He decides to give himself up to justice , thus submitting to the law that he had flouted. Schiller could therefore claim to have written in defense of law and morality. In order to have the play accepted, Schiller had to prepare a stage version in which the rebellious ardour of his original text was toned down. Nevertheless, the first performance Jan.
To escape from this intolerable situation, Schiller fled from Stuttgart at night and set out for Mannheim in the hope of receiving help from Heribert Baron von Dalberg, the director of the theatre that had launched his first play. The new play was rejected, however, and when Schiller prepared a revised version with a different ending, this was rejected, too.
For some tense weeks Schiller led the hand-to-mouth life of a refugee, until he found a temporary home with Henriette von Wolzogen, whose sons had been fellow students of his and who invited him to stay at her house at Bauerbach in Thuringia. There he finished his third tragedy , Kabale und Liebe ; Cabal and Love. The appeal of its theme the revolt of elemental human feeling against the artificialities of convention , the vigour of its social criticism , and the vitality of its dialogue and characters combine to make Kabale und Liebe great theatre.
Dalberg eventually offered Schiller an appointment as resident playwright with the Mannheim theatre. Schiller accepted and had the satisfaction of seeing Kabale und Liebe score a resounding success, but his hopes of clearing his debts and gaining a measure of financial security were doomed. When his contract expired after a year, it was not renewed; and once again Schiller needed the help of friends to extricate him from both his financial predicament and an emotional crisis caused by his attachment to a married woman, the charming but unstable Charlotte von Kalb.
On one level, the work is a domestic drama concerned with the relations between the aging King Philip II of Spain, his third consort, Elizabeth of Valois, and his son by his first marriage, Don Carlos , who is in love with his stepmother. The conflict between father and son is not confined to their private lives, however; it has broad political implications as well. The change of focus from the domestic to the political sphere produced a play of inordinate length and a tortuous plot.
But positive qualities compensate for these faults: a wealth of exciting and moving scenes and a wide range of sharply individualized characters, the most memorable being the complex, brooding, and tragic figure of King Philip. Goethe , who was in Italy at the time, returned to Weimar in the following year.
Die Verschwörung des Fiesco zu Genua | Open Library
A chance meeting between Schiller and Goethe in and the ensuing exchange of letters mark the beginning of their friendship, a union of opposites that forms an inspiring chapter in the history of German letters. In Schiller married Charlotte von Lengefeld, a cultured young woman of good family, who bore him two sons and two daughters. For a time he lay critically ill, and, although he rallied after several relapses, he never fully recovered from a combination of chest trouble and digestive disorder that proved intractable. The rest of his life was a losing battle, fought with superb fortitude , against the inexorable advance of disease.
To give him time to recuperate at leisure, two Danish patrons granted him a generous pension for three years.
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Schiller decided to devote part of this time to studying the philosophy of Immanuel Kant. In the Wallenstein cycle—a work on the grand scale, consisting of a prefatory poem, a dramatic prologue, and two five-act plays—Schiller reached the height of his powers as a dramatist. Against the sombre background of the war there rises the sinister figure of Wallenstein, who in his secret heart is meditating high treason: by joining forces with the enemy, he hopes to make himself the arbiter of the empire.
Wallenstein sees himself as a privileged being, a superman beyond good and evil, the man of destiny. While these traits repel, his bearing in the hour of crisis compels admiration and even wins a measure of sympathy. His portrayal is a profound study of the lure and the perils of power. Although Schiller repeatedly diverged from the recorded facts in his treatment of the subject, he displays in his play a profound grasp of the historical situation.
Schiller offers a disturbing analysis of the problems that arise whenever political expediency masquerades as justice and judges are subjected to the pressures of power politics or ideological conflict. Mary turns outward disaster into inward triumph by accepting the verdict of the English tribunal—which she regards as unjust—in expiation of her sins committed in former days. By giving to the decree of her judges a meaning that they had not intended, she rises superior to their jurisdiction, a sinner redeemed and transfigured.
Schiller was ennobled with the addition of a von to his name in Death overtook him in while he was working at a new play on a Russian theme, Demetrius Judging by the fragments that remain, it might well have developed into a masterpiece. In his youth it was physical freedom that preoccupied him and found its way into his works; in later life it was spiritual freedom. His reflections on aesthetics thus link up with his political and historical thinking. Although for a time he fell out of favour with the German intelligentsia, the enduring value of his work is not likely to be obscured by fashions in criticism.
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Please note that our editors may make some formatting changes or correct spelling or grammatical errors, and may also contact you if any clarifications are needed. Written By: William Witte. See Article History. Read More on This Topic. Johann Wolfgang von Goethe: Friendship with Schiller — Start your free trial today for unlimited access to Britannica. Learn More in these related Britannica articles:.
Although it deals with republicanism as an alternative to tyranny, the reasons for the failure of the rebellion are to be found in the character of Fiesco rather than the political situation. Rather, it attempts to examine the remarkable and mysterious character that is Fiesco. Although he has a legitimate grudge against tyranny in Genoa that will come about by the handing of power from the aged Andrea Doria to his younger, depraved nephew Gianettino, he soon becomes obsessed by the idea of the acquisition of power and greatness.
He is playing a part in a play, and so involved is he, that he does not sense the potential for events to get out of control. He is unable to achieve the ideal balance between the senses and reason that Schiller believed necessary. He aspires to be great by being seen to do great deeds in the services of what appears to be a political aim. But his egotism gets the better of him. For he knows that politics can be a pretend game and that being seen to be great is a matter of convincing others that you are.
He is duped by himself and is his own undoing. He has no real antagonist: neither Andrea Doria, to whom he is opposed but with whom there is no confrontation, nor his former ally Verrina, who sends him to his death. Together they constitute his nemesis. This makes the play seem modern. Schiller at this stage of his life was interested in chaos, evil and the interdependence of mind and body rather than the power of the mind to influence events and the conformity of events to a pattern.
Indeed, the fact that Schiller toyed with different endings is proof that he believed events could take a different turn. The Moor Muley Hassan embodies this unpredictability, and the association with chaos and evil. Fiesco accidentally murders the faithful Leonora, thinking that she is Gianettino, in whose cloak she has disguised herself.
It is the climax to the tragic misadventures of a libertine and sensualist. Berta is raped by the brutish Gianettino, cursed by her father and locked away. To be sure, it ends happily, for Berta is reunited with her lover, the noble young conspirator Bourgognino and true to the form of Shakespearean comedy, she appears in the guise of a young boy.
Here, as elsewhere, the play has elements of comedy showing another side to the serious elements, as in the case of Julia Imperiali. He flatters his master and disguises his own motives. He is a character who, although improbable in some respects Gianettino rather naively puts his trust in him and he rapidly switches allegiances is linked to the serious themes of the play. Fiesco is a play in which masks play a crucial role, especially at the outset and denouement, but with the metaphor of the mask ever present.
The play opens with a masked ball that Fiesco has arranged. It enables him to exhibit his virtuosity and skills of control and manipulation. Gianettino Doria wearing a green mask commissions the Moor Muely Hassan to murder Fiesco in a white mask.
All the conspirators-to-be are masked, suggesting intrigue and deception rather than full-blooded republican idealism. Moreover, the conspirators are linked to the depravity of their opponents through masks: after the masked ball we are told that Berta has been raped by the masked man in the green coat, the hated Gianettino Doria. All this points to the problems Fiesco will encounter by virtue of his desire to impress, control, manipulate.
He interprets this as a sign from heaven.
The mask has fallen; he experiences the shame and agony of not having his wife by his side as the newly proclaimed Duke. He has been beaten at his own game. Characters constantly refer to one another, sometimes half in jest, as a type of animal. Though Fiesco aspires to be the noble lion and rule over all animals, he strikes back like a cornered beast.
The animal metaphors resurface on a broader level. Genoa the Republic becomes a sacrificial animal; Verrina tells Fiesco that he has torn Genoa from Andreas Doria, just as a wolf tears the lamb from its mother. In the Genoese world of politics it is the law of the jungle that prevails.
Here again, Schiller was influenced by the same models. The interlocking dialogue between Verrina and Fiesco in the penultimate scene is a good illustration. Thus the play opens with two characters, Rosa and Arabella rushing onto the stage in disarray, Leonora ripping off her mask and throwing herself into a chair before rising to her feet; it ends with the violence of Fiesco being pushed into the sea. In the twentieth century, it established itself in the repertoire and made the transition to silent film in and television in and The first translation, by G.
Noehden and J. Unlike some of the earlier translations, which used a hybrid text, the translation offered here is based on the first version of the play, which Schiller published in book form and which, as we have suggested, can be considered the most authentic and original version of the play. But it is also often immensely powerful. It gives us the full flavour of the original without overly attempting to update or modify it.
It has the faithfulness a good translation requires. Mein Fiesco soll bleiben. Quoted in Friedrich Schiller, Werke und Briefe , 12 vols. Frankfurt abbreviated as WB , vol. Gerhard Kluge Frankfurt , p. See pp. Reinwald, 5 May Schiller, Friedrich von, Schillers Werke.
Julius Petersen et al. Neue Folge des Jahrbuchs der Goethe-Gesellschaft 27 , ; here pp. Braunschweig See G. Kluge, Commentary to WB 2, p. Throw down! Set free!
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The rotter was putting Genoa to the torch. But that rotter nonetheless spared the laws? Verrina is torching my friendship. So much for friendship.
This is a technique which Schiller develops to great effect in his later plays. Stoddart, Fiesco, or the Genoese Conspiracy. A Tragedy Translated from the German of F. Schiller London An Historical Tragedy translated from the German of Schiller. Translated from the German of Friedrich von Schiller. In Five Acts London A republican tragedy in 5 acts, translated Dresden A highly successful production by the Faction Theatre Company, dir. Creative Commons - Attribution 4.