Summary of “Mozart and Salieri”

Pushkin’s play “Mozart and Salieri” was written in 1830 and entered the famous cycle of the author “Little Tragedies.” This work is about two composers, who in different ways approached the creation of music – through hard work and inspiration. In the final of the play, Salieri kills his comrade, because he envies his genius. Despite the fact that both heroes of the tragedy “Mozart and Salieri” conditionally coincide with their real prototypes, Pushkin depicted in the play of fictional characters.

Main characters

Salieri – an elderly composer who achieved glory with long and hard work, poisoned Mozart, because he envied his talent.

Mozart – a young talented composer, not aware of his genius, was poisoned by Salieri.

Scene 1

Salieri remembers how once, while still a child, he heard the sound of a church organ. The music impressed the boy so much that from then on he devoted

his life to him, completely rejecting “idle fun”. For Salieri, art was like a craft. He, “sounds killed”, music “broke like a corpse”, and learned harmony, as a science, checking it with algebra.

Creating works, Salieri often burned his work, since he did not consider them talented enough. Now, thanks to persistent long-term work, he reached a “high degree” and peacefully enjoyed his “success, glory.” However, Salieri is tormented by the fact that previously he did not envy other musicians, whereas now he is jealous of his friend Mozart – a young idle gossip, but a brilliant composer.

Salieri comes to Mozart. The guest, wishing his friend “to treat him with an unexpected joke,” brought with him a blind violinist. Mozart met the musician at the inn, where he played one of his works. The composer asks the blind man to play again, and he is very amused by the inept, faked play of the violinist. Salieri also outraged the entertainment of his comrade, he believes that it is blasphemous to spoil genius music by poor execution. Mozart

gives the violinist money and lets him go. The composer tells Salieri that at night, suffering from insomnia, he sketched a small piece. At the request of Comrade Mozart plays it. Salieri is delighted with his friend’s music:

“What depth,
what courage and what harmony!
You, Mozart, God, and you do not know it,
I know, I am.”

Mozart, not realizing his greatness, jokingly, says that “my deity is hungry.” Men agree to have dinner at the Golden Lion’s Inn. Mozart goes home to warn his wife.

Left alone, Salieri thinks that he must “stop” Mozart. He takes out the poison – the dying gift of his lover Izora. Salieri was carrying a vial for eighteen years with him, but, despite the fact that life often seemed unbearable to him, he still preserved it. He decides to poison Mozart at dinner:

“Now – it’s time, the cherished gift of love,
Turn today into the cup of friendship.”

Scene 2

Mozart and Salieri dine at the tavern. Mozart tells a friend that three weeks ago he was visited by a “man dressed in black.” Courteously bowing, he ordered the composer Requiem and disappeared. Mozart immediately sat down to work, but from that time the customer did not appear. The composer is even happy about this, as he would not like to part with his work. However, after the incident Mozart is in constant alarm:

My black man does not give me day and night rest, I follow him everywhere
As a shadow he chases.” And now
it seems to me that he is
sitting with us for the third himself. “

Salieri tries to dispel the fears of a friend – he recalls that somehow Bomache suggested to him for fun to drink champagne or reread “The Marriage of Figaro.” Mozart is interested: is it true, “that Bomache has poisoned someone?”, But he himself does not believe in this:

“He’s a genius,
As you are I. I’m a genius and villainy –
Two things are incompatible, is not it?”.

Salieri imperceptibly throws poison into Mozart’s glass and gives it to him. The composer drinks for “a sincere union, connecting Mozart and Salieri”, after which he sits at the piano and plays his Requiem. Salieri could not hold back his tears:

“These tears
For the first time I pour: both painfully and pleasantly,
As if I have committed a heavy debt.”

Mozart becomes unwell, and he goes home to sleep. Left alone, Salieri reflects on the friend’s words:

“But he’s right,
And I’m not a genius?” Genius and villainy
Two things are incompatible: Not true:
And Bonarotti? Or is it a fairy-tale
dumb, meaningless crowd – and the
Vatican’s creator was not the Murderer? “.


In the tragedy “Mozart and Salieri,” Pushkin, through a comparison of the two composers, portrayed the confrontation of two principles – rational, based on scientific and creative, based solely on inspiration. Salieri not only envied his comrade, he was afraid of his “divine” genius – that after Mozart’s death, like him, creating art by unceasing labor, there is no reason to live.

We recommend not only to read the short retelling of Mozart and Salieri, but to evaluate the full version of the genius tragedy.

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Summary of “Mozart and Salieri”