the mistress of Baron Joseph Prus: she says yes. Gregor then asks if she was Ellian MacGregor: she replies yes.
She further states that Ferdinand Gregor was her son, which makes her a direct ancestor of Gregor his great-great-great-great-great-grandmother .
Emilia confesses that she knew about the sealed wills because Baron Prus showed her the documents before his death. Emilia then became desperate to retrieve it. Emilia explains that Emperor Rudolf II wanted his court alchemist to prepare a potion that would grant him years of youth.
When the potion was ready, the Emperor ordered Hieronymus Makropulos to test it on his year-old daughter Elina first. She fell into a coma, and Hieronymus Makropulos was sent to prison. However, after a week, Elina awoke and fled with the formula, which proved to be successful. She has since lived an itinerant life for three centuries. Emilia replies that she is, in fact, all of those people.
Even in her ailing state, she maintains that she is Elina Makropulos. Gregor summons a doctor, who then orders strong black coffee to be brought in. Kristina leaves the room to bring the coffee to Emilia. Vitek argues that giving humans extended life will allow them to do great works over an extended duration.
A discussion then ensues on who should be granted such extended life. Jaroslav argues that the intellectual elite of men no women at all should be granted this elixir, with weaker people allowed to die normally. Gregor argues that only descendants of Elina Makropulos should be allowed this formula.
Kristina re-enters the room, to ask the others to speak quietly and let Emilia sleep. Kristina demurs, and questions whether such people would truly be happy. However, she tells everyone that her extended life has led to exhausted apathy and a sense of cynical futility about people.
She tells the others that they are happy because they could die at any moment, but also that she is afraid of death. Each of them declines. Emilia finally offers it to Kristina, saying that this formula will allow her too to become a great singer, and to live for years. Kristina takes the parchment, but then places it over a lit candle. Emilia laughs after the parchment has completely burned, and proclaims the "end of immortality". The final lines of the play are among the least convincing, the most contrived of all that Capek wrote".
In his essay, Williams utilizes the case of Elina Makropulos in order to demonstrate that an immortal life should not be desirable. According to Williams, because of the nature of human psychology, an immortal life would be a boring and meaningless life.
Čapek, Karel - Věc Makropulos
Die Sache Makropulos