Tragedy inspires love
Schiller, Friedrich - Cabal and love - A bourgeois tragedy
Table of Contents
2 author and time
3.2 Work structure and course
3.2.1 First act
3.2.2 Act two
3.2.3 Third act
3.2.4 Fourth act
3.2.5 Act five
4.1 “Cabal and love” as a mirror of time
4.2 “Cabal and love” as a socially critical drama
4.3 “Cabal and Love” as a tragedy
The following work deals with the bourgeois tragedy "Cabal and Love". The different characters are to be examined in more detail and the tragic plot interpreted. This work will also reveal the life of Friedrich Schiller and the circumstances of his time.
The aim of these explanations is to bring the work closer to the reader and to show the background of its creation.
"Kabale und Liebe" is a civil tragedy that was created in 1783. Friedrich Schiller, who was only 24 at the time, was inspired by the motifs and characters of previous dramas. The plot is based on Wagner's “Repentance after the act” and the features of various main characters can be found in works such as “The Child Murderer” or “Julius von Tarent” by Johann Anton Leisewitz. Lessing's dramas "Miss Sara Sampson" and "Emilia Galotti" were also models for Schiller's tragedy.
Despite its ancient language, “Kabale und Liebe” is a timeless piece. The generation conflict, the failure of a love due to social discrepancies and the contrast between individual interests and social norms offer the reader an extensive pattern of identification. Schiller's drama is also important outside of German-speaking countries. It was translated into English as early as 1795 and into French in 1800. Interest in Schiller has by no means been lost over the past 200 years. The Weltwoche wrote on September 22, 1988:
“There seems to be no match for Schiller. Even after 200 years he still looks powerful and bold. His language is fresh, pathetic and disrespectful, the intrigue, cleverly thought out and exciting, sparkling with evil cynicism, and the characters of the individual persons are so closely observed that the bourgeois tragedy really only needed to be played well to make a thrilling evening to guarantee. "
2 author and time
Around 1800 Germany was divided into many small states. The French Revolution had only just ended and the estates society was firmly established in Germany. The absolutist rulers ruled and lived along the lines of the Versailles court. They celebrated parties, held balls and organized hunts. The numerically larger rural population was defenselessly subject to the nobility and large parts of the country were severely impoverished. So also Württemberg, in which Johann Christoph Friedrich Schiller was born on November 10, 1759 as the son of the military surgeon J. C. Schiller. He spent his childhood in poor conditions. He attended the village school and took Latin lessons from the parish priest. In 1873 he was transferred to the military academy in Stuttgart on the orders of the Duke of Württemberg. While he was studying law and medicine there, he wrote his first drama "The Robbers". When he finished his studies in 1781, he was employed as a regime doctor in Stuttgart. However, his salary was barely enough to live on and so in the same year he had “Die Räuber” printed and published from borrowed money. Friedrich finally traveled to the premiere in 1782 without permission and was punished by the duke with 14 days' arrest. In addition, he was banned from further writing activities, as a result of which Schiller fled to Mannheim. In the following years he traveled through large parts of Germany, wrote "Kabale und Liebe" and began to build up a lively correspondence with Christian Gottfried Körner, as a result of which Schiller traveled to Leipzig in 1785 to visit him. Körner helped Schiller out of financial distress and traveled with him through various cities. In 1787 Schiller came to Weimar, where he first met Herder and Wieland. In the following year he met Goethe for the first time and received a professorship in Jena. However, his teaching post as a historian remained unpaid. In 1790 Friedrich Schiller was appointed court counselor and married Charlotte von Lengenfeld. In the following months, Schiller fell critically ill for the first time. He suffered breakdowns, convulsive coughing fits, and passed out from which he never recovered. In 1794, Goethe accepted an invitation from Schiller to participate in the magazine “Die Horen”. This second encounter ultimately led to a friendship that is still very controversial today. Friedrich's first son is born two years later and his father dies that same year. In the following years his second son and first daughter are born. The Schiller family finally had to leave the small house in Jena in 1799 and moved to today's Schillerhaus in Weimar. Schiller's last years were marked by many life-threatening illnesses until he finally died on May 9, 1805.
The characters of the bourgeois tragedy come from two distant levels. Thus the bourgeois world is juxtaposed with that of the nobility. The person constellation thus provides a potential for conflict for the following action.
Miller is Luise's father and comes from the middle-class world. He is an honorable and upright town musician and stands for the Christian faith. So he considers the order of the estates to be given by God and cannot imagine an intertwining of the estates through a possible marriage. Towards his wife he behaves quite rude and tries to be his family position of power. On the other hand, he has a very warm and close relationship with his daughter Luise. He uses all his authority to keep his daughter safe. Luise replies with her father. She took on his Christian upbringing and thus represents a self-confident middle-class girl. Her close relationship with Ferdinand ensures a connection between the aristocratic world and the middle-class world. Ferdinand, who as the future president is to inherit from his father, detests the world of the nobility and feels drawn to Luise. For Luise this creates an inner conflict. On the one hand, she knows that she is not allowed to cross the floor, but on the other hand, she is in love with Ferdinand. A conflict also arises for Ferdinand. Religion does not play a major role in his life, but Ferdinand tries in vain to find a permanent position in society. He is rejected as a future son-in-law by the bourgeois Miller and the world of the nobility is repugnant to him.
Unlike her husband, Ms. Miller supports the relationship between her daughter and the president's son. She hopes for a social advancement and therefore gets into arguments with Miller again and again.
Ferdinand's father is firmly anchored in the world of the nobility. He got his office through an assassination attempt. He places values and loving relationships under his retention of power. He strives to expand his power further and also accepts sacrifices for it. The President receives support from Hofmarschall von Kalb. He feels that he belongs to the president and attaches great importance to wealth and luxury. He plays an important key role in the intrigues. Another person in the aristocratic world is Lady Milford. She came to Germany as a foreign sage and rose into the world of the nobility through a love affair with the Duke. The President wants the Lady to marry his son Ferdinand. For the lady who has strong feelings for Ferdinand, this is an ideal basis to get closer to her lover.
The president's secretary is seen as the mediator between the two estates. He also comes from the middle-class world and would like to marry Luise. In Ferdinand he sees a dangerous competitor whom he wants to put aside with the help of his position at court. He counts as the founder of the emerging intrigues, which should also have a positive effect on the life of the president.
3.2 Work structure and course
The drama is divided into five acts. When it comes to “Cabal and Love”, one speaks of a target or conflict drama. This is the most common form of five-act drama. After the exposure, the prehistory, a conflict begins, which climbs to the climax, and then after a turnaround steers towards a solution that has the character of a catastrophe in the tragedy.
The action will now be shown below. At the end of a statement, citations are marked with the page number and the corresponding line number, e.g. page one / line two ® (1/2).
3.2.1 First act
The first act has the quality of a prehistory. The reader is made familiar with the topic and gets to know first people. A closer look reveals that the conflict is beginning to build up.
At the beginning of the first act you find yourself in the house of town musician Miller. He and his wife got into an argument about Luise's lover Ferdinand. While Miller condemns this relationship in the strictest terms (3/19), his wife defends them both (4 / 9-12). Wurm, the president's secretary, interrupts the couple's argument and begins a conversation with Luise's father. He expresses to him his wish to marry Luise (5 / 34-35) and hopes for the help of his father (7 / 26-27). However, Miller refuses his help and is of the opinion that he cannot persuade his daughter to have a lover (7 / 28-30). Ms. Miller also shared this view. Thus the first conflict arises. Wurm sees Ferdinand as a serious competitor and seeks support from Ferdinand's father, the president. The President, who soon realizes the seriousness of this relationship, has his son's marriage to Lady Milford proclaimed. He hopes that this will secure his power. Court Marshal von Kalb supports him in his project and informs the whole city of an upcoming wedding.
The first act ends with a conversation between Ferdinand and his father. Ferdinand expresses his rejection of the lady (18 / 23-27), but does not receive any support from his father. Rather, he orders his son to visit Lady Milford and personally deliver the news of the imminent marriage to her.
3.2.2 Act two
The beginning of the second act takes place in the rooms of Lady Milford, who is impatiently waiting for Ferdinand to appear. In the meantime, she reveals to her valet Sophie that she hated the world of the nobility (21 / 16-21).
In the following scene, the Duke's valet appears with a jewelry box to present to the lady as a wedding present. Lady Milford, who seems to be overwhelmed by the jewelry (23 / 33-34), inquires about the value of this gift. When the valet reported that the country children had been sold to America, the lady was deeply shaken and had the gift turned into money to give to poorer families (25 / 9-14). Ferdinand, who has meanwhile reached the lady's court, interrupts the action. He approaches the lady very coldly and insultingly in order to dissuade her from the marriage plans (26/35). He also reports on his love for Luise. However, the lady leaves this fact completely untouched and she is now planning to force Ferdinand's wedding in order not to embarrass herself in front of the people by having the already announced marriage canceled. The dramatic conflict is thus reinforced.
In the second part of the act, the reader finds himself in the Miller house, in which there is great excitement. Miller fears a conflict with the authorities due to his daughter's relationship with Major Ferdinand. Ferdinand steps in and reports to Luise about the planned marriage. At the same time, Miller reproaches Ferdinand for only taking advantage of them (35 / 9-19). The president steps in, insults Luise as a whore and wants to have her arrested.
The news of the marriage and the insults from the president ultimately lead to an inner shock to Luise. The breeding ground for an intrigue is thus created.
At the end of the scene, Ferdinand prevents Luise from being arrested by threatening his father to reveal the secrets of the court.
The second act thus represents the dramatic knot of the drama. It ensures that the conflict comes to a head and reveals the first discrepancies in the aristocratic world.
3.2.3 Third act
The third act begins with a conversation between Wurm and the president. After Luise's arrest and Ferdinand's marriage to the lady failed, they both brood over another intrigue. Wurm, who knows exactly the weak points in the relationship between the aristocratic major and the middle-class Luise, plans to arouse suspicion between the lovers. To do this, he wants to take advantage of Ferdinand's jealousy and Luise's father bond by imprisoning Miller and making Ferdinand suspect a competitor for Luise. Wurm is therefore considered to be the actual initiator of the second, much larger, intrigue. The court marshal von Kalb is said to act as Luise's alleged lover.
While the president and his secretary are working on the cabal, Luise and Ferdinand get into an argument. Luise, who can no longer answer for exceeding the God-given class barriers, wants to end the connection with Ferdinand (49 / 1-2). This leads to Ferdinand's distrust in Luise's true love for him. He suspects the reason for the breakup in another lover. This assumption of Ferdinand offers the ideal breeding ground for the intrigue worked out by Wurm. Luise has become vulnerable because she seems to have been completely destroyed by internal conflicts and Ferdinand has already been aroused suspicion.
At the end of the third act, Wurm appears at Luise's and informs her that her mother and father are locked up and that the father awaits a life and death trial (35/41). At the same time he shows her a way how she could save her parents. He demands that she write a love letter that he would dictate to her. Since Luise's parents are everything to her, she writes this letter and thus fulfills the first part of the intrigue. He also demands an oath to remain silent about the writing of the letter. The letter is slipped to Hofmarschall von Kalb, who leaves it where Ferdinand can see it. When Ferdinand finds the letter, he feels that his assumption that Luise has a rival has been confirmed. The cabal initiated by Wurm has finally risen.
The third act embodies the climax of the cabal in its course of action. The tragic misunderstanding that arose through the love letter to von Kalb caused the plot to turn tragic.
3.2.4 Fourth act
At the beginning of the fourth act there is a dispute between Ferdinand and the court marshal von Kalb. Ferdinand wants to confront him and demands an explanation. When von Kalb appears, Ferdinand is so angry that he challenges him to a life and death duel. In his fear, von Kalb uncovers the whole intrigue and claims never to have had anything to do with Luise. Ferdinand finally lets go of his murderous thoughts and out of sheer anger did not notice what Kalb had told him. Ferdinand is now so upset that he reports about his plan to kill Luise. The President, who has already found out that Ferdinand found the letter, suddenly plays the loving father in front of his son. He hypocritically agrees to the marriage between himself and Luise. With this, the president tries to get on well with his son.
Meanwhile, Luise accepts an invitation to Lady Milford. The lady wants to impress her on the one hand and humiliate her on the other. When Luise appears, however, all the wealth and splendor leaves her indifferent. In addition, she confidently refuses a position offered by the lady as a maid. This was a plan of the lady in order to be able to make Luise jealous after her marriage to Ferdinand, since Luise would have had to stay in the vicinity of Ferdinand and the lady all the time. When Lady Milford notices that she cannot humiliate or impress Luise in any way, her outward appearance crumbles. With threats and promises she wants to persuade Luise to renounce her lover (69 / 5-9; 30.37). Luise renounces all the promises and firmly rejects the allegations. However, the conversation does not leave her unaffected, because in the following scene she gives expression to her suicidal thoughts. The lady, who has become aware of her defenseless position, renounces the duke and leaves the country.
The fourth act leaves the ending completely open. Thoughts of murder arise with Ferdinand and Luise, but the fact that Lady Milford leaves the playing area means that an early end can also be assumed.The penultimate act is therefore considered a retarding moment.
3.2.5 Act five
The fifth act includes the end of the tragedy, which is reflected in a catastrophe. Luise, who is in the Miller's house, is only barely stopped from suicide by her father, which in turn points to a happy ending. Ferdinand, who subsequently enters the scene, has the authenticity of the letter confirmed. At this point Luise could have uncovered the intrigue, but feels obliged to take the oath through her strong faith and continues to remain silent. So the end is delayed further. Ferdinand sends Miller to his father to send him a letter. Meanwhile, Ferdinand poisoned the lemonade to put an end to his and her life. When both have been drinking, Ferdinand reproaches Luise (98 / 6-8) and announces her imminent death. The end can no longer be averted. At the same moment, Luise breaks her silence about the letter and reports on the whole intrigue. Ferdinand, whose hatred of Luise has now completely subsided, can no longer save her and himself. The tragic end can therefore no longer be reversed. Luise dies and Ferdinand's father the President appears with Wurm, Miller and his entourage. When the president realizes the calamity, he asks his son for forgiveness. This is the first moment in the entire tragedy that a father-son relationship can be recognized. Both forgive each other and Ferdinand dies. After his death, the President accuses Wurm of being the main initiator of the tragedy (94 / 20-21). Wurm rejects the allegations and announces that he will report the entire intrigues and machinations of the court to the judiciary.
The fifth act embodies the tragic ending. While the truth was revealed, it was too late to turn the situation around. Ultimately, the winner of the drama is civil virtue. The machinations of the aristocratic world led to the end of a love and the loss of two people.
4.1 “Cabal and love” as a mirror of time
The bourgeois tragedy “Kabale und Liebe” offers a glimpse into Schiller's time. He designed some of his characters based on real models. The person of the duke corresponds to the then Duke Karl Eugen, who ruled Friedrichs Württemberg at the time. He was an absolutist ruler and his approximately 600,000 subjects had to finance the 2000-person court. He was in absolute power and the people of the time showed him a lot of respect. Although the Duke never appears personally in Schiller's drama, he is portrayed powerfully and absolutistically by the other characters. Another real role model was the then chief minister of the duke. He got into his office through forged letters and thus represents a type for Schiller's president who came into his office through an assassination attempt. The Lady Milford resembles the mistress of Karl Eugen Franziska von Hohenheim at the time.
Furthermore, Schiller's tragedy depicts the change in the social structures of his time. In the residential cities, a new bourgeois class consisting of doctors, lawyers, pastors and artists emerged. The large household families were abolished by new petty bourgeois families, as embodied in the Miller family in "Cabal and Love". In addition, there is a change in values. It was no longer customary for the marriage to be mediated through the parents. In Schiller's drama, Miller wants to dissuade Luise from Ferdinand, but does not prescribe another spouse for her.
However, the rules of the statutes remain and a marriage beyond the barriers of the class was not yet possible. In spite of this, Schiller criticizes the estates society in his drama, as a closer examination of the social criticism in the tragedy shows.
4.2 “Cabal and love” as a socially critical drama
As indicated in the previous section, “Cabal and Love” criticizes the absolutist arbitrary rule that has emerged from the class society. The absolutist rulers are not interested in the well-being of the people, as the story of the sale of the country's children to America expresses. In addition, the nobility is portrayed as an egocentric class. In order to maintain their power, they ruthlessly disregard other interests. Schiller expresses this indifference to other people in the president, who has only gained power through an attack and wants Ferdinand to marry Lady Milford against his will.
The citizen Miller represents the opposite position to the aristocratic world. He is a thoroughly honest citizen who lives according to the beliefs of Christianity. So he considers the order of the estates to be given by God.
Schiller expresses criticism of the class barriers in the love between Ferdinand and Luise, which is destroyed due to the class differences. He also condemns the birthright privileges of privileged classes.
“Cabal and Love” is one of the first socially critical tragedies of its time and for this reason has a special meaning for the history of literature.
4.3 “Cabal and Love” as a tragedy
The plot of the drama is pervaded by many tragic events and twists. In addition, a great misunderstanding caused the turnaround to a tragic end.
At the beginning of the plot, Luise's conflict becomes clear. She was brought up according to the strict norms of Christianity and therefore cannot enter into a relationship with Ferdinand. Her decision to part with Ferdinand makes him jealous of a supposed lover. This already tragic turn is reinforced by a cabal from the President and Wurm. Luise is supposed to write a love letter to a fictional lover, which Ferdinand is leaked to. She also has to swear on the Bible to keep silent about the writing of the letter. When Ferdinand finds the letter, a big misunderstanding arises. The end of the plot is heading for a catastrophe, as Ferdinand is already talking about a planned murder of Luise. Meanwhile, Luise had thoughts of suicide, which underpinned the seriousness of the event.
In the last scenes Luise could have exposed the intrigue if her religion hadn't prevented her. Having sworn on the Bible, breaking the vow is inconceivable for her. From this point on, the catastrophe cannot be reversed, as Ferdinand poisoned the lemonade on the next train. When Luise and Ferdinand have already drunk the poison, the truth about the letter comes to light and the misunderstanding is uncovered. This once again underlines the tragedy of the plot, since Luise and Ferdinand are now inevitably dedicated to death.
"Cabal and Love" is one of the many representatives of the bourgeois tragedy. The protagonists of the tragedy no longer come from the world of the nobility alone, but from the bourgeois world. The tragedy unfolds not from the blows of fate of the nobility, but mainly from those of the bourgeoisie.
The work had the task of shedding light on the civil tragedy "Cabal and Love" by Johann Christoph Friedrich Schiller. The figure constellations and the individual tragic events should be examined and interpreted more closely. In addition, the explanations had the task of examining the tragedy more closely from a special point of view, such as social criticism.
“Reading bowl: Friedrich Schiller; Cabal and Love"
Stuttgart: Philipp Reclam jun. GmbH and Co., 2003
"Cabal and Love"
Husum / North Sea: Hamburg reading books publishing house, 61 issue
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