Ok - I dug it up. I have a small compendium, containing articles by Aristotle, Horace & Longinus. The Aristotle one is called On the Art of Poetry
. Is that the one?
I picked it up from a reading list for a Screenwriting MA course, as a cheapo way to do some self-education a few years ago.
I remember reading it, but a fair bit of it I thought was very out-dated. I just don't have the time to pick those things out, or have a debate about it as it's now Scriptfrenzy
But I was just skimming through the book and found a section that I'd underlined when I first read it:
"our pity is awakened by undeserved misfortune, and our fear by that of someone just like ourselves
Which really should be the giveaway of who the protag is in Casablanca. But it doesn't work. Rcik's misfortune is having his heart broken for no (as far as he knows) good reason.
BUT - Lazlo's misfortune is having his wife have an affair while he's in a concentration camp, escaping and recovering. Then fleeing to someplace, only to run into 'the other man', who has the means for his escape and safety but refuses to help because of his wife's past (pardonable) indiscretion.
The only thing Lazlo lacks is that "he's just like me" association for the audience.
I can just see Lazlo standing in front of the gods (Clytemnestra-like) demanding justice for Rick's assassination of him to a 'best supporting role' status in the movie. And then, after he's finished, it's Ilsa's turn for a slice of the heroine-denied action.
Anyway - I think Casablanca's pretty well squeezed out here now. But it's been fun looking at it from different angles
EDIT - And JonPiper's post I believe clinches the whole deal