(1759-1805) – German poet, playwright, art theorist, historian.
He was brought up in a religious atmosphere, which affected his early poems. Among the interests of the future founder of German classical literature are the American liberation movement, the work of Shakespeare, Lessing, the works of German writers, the anti-feudal traditions of Swabian literature and journalism.
In 1781, Schiller’s drama The Robbers was published.
This is a tragedy about disharmony in the modern world, about enmity and hatred in human relationships.
Discovering the monstrous crimes of his brother Franz, Karl Moore took them as a manifestation of the viciousness of all nature and imagined himself an avenger. But the form of his retribution – robbery – came into conflict with his lofty intentions. “Robbers” have opened a new type of drama – lyrically passionate, politically aspiring, emotionally effective.
Especially great is the
significance of the drama “Insidiousness and Love” (1784), designated as “philistine tragedy” – a drama genre popular in educational literature. The events unfolding in the nameless German duchy reflected a heated atmosphere in Europe. The drama described the sale of German soldiers to the British army to deal with the American people fighting for independence. Such a range and revolutionary pathos did not know any philistine drama.
Interest in the past manifested itself in such works as the drama The Conspiracy of Fiesco in Genoa (1783), the novel The Outlaw for Lost Honor (1786), The Spiritual Spirit (1787), and others.
Exploring history from the initial stages to modern times, Schiller noted progress in the development of human society, which nevertheless did not get rid of savage barbarism and slavish oppression. Unlike most educators of the XVIII century, Schiller caught the tragic path of man and put forward a program of aesthetic education. He proceeded from the premise that the present state of necessity, alien to its citizens, should be replaced by a state, ideally, freedom.
But it will not be achieved through violence. The great mission of art is to internally and gradually prepare a modern, corrupted and enslaved person for acquiring the coveted reasonable social relations: “the path to freedom leads only through beauty.”
Schiller’s aesthetic system is idealistic and illusory, but her strength lies in the fact that she openly pursued political and social tasks. Aesthetic education, according to Schiller, is bound to help overcome the tragic disunity of modern life, the formation of humanistic relations between people.
Since 1791, Schiller has been plotting the tragedy “Wallenstein” (1800), in the process of creating the trilogy. In the prologue the playwright himself declares the “lofty object” of the work – the tragic fate of Europe. This drama reveals the tragic fate of a great but self-confident figure who fell victim to undefeated forces “forever yesterday.”
The same tragic sound was given to the drama “Maria Stewart” (1801). The plot of this work is taken from the history of England XVI century. The tragedy of Maria Stewart is not that she must pay for the crimes committed earlier, but that she met with an unacceptable form of statehood. Arrogant, proud, ambitious, boundlessly devoted to Catholicism, Mary in suffering acquired a new worldview, giving her the strength to resist the ruling, but morally low-minded opponents. The solemnly arranged scene of the execution of the Scottish queen causes heartfelt sympathy for her
In his new work “The Maid of Orleans” (1801), Schiller complicated and idealized the image of the French national heroine. The motive for the struggle of patriotic duty and the sudden burst of personal feeling in John’s soul became an integral part of the conflict of an outstanding, exceptional and natural man with an inert world. Rejected and cursed by everyone, John, who had just brought the French to victory, was alone. Only the heroic finale Schiller was able to resolve the tragedies that arose. The miracle ending gave the author an excuse for calling the “Orleans voyage” a “romantic tragedy.”
The last play, “William Tell” (1804), finished by Schiller, was thought of as a national drama. Its nationality is in an anti-Iranian orientation, in a call to national liberation that has become actual in Germany. The drama ends with the apotheosis of freedom, in which there is no mystical coloring: the glorification of William Tell is merged with the rejoicing of the victorious Swiss people.
Creativity Schiller completes the literature of the XVIII century, his artistic method is inextricably linked with the art of the Enlightenment. Poetry combines philosophical, political thought with imagery, abstract vocabulary from deliberately prosaic, reasoning – with a sharp laconicism.
Schiller left several major prose works; the talent of the prose writer is vividly visible in his historical works, written freely, picturesquely, dramatized. However, Schiller’s true vocation is dramaturgy. After Shakespeare, he is the greatest tragedian of world literature, his creative path is the way of unremitting search for a new type of tragedy that would embody the tragedy of his time