Start 48-hour Free trial to Unlock. (Masterpieces of World Literature, critical Edition). Shaffer has described, amadeus as a fantasia on mozartian themes. The play is not a documentary biography, but Shaffer asserts that many of the elements of the play are true and that in no way has the specific nature of Wolfgang Amadeus mozart the man or the composer resume been violated. On the other hand, one might protest that the Italian composer Antonio salieri has been slandered by the drama. The play is set in the imperial Austrian court in vienna, musically dominated by Italians, foremost of whom is the court composer Salieri, who has pledged his soul to god in hopes of becoming the greatest composer of his age. Salieri has the ear of his emperor, but he is ironically forced by his own understanding of music to recognize a far greater talent in the foul-mouthed, vulgar libertine, mozart, who is capable of creating music of sublime beauty. The action is framed by the demented recollections of Salieri at the end of his life, in 1823. He is no longer a famous composer but a forgotten man made bitter and crazy by envy and cynicism.
Mozart himself interrupts Salieris confession, crudely chasing a girl into the room, at times on all fours, throwing her onto the floor and cavorting with her under the table. His excited speech is filled with playful gutter language, and he acts almost as if he is about to remove the girls clothes and make a conquest of her on the spot, although she also appears fairly willing. It is only when his music is heard offstage that mozart runs off to conduct a performance that the court musicians have started without him. Salieri finds mozarts music as beautiful as he finds mozart himself repulsive and childish. The girl is Constanze, whom mozart marries against his authoritarian fathers will. In court, mozart also makes impromptu variations on one of Salieris vapid march themes, greatly hippie enlivening the. Unlock This Study guide now, start your 48-hour free trial to unlock this 100 page, amadeus study guide and get instant access to the following: Summary. Themes, characters, critical Essays, analysis 21, homework help questions with Expert Answers.
Turning around in his wheelchair, he narrates a confession to the audience, asking it to be his confessor. Salieri recollects his first meeting with the adult mozart, even though he had been familiar with the wunderkind mozarts music when mozart toured Europe as a child prodigy, accompanied by his father leopold. As Salieri muses on mozarts music, he reminisces about how mozart epitomized what Salieri wanted to be: divinely gifted. Instead, salieri was a mediocre composer, just as history has judged him. Salieri knows too well that the emperor has a tin ear and that Salieris politicking rather than musical talent gained him his court appointment. Mozart arrived in vienna seeking commissions from the court, where salieri jealously guarded viennas music scene as if it were his own personal fiefdom. As much as he at first worshiped mozarts music as a connoisseur from a distance, salieri was stunned when he met mozart as an adult and realized mozart was as irreverent as Salieri was reverent.
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In the play, we find him working on a piece in his final hours. Salieris two points of devotion, god and music, come into conflict until one of them must be left behind. Salieri chooses being music over God, as he cannot fathom a god who would pass over him to bestow genius on mozart. Leopold, mozarts father, and Constance, his wife, also find themselves in conflict with essay their object of devotion. Ultimately, they leave mozart, as the source of their conflict proves too great. Although the real story of Salieri and mozart is not fully known, in the play, they are introduced as foils to each other.
Where mozart is irreverent, salieri is reverent. Where mozart is a genius, salieri plots his way into a career. Their influence on each other and the path their lives take is fascinating and heartbreaking. Heard whispers open the play, repeating the words Salieri and Assassin. A seated mans silhouette is seen with its back toward the audience. The man is Salieri, retired court composer to the habsburg emperor Joseph II; he is sitting in his apartment in vienna.
There is also an element of madness. Each character is undone by his or her particular madness. Salieri is undone by his obsession with his rival, with ensuring that mozart does not receive the credit he deserves. He wishes to destroy mozart, and in the end, he succeeds. The cost of this madness is a life of guilt and shame. Mozart also goes mad as the play progresses.
In the beginning, he is a compelling communicator, but as the play moves forward, his exhaustion and his frustration at his lack of status as a court musician cause him to lose the ability to communicate. When Salieri commissions him to write a requiem, he ignores mozarts weakened state and forces him to complete. This further diminishes mozarts ability to function as a fully realized human being. Mozart loses his wife through his inability to respond to her the way he once did and with his erratic behavior. She seeks the help of Salieri, but he humiliates her and smears mozarts name. Her madness is that she loves mozart, but his genius removes him from her despite her best efforts. Devotion also drives the story. Mozart devotes himself to his music in spite of his deteriorating health and well-being.
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Mozart repeatedly tries to win over the aristocracy with music of increasing brilliance and genius, but Salieri always manages to frustrate his attempts. At times, mozarts audience is unable to comprehend the bounds of his genius. The play ends homework with Salieri attempting to kill himself with a razor, but even this is frustrated. He confesses to poisoning mozart with arsenic. Though he survives the suicide attempt, salieri still slips into obscurity. The play centers on movie the idea of confession and guilt. Salieri spends most of mozarts life preventing mozart from being fully recognized for his genius; his actions haunt him after mozart is gone. This confession begins and ends the play. He asks the audience to act as his confessor as he reveals his shortcomings through recounting the story.
Salieri cannot believe that God would choose such a boorish man to bestow such genius upon. For much of the rest of the play, salieri pretends to be on mozarts side as he frustrates and impedes his career. Salieri renounces God and vows to do everything he can to destroy mozart. On more than one occasion, mozart is only allowed to continue when hard the emperor himself steps. Salieri always opposes the intervention, but when mozart credits him for intervening, he is more than happy to take credit for the way events turn out. Salieri also humiliates mozarts wife, constance weber, and the woman we saw in the beginning in the play, when she comes to him for assistance. He smears mozarts name with the emperor and the court.
reconcile the vast genius of the man with his character. Mozart is everything that Salieri wants to be — divinely inspired. He knows the emperor is ungifted in music, and his position is more about his politicking than his actual talent. Mozart arrives as an adult seeking commissions from the court. Salieri, who jealously guards the court music scene, is stunned when he meets him. We begin to see images of mozart as a young man, cavorting on stage with a young woman. At times, he crawls on all fours and seems as if he will make a conquest of her on the spot. He runs off when he hears his music being played, realizing that the court musicians have started without him. Mozart changes Salieris march theme to enliven.
SuperSummary, a modern alternative to SparkNotes and CliffsNotes, offers high-quality study guides that feature detailed chapter summaries and analysis of major themes, characters,"s, and essay topics. This one-page guide includes a plot summary and brief analysis of Amadeus by peter Shaffer. Amadeus, a play written by peter Shaffer, tells the story of Amadeus mozart and his nemesis Antonio salieri. It was first performed in 1979 and has undergone revisions since its introduction. The play opens with a man seated in the shadows. Salieri, the former court composer to the habsburg emperor, is sitting in his apartment. He begins to make you a confession; he remembers his first meeting with the adult mozart and how he was shocked to find mozarts music so different than his character. Salieri believes that music is close to god.
In the play, mozart died of a sicknes
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