Wilhelm Tell



[PDF / Epub] ❤ Wilhelm Tell ✅ Friedrich Schiller – E17streets4all.co.uk ISBN was later reused for Wilhelm Tell

Das erschienene und in Weimar – unter der Regie von Johann Wolfgang Goethe ISBNwas later reused for Wilhelm TellDaserschienene und in Weimar – unter der Regie von Johann Wolfgang Goethe – uraufgeführte BlankversDrama Wilhelm Tell war Friedrich Schillers letztes und lange Zeit erfolgreichstes Stück Das Geschichtsdrama spielt umin der Schweiz und behandelt den Freiheitskampf der Urkantone Der überzeugte Einzelkämpfer Wilhelm Tell wird – wider Willen, aber im eigenen Interesse – zum Tyrannenmörder, Volkshelden und Mitbegründer einen freien Gesellschaftsordnung Als National oder Freiheitsdrama erlebte Schillers Wilhelm Tell eine bewegte Aufführungsgeschichte bis zum Verbot durch die Nationalsozialisten im Jahr.Wilhelm Tell

Johann Christoph Friedrich von Schiller November , – May , was a German poet, philosopher, historian, and dramatist During the last few years of his life –, Schiller struck up a productive, if complicated, friendship with already famous and influential Johann Wolfgang Goethe, with whom he greatly discussed issues concerning aesthetics, encouraging Goethe to finish works h.

Paperback  ì Wilhelm Tell PDF/EPUB ò
  • Paperback
  • 144 pages
  • Wilhelm Tell
  • Friedrich Schiller
  • German
  • 12 January 2019

10 thoughts on “Wilhelm Tell

  1. says:


    I learnt to read thanks to a fortnightly magazine called Story Teller that was around in the early 80s – it was one of those publications that came with a cassette taped to the front cover, on which various celebrities of the day could be heard reading out fairytales and children's stories, while you read along in the lavishly-illustrated magazine. Frankly, every child deserves to grow up listening to Brian Blessed bellow out The Elves and the Shoemaker, or Joanna Lumley politely explain Gulliver's Travels.



    One of my favourite stories – indeed one of my strongest memories of childhood – was William Tell, which drew on the inspired combination of Tom Baker and Gioachino Rossini (together at last). Of course I didn't know who Tom Baker was then, I just knew I loved the way he enunciated ‘Gessler's black heart’ with such relish; and I certainly didn't know who Rossini was – I probably assumed the Overture was just something they'd come up with for the sake of the Story Teller recording – I only knew that the music got me so riled up that, afterwards, I used to charge around the house in some frenzy, trying to liberate the airing cupboard from the Habsburg Austrian yoke.

    If you have a spare few minutes, treat yourself here.

    So anyway. Though Schiller had a lot to live up to by the time I finally got around to reading him, his play also found fertile ground. And though I am the least nationalistic person imaginable, I have always had a soft spot for tales of national freedom or independence. This one is put together with consummate skill, different scenes and conversations echoing each other very deftly. The poetic flourishes are well translated in my edition by William F Mainland in the 70s.

    The herald cries his summons to the lists,
    But no sound comes to these sequestered valleys;
    I only hear the melancholy note
    Of cowbells and the dreary ranz des vaches.


    There is an interesting tension in the treatment of the central character, who is often discussed but not often on stage. Perhaps it comes from the fact that Schiller, as a professional historian, knew only too well that Tell probably never really existed; Schiller the historian and Schiller the dramatist have, perhaps, slightly different ideas about how large a role he should play. Much of his dialogue consists of regurgitated proverbs, as though he's merely a personification of general folk wisdom – most of it revolving around the theme of self-sufficiency, which is something of a recurring motif here, for people as well as for countries.

    I find national myths like this weirdly moving – not so much the original story as the way it has captured the imaginations of so many generations of people. I'm determined to get down to the open-air staging of the play that's put on every summer outside Altdorf, where these legendary events actually ‘happened’. Until then I'll make do with the words on the page – supplemented, natch, by regular doses of Tom Baker.

  2. says:

    Although Friedrich Schiller's Wilhelm Tell is truly and certainly one of my all time favourite plays, period, and while I have indeed read and reread this masterpiece of German Classicism religiously and repeatedly since I first had to peruse Wilhelm Tell in 1986 (for a fourth year undergraduate German literature course on both Goethe and Schiller that I somehow was at least partially manipulated into taking during my second year), I have actually and unfortunately never had the chance to see it performed, to see the play staged (and although I do very much hope this sorry scenario will change, I kind of doubt that Wilhelm Tell will ever be staged in Canada and if by chance, in German, and I do not really want to consider viewing the play in English or in French translation, at least not for a first time attendance, as going to an English or a French language performance of Wilhelm Tell would at least for me personally totally defeat the purpose).

    Aside from having absolutely loved reading Wilhelm Tell as a literary drama, but never having had the chance to see it staged, I also tend to often forget that historically, it was actually Schiller's wife Charlotte who already in 1789 (the play was completed in 1804, less than two years before Schiller's death from tuberculosis at the relatively young age of 45) made her future husband aware of the Tell legend (as well as his good friend Johann Wolfgang von Goethe, who during his own travels to Switzerland not only researched Wilhelm Tell, but had also at one time seriously considered Wilhelm Tell for a possible literary work before deciding against this and handing the information and research he had amassed over to Friedrich Schiller). And therefore, while Friedrich Schiller is definitely and in all ways to be considered the sole author of Wilhelm Tell, it must and should be noted that the genesis of the latter, that the production and development of Wilhelm Tell does indeed owe much to Schiller's wife's Lotte's enthusiastic encouragement and his friend Goethe's Swiss travels and research (for Friedrich Schiller himself actually never did visit, never did manage to travel to Switzerland).

    With regard to the play itself, for me personally, what I have always found both most enjoyable and really even essential with regard to Wilhelm Tell is the cheering fact that unlike other dramatic works of German Classicism (and even a number of Schiller's own offerings), Wilhelm Tell in particular is presented in a generally reasonably approachable, comparatively easy to understand manner, both not too difficult to read and also therefore not too difficult to watch performed (never simplistic, never trivial, but fathomable for a lay person, for someone who does not necessarily need to have advanced degrees in literature and philosophy to enjoy and appreciate settings, dialogues, monologues, descriptions etc.). For basically, the main themes of Wilhelm Tell, the both individual and collective historical struggles of the Swiss against Habsburg, against their often cruel and ruthlessly arbitrary Austrian overlords is shown clearly, concisely, and even with a sense of adventure and thrillingness (kind of like watching a movie or at least, I have always been able to visualise Wilhelm Tell as a movie, as a running adventuresome script, when I read, when I peruse the play).

    Now especially in German Classicism, most dramas need to present a clearly delineated turning point, and Schiller's Wilhelm Tell is no exception here. During the first scenes of the play, while the main protagonist, while Wilhelm Tell is indeed portrayed as being much sympathetic to his fellow countrymen's concerns about and struggles against the Habsburg Empire, he does tend to keep himself rather aloof and apart, he is intuitive, nature-bound and does not want to embrace politics, political struggle, or entertain thoughts of rebellion (which of course then changes after the arrow incident, as Tell must realise that he can no longer remain neutral and is thus also no longer unwilling to actively strive against the oppressors, no longer unwilling to stalk and personally assassinate the nastily tyrannical Gessler).

    And finally, with regard to the famous apple/arrow scene, in my humble opinion, it is actually first and foremost Gessler's broken promise to Tell that he would not face arrest or execution if he (if Tell) truthfully gives the reason why there were two arrows placed in his quiver which finally and firmly cement not only Tell's desire to kill Gessler, but also convinces him to fully and wholly join the rebels against the Habsburgs (namely that if Tell had missed and had injured or killed his son Walter whilst trying to shoot that apple from his head, the next arrow would have been for Gessler himself). For if one looks at the entire apple shot scene realistically, if Wilhelm Tell had been an active and yes dedicated adversary against Gessler, against the Austrian overlords right from the start, he would or at least he should not have actually bowed down and done what was being demanded of him by Gessler, he would not have shot the apple from his son's head, he would instead have immediately used his bow and arrows to kill Gessler, to punish with death his tyranny and his outrageously hateful demands. Yes, at the end of Wilhelm Tell, Gessler has been assassinated and the main character, Wilhelm Tell has one hundred percent now joined the rebels, but it has taken an attack on himself and his family, as well as Gessler's broken promises (that truth loving and honest Tell was arrested to be executed even after Gessler had specifically promised that he could speak without fear of the latter) for Wilhelm to finally realise that Gessler is indeed an evil monster who needs to be gotten rid of and that the struggles of the Swiss against the Habsburgs are both just and necessary, that his support, Tell's expertise, his marksmanship are not only appreciated, but desperately needed.

  3. says:

    After Die Räuber I felt a sense of Schiller's play as returning to and experimenting with ideals of political legitimacy and establishing new societies - unsurprising concerns for a writer at the end of the Ancien Regime era, in Wallenstein the traditional authority of the Emperor trumps the personal loyalty of the army to it's General and paymaster, while the robbers mutual loyalty and commitment to raising crime levels everywhere proves undesirable and unsustainable, only in Tell does a society founded on a mutual oath prove resilient and in this case the oath takers effectively are the inheritors of the traditional feudal authority of their lord. The new society must be grafted on to the old root stock in order to flourish, or as somebody else was to put it referring to a different place everything has to change to stay the same.

    The staging requirements for this play, compared with others by Schiller are ambitious, mountains, stormy lakes, horses, live archery, either his theatre was well equipped or the master disposed to gives its poor director a headache. Killing a tyrannous overlord is permissible but not parricide, everybody gets to look down on the father killer. A significant statement in an age when the monarch might be seen figuratively as the father of his people, and his governors therefore as acting in loco parentis. No, says Schiller, these are different relationships, you can kill your king, but not your father - a revolution.

  4. says:

    Late 15th century, Switzerland.
    Wilhelm Tell is a local folk hero. He is forced by a tyrannic ruler to shoot at an apple, placed on his son's head at a distance of a hundred feet.
    He succeeds without wounding his son, but in revenge, later kills the tyrant and his country gains independence.
    This famous play, by Friedrich Schiller, is amazing in beauty of language and dialogs, I would say of Shakespearean quality.
    I had read it long ago in my young school years but names and the action came quickly back to my mind.
    A basic must read in Classic German literature.

  5. says:

    I really should re-read all of those German classics that my teachers forced on me over the years. Because I kept none of them in good memory. :D

  6. says:

    Many people have heard of Wilhelm Tell, and the shooting of an apple off of a head. I had not really heard the full story of Schiller’s play. It seems odd that so few lines would be included for the title character, but this is not a play about Wilhelm Tell. He is an obscure Swiss hunter, who lives under the government of the tyrant Gessler. Gessler fills the jails with the peasantry, and his abuse finally spills over into rebellion. Tell does not seem to seek a lead role, rather promising support when needed. Tell: “The man of courage thinks not of himself. Help the oppressed and put thy trust in God.” (11) On a visit to his father-in-law, he is captured and then pressed by the governor to display his hunting prowess by shooting the apple off his son’s head. He is successful, but then makes a threat to Gessler. This line spoken by Furst is not written in the moment, but seems to apply here, “Oh how can we, scarce mastering our passions, expect that youth should keep itself in check?” (26)

    I will not give away the rest of the play, but suffice it to say that Gessler’s abuse is rebuffed finally by Tell as he defends his family. His defense as an individual against tyranny sets off the larger rebellion.

    Quite the Romantic play, there are great philosophic lines. In closing, I’ll note a few below. I really enjoyed the quality of the drama and the Schiller’s writing throughout. This is a play that I hope I get to see performed someday.

    Attinghausen: “Such greater wisdom
    And so much clearer vision do you claim
    Than all your noble forebears who did fight
    As heroes, risking allthey owned for freedom?
    Get you to Luzern and study there
    How cantons live beneath the Austrians’ rule.
    They’ll come, I warrant you, to count our flocks,
    Our herds, and measure all our grazing lands;
    They’ll claim the ownership of all the creatures
    Which make their habitation in our forests;
    At every bridge and gate they’ll set toll bar.
    Our penury will pay for lands they buy,
    Our blood for all the wars they choose to wage.
    If blood of ours be wagered on a venture
    The venture must be ours – and slavery
    Costs more than freedom.” (41)

    Rudolf Der Harras: “So it has reached this pass? Obedience and fear take flight together?” (120)

    The Brothers: “With swift approach death comes to man,
    To him is never respite given;
    Or e’er he’s counted half his span
    From toil and pleasure he is driven.
    Prepared or not his God to meet,
    He’s called before the judgement seat.” (120)

    Suggested further reading:


    Book Details:
    Schiller, Friedrich von. Tr. William Mainland. Wilhelm Tell. Chicago: The University of Chicago Press, 1972. 154 Pages.


    Passages:

    Tell: “The man of courage thinks not of himself. Help the oppressed and put thy trust in God.” (11)

    Furst: “Oh how can we, scarce mastering our passions, expect that youth should keep itself in check?” (26)

    Attinghausen: “Such greater wisdom
    And so much clearer vision do you claim
    Than all your noble forebears who did fight
    As heroes, risking allthey owned for freedom?
    Get you to Luzern and study there
    How cantons live beneath the Austrians’ rule.
    They’ll come, I warrant you, to count our flocks,
    Our herds, and measure all our grazing lands;
    They’ll claim the ownership of all the creatures
    Which make their habitation in our forests;
    At every bridge and gate they’ll set toll bar.
    Our penury will pay for lands they buy,
    Our blood for all the wars they choose to wage.
    If blood of ours be wagered on a venture
    The venture must be ours – and slavery
    Costs more than freedom.” (41)

    Rudolf Der Harras: “So it has reached this pass? Obedience and fear take flight together?” (120)

    The Brothers: “With swift approach death comes to man,
    To him is never respite given;
    Or e’er he’s counted half his span
    From toil and pleasure he is driven.
    Prepared or not his God to meet,
    He’s called before the judgment seat.” (120)

  7. says:

    Physical freedom and liberty of the soul are central ideas of Schiller’s literature. In his very first play The Robbers (1781), Schiller spoke of the ideas of liberty. His famous play Wilhelm Tell, on which Rossini’s famous opera is based, was also a tribute to freedom. The Romantic influence is apparent in Wilhelm Tell: “The mountain cannot frighten one who was born on it.” Indeed, this play was also a tribute to men living close to nature—the Romantic ideal of the harmony between nature and mankind. Don Carlos, another play by Schiller on the issue of liberty, inspired the great Italian Romantic opera composer Giuseppe Verdi to write one of his greatest operas.
    Seldom does a play include fewer scenes or lines for the title character, yet Wilhelm Tell is in few scenes and has relatively little to say in this great play, the last completed, by Friedrich Schiller. Nature looms as the play begins during a tempest on Lake Lucerne when Tell braves the angry waves to row to safety a peasant who is pursued by the Governor's horsemen. The lake may take pity on him; but the Governor, never, says Tell. And yes, there is the famous scene where Tell refuses to bow to the hat, the symbol of repressive Habsburg power, and is in turn forced to shoot the apple off his son's head. And there is the ultimate act which makes him a patriotic hero when he kills the Governor Gessler, the imperial representative hated by Tell's fellow countrymen and women. Beyond that the scenes in this play demonstrate the importance of those countrymen and their closeness to the land and traditions of their forefathers.
    This is a powerful romantic drama about the desire for freedom, but it is also an Arcadian idyll that presents the best of nature. It seems almost Rousseauian in the opening scenes that are set in a seeming state of nature. Eden like as the country may be it is also beset by tyranny from the dreaded imperial Hapsburg empire. We see the attraction this life has for Ulrich von Rudenz, the nephew of Baron von Attinghausen. While Attinghausen is a patriot his nephew is attracted to the other side and is brought back to support his countrymen only through the intervention of his love for young Berta. The importance of Berta and Lady Gertrud in their influence over the men closest to them is worth noting.
    Schiller's play, the culmination of his dramatic art, is a joy to read. Over the years it, along with other plays by Schiller, has found its way to the operatic stage, in this case through the pen of Rossini, while Verdi was attracted to other of Schiller's works. While the large cast and number of different scenic locations make this a difficult work to stage I could not help thinking that we are overdue for a cinematic traversal of this tremendous literary resource.

  8. says:

    I was really interested in this drama, because 1) I promised myself to read more dramas, and I found this one in our collection, 2) I've always been intrigued by the whole William Tell legend, because it is a main part of our national deck cards in Hungary, but I knew little about it (only the apple scene)

    I really liked this drama. What I liked most is that it was just not a mere historical tableaux/costume drama only showing the great deeds and happenings, but it was also really lyrical, dramatic and poetic, and how Schiller could tell us a lot about human nature and emotions - how people having absolute power and control on people, drunk on power, behave and what they do to break people to discourage them from rebellion, how some people break important bonds because of promises and romantic attraction, how some traumas induce poisonous thoughts in people, how real achievement in a community's life could only achieved by co-operation and joint efforts.

  9. says:

    William Tell is an odd piece of drama and propaganda. I have to admit to being quite disappointed. The work did not live up to the hype that preceded it. The poetry, in particular, was rather plain and many of the scenes wooden and preachy. Granted, the publisher of the book described the translation (by Theodore Martin) as “good but not great.” (I wish I had read that before buying the book.) So the problem might have been there.

    The introduction written by Thomas Carlyle is an absurd homage to the “common man,” uncomplicated by thought and uncorrupted by knowledge. Oh my.

    It’s hard, though, not to like a revolutionary call to arms – an uprising against tyranny. So it wasn’t bad – I was just expecting much more. I might look for another translation.

  10. says:

    The special slipcover 1952 edition release from Heritage Press includes a four-page newsletter issued for the members of the Heritage Club. Based around the true events of the rebellion in Switzerland against Austria in 1291, William Tell is a translation of Johann Christoph Friedrich Von Schiller's original play Wilhelm Tell, which was the basis for Rossini's opera, which is still a popular performance in Germany and Switzerland. The book has an introductory essay to familiarize readers with the events as they coincide with the various acts of the play. It also has an appendix with annotations of certain words and phrases related to the play that help those unfamiliar with Switzerland's history or land. It's quite handy.

    Written in Stage Play format, the story is that of several men from the three cantons (states) that existed in Switzerland at the time, whose freedom was being taken and the country was dominated and overrun by Austria. The primary antagonist is Hermann Gessler, Governor of Schwytz and Uri (two of the cantons). He's very similar to the infamous Sheriff of Nottingham in the Robin Hood tales. Perhaps Gessler and Tell stories are related, to a degree, despite being in a different part of Europe.

    Gessler is so full of himself, and demanding obedience of the rebellious Switzers, he demands they even bow down to a cap, representing Austrian rule, sitting upon a post in the middle of the primary roadway. Guards are stationed at the post and ordered to arrest anyone passing the cap and refusing to bow down to it. William Tell happens to be going through town with one of his son's, Walter, to visit his father-in-law. He is unaware of the absurd law. He is arrested as Gessler happens to be riding through town. Gessler is actually in debt to Tell and unhappy about the fact. He decides to test Tell's renowned talent with his crossbow, forcing him to shoot an apple of Walter's head at nearly 100 yards. If he refuses, they both die. If he shoots and misses, William dies. If he shoots and hits Walter, they both die. Not much of a choice. Walter refuses to be tied to a tree so he won't move, and he refuses a blindfold, having faith in his father's ability which he brags about. Tell, shaking and nervous, fires the crossbow bolt, hitting his target. True to form, the evil governor arrests Tell anyway.

    The rebels are saddened and plot revenge. They had already met to decide on how and when to revolt. Tell is doomed for the dungeons or must figure out a way to escape during a perilous journey. The five-act play has quite a bit of drama. It's easy to see why this was a popular opera and play, and such an important part of Switzerland's history.

    The title page gives illustration credit to Charles Hug, but the newsletter from the Heritage Club credits Rafaello Busoni. Whoever did the illustrations did a very nice job as several full-page images fill the book.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *