William Tell (German : Wilhelm Tell) is a drama written by Friedrich Schiller in 1804. The story focuses on the legendary Swiss marksman William Tell as part of the greater Swiss struggle for independence from the Habsburg Empire in the early 14th century. Gioachino Rossini's four-act opera Guillaume Tell was written to a French adaptation of Schiller's play.
German is a West Germanic language that is mainly spoken in Central Europe. It is the most widely spoken and official or co-official language in Germany, Austria, Switzerland, South Tyrol (Italy), the German-speaking Community of Belgium, and Liechtenstein. It is also one of the three official languages of Luxembourg and a co-official language in the Opole Voivodeship in Poland. The languages which are most similar to German are the other members of the West Germanic language branch: Afrikaans, Dutch, English, the Frisian languages, Low German/Low Saxon, Luxembourgish, and Yiddish. There are also strong similarities in vocabulary with Danish, Norwegian and Swedish, although those belong to the North Germanic group. German is the second most widely spoken Germanic language, after English.
Johann Christoph Friedrich von Schiller was a German poet, philosopher, physician, historian, and playwright. During the last seventeen years of his life (1788–1805), Schiller struck up a productive, if complicated, friendship with the already famous and influential Johann Wolfgang von Goethe. They frequently discussed issues concerning aesthetics, and Schiller encouraged Goethe to finish works he left as sketches. This relationship and these discussions led to a period now referred to as Weimar Classicism. They also worked together on Xenien, a collection of short satirical poems in which both Schiller and Goethe challenge opponents of their philosophical vision.
This article presents lists of the literary events and publications in 1804.
The play was written by Friedrich Schiller between 1803 and 1804,and published that year in a first edition of 7000 copies. Since its publication, Schiller’s William Tell has been translated into many languages.
Friedrich Schiller (who had never been to Switzerland, but was well informed, being a historian) was inspired to write a play about the legendary Swiss marksman William Tell by his wife Lotte, who knew the country from her personal experience.After his friend, Johann Wolfgang Goethe, had returned from his second journey to the Lake of Lucerne in 1779, Schiller started collecting sources.
Switzerland, officially the Swiss Confederation, is a country situated in western, central, and southern Europe. It consists of 26 cantons, and the city of Bern is the seat of the federal authorities. The sovereign state is a federal republic bordered by Italy to the south, France to the west, Germany to the north, and Austria and Liechtenstein to the east. Switzerland is a landlocked country geographically divided between the Alps, the Swiss Plateau and the Jura, spanning a total area of 41,285 km2 (15,940 sq mi). While the Alps occupy the greater part of the territory, the Swiss population of approximately 8.5 million people is concentrated mostly on the plateau, where the largest cities are to be found: among them are the two global cities and economic centres Zürich and Geneva.
Most of Schiller’s information about the history of the Swiss confederation is drawn from Aegidius Tschudi’s Chronicon Helveticum (Latin: ‘Swiss Chronicle’), Johannes von Müller’s History of the Swiss Confederation (German: Geschichten Schweizerischer Eidgenossenschaft), as well as two chronicles of Petermann Etterlin and Johannes Stumpf.
AegidiusTschudi was a Swiss statesman and historian, an eminent member of the Tschudi family of Glarus, Switzerland. His best known work is the Chronicon Helveticum, a history of the early Swiss Confederation.
The Chronicon Helveticum is one of the oldest accounts of the early history of the Swiss Confederation.
Johannes von Müller was a Swiss historian.
The fateful enmity of the tyrant Gessler, Governor of the Swiss cantons, and William Tell, an obscure huntsman, 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.
Albrecht Gessler, also known as Hermann, was a legendary 14th-century Habsburg bailiff at Altdorf, whose brutal rule led to the William Tell rebellion and the eventual independence of the Old Swiss Confederacy.
His opinion of the bloodthirsty Gessler is shared increasingly by the peasantry as the oppressor fills the old jails, builds a huge new prison at Altdorf for more victims, and sets his cap upon a pole before it, commanding that all who pass must bow to it or pay the penalty of death. Public anger is fanned into rebellion when Gessler blinds an aged man for a trifling misdemeanor. Tell, the individualist, holds aloof from the rebels' councils, but promises his aid when needed.
A friend of the peasants is the aged Baron of Attinghausen, but his nephew and heir, Ulrich of Rudenz, fascinated by the splendor of Gessler's court and love for Bertha, the Governor's ward, is allied with the tyrant. The Baron warns Ulrich that Bertha is being used only to bait him, and that the freedom-loving people will prevail in the end, but the youth goes to join Gessler. While they are together hunting, however, Bertha reveals that she will love him only if he joins in the fight to liberate his own people from Gessler's grip.
Tell prepares to pay a promised visit to his father-in-law, a leader of the rebels, and his wife, fearful that the Governor counts him as an enemy, asks him in vain to postpone the trip. Tell insists that he has nothing to fear, and sets off with his crossbow, accompanied by Walter, his son. They pass the prison where Tell, failing to salute the Governor's cap, is seized by a guardsman. Several peasants are trying to rescue him when the Governor's hunting party rides up and Gessler demands an explanation from the huntsman. Tell declares his failure to salute was an oversight, and the Governor remarks that he has heard that Tell is a master of the bow. Walter boasts: "Yes, my lord! My father can hit an apple at a hundred yards!" Says Gessler: "Very well, you shall prove your skill now. Shoot an apple from the boy's head. If you miss, your own head shall pay the forfeit."
The spectators are horrified. Tell falls upon his knees, imploring Gessler to withdraw so barbarous a command. He bares his own breast, but the Governor laughs and says: "It is not your life I want, but the shot—the proof of your skill." The boy speaks up: "Shoot, Father! Don't be afraid. I promise to stand still." Tell removes two arrows from his quiver, puts one in his belt, takes aim and sends the other on its way. The boy remains standing. Walter runs to his father, crying: "Here's the apple, Father! I knew you'd never hit me!"
Tell falls upon his knees to embrace his son, but Gessler has not finished with him. "A word with you, Tell," he commands. "I saw you place a second arrow on your belt ... what was the object?" Tell answers: "If the first arrow had struck my child, the second would have gone through your heart."
For this answer, Gessler orders him bound and taken to the prison at Küssnacht for his threat; but a great storm comes up which proves to be the huntsman's salvation. Since he alone can take the boat through the gale, his guards release his bonds and Tell steers to a shelving ledge, leaps out, and with his foot thrusts his captors' boat back into the waves. Now, he tells a fisherman, he is planning "a deed that will be in everybody's mouth!"
Küssnacht am Rigi is a village and a district and a municipality in the canton of Schwyz in Switzerland. The municipality consists of three villages Küssnacht, Immensee, and Merlischachen, the hamlet Haltikon, the industrial area Fänn, and the alp Seeboden. It is situated at the north shore of Lake Lucerne and at the south shore of Lake Zug below mount Rigi.
Meanwhile, Bertha has been borne off by Gessler's men. Ulrich, who earlier had condemned his master for Tell's ordeal and had declared that to keep silent longer would be treason to his country and his King, has gone over wholly to the side of his people. But he returns too late to find the old Baron of Attinghausen alive; his uncle has died with this injunction to the peasants: "The day of the nobles is passing. The new day of the people is at hand ... the flower of chivalry is cut down, but freedom waves her conquering flag on high.... Hold fast together, men—hold forever fast.... Be one—be one—be one----"
Ulrich rallies the peasants and is acclaimed their leader. He directs that they arm and wait for a fiery signal on the mountain tops, then swoop down upon the tyrant. A more ominous figure in the revolt, however, is hidden upon the brow of a hill overlooking a road. Tell, with his crossbow ready in his hand, awaits Gessler, who is expected to enter the pass below. Gessler soon appears with his retinue. His way is barred by Armgart, a peasant woman, and her seven children. She cries to the Governor: "Mercy, my lord! Pardon!... Pardon!... My husband lies in prison. My children cry for bread. Pity, my lord, have pity on me!"
Gessler shouts: "Step aside or, by Heaven, I'll ride you down!" Armgart throws herself and her children before the horses, crying out: "Very well, then ride us down." Gessler shouts: "I've been too mild a ruler to these people. From now on, I must change. I will proclaim a new law throughout the land. I will----"
The sentence is never finished; an arrow pierces his body. Clutching his breast, Gessler cries: "It is William Tell's work!... O Lord, have mercy on my soul!" Armgart rejoices: "Dead, dead! He reels, he falls!... Look, children! This is how a tyrant dies!"
The shaft that killed Gessler ignites the signal fires of revolution, and at daybreak peasants and workingmen are tearing down the prisons. In one they find Bertha; they rescue her just as burning timbers are about to fall on her. The liberated peasants, with Ulrich and Bertha among them, now throng Tell's home with the cry: "Long live William Tell, our shield and saviour!" Bertha, greeting the commoners as comrades, asks to be accepted into their League of Freedom. Her request is granted and she gives her hand to Ulrich. He proclaims: "And from this moment all my serfs are free!"
But soon word comes that Albert, the Emperor of Austria, has been assassinated by his own nephew John. One day, Tell's wife receives a visitor at their cottage; it is presumably a monk, but Tell soon recognizes him as John in disguise, fleeing his would-be captors. John, knowing that Tell has killed Gessler, expects approving words from the archer, who, instead, denounces his crime. Nevertheless, Tell helps John flee, on the condition that John expiate his crime as soon as possible.
The first public performance of Schiller’s Wilhelm Tell was staged in Weimar under the direction of Johann Wolfgang Goethe on March 17, 1804.In the summers of 1912 to 1914 and again between 1931 and 1939, Schiller's play was staged in Interlaken. It was filmed in both German and English versions in 1934, both versions starring the same leading actors (Conrad Veidt was Gessler). Since 1947 the play has been performed annually in Interlaken at the Tellspiele. In 2004 Schiller’s play was staged for the first time at the Rütli Meadow (German: Rütliwiese), on the occasion of its 200th anniversary. Since 1938 it has also been performed every Labor Day weekend in New Glarus, Wisconsin in English, and until recently also in German.
The characters of the play are used in the national deck of cards of Hungary (also used in surrounding countries). The deck was born in the times before the Hungarian Revolution of 1848, when revolutionary movements were awakening all over in Europe. The Aces show the four seasons. It was long believed that the card was invented in Vienna at the Card Painting Workshop of Ferdinand Piatnik, however in 1974 the very first deck was found in an English private collection, and it has shown the name of the inventor and creator of deck as József Schneider, a Master Card Painter at Pest, and the date of its creation as 1837. Had he not chosen the Swiss characters of Schiller's play, had he chosen Hungarian heroes or freedom fighters, his deck of cards would never have made it into distribution, due to the heavy censorship by the government at the time. Although the characters on the cards are Swiss, these cards are unknown in Switzerland.
Jose Rizal, the famous Philippine revolutionary nationalist and author, translated the drama into his native Tagalog in 1886, having drawn much of his literary and political inspiration from Schiller and his works. During the 19th century, William Tell inspired many freedom fighters, e.g. in Italy and the Russian Empire.
Although Schiller’s play was frequently staged during the Nazi regime, it was banned from public performance in 1941.Adolf Hitler, who had only narrowly escaped an assassination attempt by the young Swiss Maurice Bavaud (who was later dubbed the “New William Tell” by Rolf Hochhuth), is reported to have publicly announced his regret that Friedrich Schiller had immortalized the Swiss sniper William Tell (“Ausgerechnet Schiller musste diesen Schweizer Heckenschützen verherrlichen” – "Of all people Schiller had to glorify this Swiss sniper").
In 1949 the play was adapted into an Italian film William Tell with Gino Cervi playing Tell.
William Tell is a French-language opera in four acts by Italian composer Gioachino Rossini to a libretto by Victor-Joseph Étienne de Jouy and L. F. Bis, based on Friedrich Schiller's play William Tell, which, in turn, drew on the William Tell legend. The opera was Rossini's last, although he lived for nearly 40 more years. Fabio Luisi said that Rossini planned for William Tell to be his last opera even as he composed it. The often-performed overture in four sections features a depiction of a storm and a vivacious finale, the "March of the Swiss Soldiers."
William Tell is a folk hero of Switzerland. According to the legend, Tell was an expert marksman with the crossbow who assassinated Albrecht Gessler, a tyrannical reeve of the Austrian dukes of the House of Habsburg positioned in Altdorf, in the canton of Uri. Tell's defiance and tyrannicide encouraged the population to open rebellion and a pact against the foreign rulers with neighbouring Schwyz and Unterwalden, marking the foundation of the Swiss Confederacy.
Polycrates, son of Aeaces, was the tyrant of Samos from c. 538 BC to 522 BC. He had a reputation as both a fierce warrior and an enlightened tyrant.
Crossbow is a 1987 action/adventure television series that aired on The Family Channel. The series was produced by Steven North and Richard Schlesinger for Robert Halmi Inc., in co-production with French television network FR3, and filmed entirely on location in France.
Weimar Classicism was a German literary and cultural movement, whose practitioners established a new humanism, from the synthesis of ideas from Romanticism, Classicism, and the Age of Enlightenment.
The Rütlischwur is the legendary oath taken at the foundation of the Old Swiss Confederacy by the representatives of the three founding cantons, Uri, Schwyz and Unterwalden, traditionally dated to 1307. It is named for the site of the oath-taking, the Rütli, a meadow above Lake Uri near Seelisberg. Recorded in Swiss historiography from the 15th century, the oath is notably featured in the play William Tell by Friedrich Schiller (1804).
"The Pledge" is a ballad published by the German poet Friedrich Schiller in his 1799 Musen-Almanach. He took the idea out of the ancient legend of Damon and Pythias issuing from the Latin Fabulae by Gaius Julius Hyginus, as rendered in the medieval collection of the Gesta Romanorum. It magnifies the belief in the love of friendship and fidelity.
The Adventures of William Tell is a British swashbuckler adventure series, first broadcast on the ITV network in 1958, and produced by ITC Entertainment. In the United States, the episodes aired on the syndicated NTA Film Network in 1958–1959.
Fiesco is the second full length drama written by the German playwright Friedrich Schiller. It is a republican tragedy based on the historical conspiracy of Giovanni Luigi Fieschi against Andrea Doria in Genoa in 1547. Schiller began it after the 1782 premiere of his first play, The Robbers, and dedicated it to his teacher Jakob Friedrich von Abel. It has 75 scenes, which is more than Goethe’s highly popular Götz von Berlichingen. It premiered in Bonn in 1783 at the Hoftheater.
Shooting an apple off one's child's head, also known as apple-shot is a feat of marksmanship with a bow or crossbow that occurs as a motif in a number of legends in Germanic folklore. In the Stith Thompson Motif Index it is F661.3, described as "Skillful marksman shoots apple from man's head" or "apple shot from man's head", though it always occurs in the form of the marksman being ordered to shoot an apple off his own son's head. It is best known as William Tell's feat.
William Tell is a 1949 Italian historical drama film directed by Giorgio Pastina and Michal Waszynski and starring Gino Cervi, Monique Orban and Paul Muller. The film is based on Friedrich Schiller's 1804 play of the same title, which portrays the adventures of William Tell in his fight for Swiss independence. The film was produced by the Milan-based Fauno Film.
The Tellskapelle is located on the Tellsplatte or Tellenplatte on the shore of Lake Lucerne at the foot of the Axenberg cliffs, in the Sisikon municipality, canton of Uri, Switzerland. It is across the Bay of Uri (Urnersee) from the Rütli, some 4.3 km away.
Attinghausen Castle is a ruined medieval castle in the municipality of Attinghausen in the canton of Uri in Switzerland. It is a Swiss heritage site of national significance.
Rudolf Lettinger was a German stage and film actor. He made his stage debut in 1883 when he played the role of Kosinsky in Friedrich Schiller's drama The Robbers. Some of his more prominent roles in his prestigious stage career were Cyrano de Bergerac and Gessler in William Tell. He also worked with acclaimed stage director Max Reinhardt. In 1912, Lettinger played his first film role in Das Geheimnis von Monte Carlo. Lettinger appeared in over 90 films until 1931, mostly as a supporting actor. His best-known film is perhaps The Cabinet of Dr. Caligari (1920), where Lettinger portrayed Dr. Olsen.
William Tell is a 1934 German-Swiss historical film directed by Heinz Paul and starring Hans Marr, Conrad Veidt and Emmy Göring. It is based on the 1804 play William Tell by Friedrich Schiller about the Swiss folk hero William Tell. It was made in Germany by Terra Film, with a separate English-language version supervised by Manning Haynes also being released. While working on the film Veidt, who had recently given sympathetic performances of Jews in Jew Suss (1934) and The Wandering Jew, was detained by the authorities. It was only after pressure from the British Foreign Office that he was eventually released. It is also known by the alternative title The Legend of William Tell.
Parts of Swiss German speaking Switzerland have their own deck of playing cards. They are mostly used for Jass, the "national card game" of Switzerland. The deck is related to the various German playing cards. Within Switzerland, these decks are called German or Swiss German cards.
German playing cards are a style of playing cards used in many parts of Central Europe. Playing cards (Spielkarten) entered German-speaking lands around the late 1370s. The earliest cards were likely Latin-suited like in Italy and Spain. After much experimentation, the cards settled into new suits of Acorns (Eichel), Leaves, Hearts (Herz) and Bells around 1450. Closely related Swiss playing cards are used in German-speaking Switzerland. The French suit symbols were derived from the German ones around 1480. German-suited cards spread throughout Central Europe into areas that were once under German or Austrian control. They were also produced and used as far east as Russia until the early 20th century. German-suited decks are not well known all over these countries including parts of Germany itself as they have been undergoing strong competition from French playing cards since the late 17th-century. Traditional card games in which the German suits are used include Skat, Schafkopf, Doppelkopf and Watten.
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