Wilhelm Tell


Wilhelm Tell
(William Tell) by Friedrich Schiller.
   Premiered 1804. Schiller's last play, written in blank verse, treats the revolt of the Swiss cantons against Austrian tyranny. Schiller employs two plots: a major line of action follows the exploits of the title character and his personal animus against the villainous Gessler, whom he ultimately murders for the sake of national liberty. Tell is not the leader of the uprising; he is rather its moral centerpiece, a man determined to maintain his individual freedom while acting under moral constraints. He is, in other words, the personification of the Schillerian ideal he termed the "sublime." Tell is therefore a combination of Robin Hood and Davy Crockett—one who fights courageously but must also tell himself, "Be sure you're right, then go ahead." There is also a curious double-plot used in the final act, when Johann Parricide is brought in during the last act to contrast with Tell; Johann has murdered his uncle, the Habsburg emperor, to satisfy his ambition. Tell has killed Gessler in an act of tyrannicide. Schiller also makes use of the "neutral playing space" convention required of many subsequent Romantic dramas: much of the action takes place offstage—sinking ships, earthquakes, castle fires, battles, and so forth. The characters then arrive at the "neutral space" for the "working out" part of the action. The play is noteworthy for its numerous aphorisms that have worked their way into colloquial expression. "Durch diese hohle Gasse muss er kommen" (Through this dark alley must he go) is perhaps the best known; "es kann der Frömmste nicht in Frieden leben, wenn es dem bösen Nachbarn nicht gefällt" (Even the most pious cannot live in peace if his evil neighbor will not suffer him) is less familiar, but in performance German audiences greet it with the same familiarity as do their English-speaking counterparts hearing "Neither a borrower nor a lender be" from Hamlet, "pomp and circumstance" from Othello, or "All at one fell swoop" from Macbeth.

Historical dictionary of German Theatre. . 2006.

Look at other dictionaries:

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  • Wilhelm Tell — Wịlhelm Tẹll,   französisch »Guillaume Tell« [gi joːm ], Oper von G. Rossini, Text von Étienne de Jouy (* 1764, ✝ 1846) und Hippolyte Louis Florent Bis (* 1789, ✝ 1855) nach F. Schiller; Uraufführung am 3. 8. 1829 in Paris …   Universal-Lexikon

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  • Wilhelm Tell von Fellenberg — (* 9. Oktober 1798 in Hofwil bei Münchenbuchsee; † 22. März 1880 in Merzig) war ein landwirtschaftlicher Reformer und Unternehmer. Wilhelm Tell von Fellenberg …   Deutsch Wikipedia

  • Wilhelm Tell (Schiller) — Daten des Dramas Titel: Wilhelm Tell Gattung: Schauspiel Originalsprache: Deutsch Autor: Friedrich Schiller Erscheinungsjahr …   Deutsch Wikipedia

  • Wilhelm-Tell-Ouverture — Werkdaten Titel: Wilhelm Tell Originaltitel: Guillaume Tell Originalsprache: französisch Musik: Gioacchino Rossini Libretto: Etienne de Jouy und Hippolyte Bis …   Deutsch Wikipedia

  • Wilhelm-Tell-Ouvertüre — Werkdaten Titel: Wilhelm Tell Originaltitel: Guillaume Tell Originalsprache: französisch Musik: Gioacchino Rossini Libretto: Etienne de Jouy und Hippolyte Bis …   Deutsch Wikipedia

  • Wilhelm Tell Ouvertüre — Werkdaten Titel: Wilhelm Tell Originaltitel: Guillaume Tell Originalsprache: französisch Musik: Gioacchino Rossini Libretto: Etienne de Jouy und Hippolyte Bis …   Deutsch Wikipedia


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