Send a Tweet
Most Popular Choices
Share on Facebook 24 Share on Twitter Printer Friendly Page More Sharing
Life Arts    H4'ed 10/28/20

An Introduction to Friedrich Schiller: Theater Considered as a Moral Institution

By       (Page 2 of 2 pages) Become a premium member to see this article and all articles as one long page.   No comments
Become a Premium Member Would you like to know how many people have read this article? Or how reputable the author is? Simply sign up for a Advocate premium membership and you'll automatically see this data on every article. Plus a lot more, too.
Author 518287
Message Cynthia Chung
Become a Fan
  (4 fans)

This piece was reprinted by OpEdNews with permission or license. It may not be reproduced in any form without permission or license from the source.

Only here [on the stage] do the world's mighty men hear what they never or rarely hear elsewhere: Truth. And here they see what they never or rarely see: Man.

As with any teaching, any education, for our instruction on how to determine a good course of action from a bad, a good constitution or philosophy from a terrible one, we need it to stand the test of action. There is no safer arena for this than in Art. This is why in Plato's writings of philosophy, the lessons are always presented in the form of stories or a dialogue amongst characters that all hold different perspectives, such as in his book Republic. The answer is never directly given. Through Art we can put to the test what we think we know. It is through this method that we also save ourselves from committing the error of the times. Because Art does not rigidly dictate but when done well, reflects honestly and truthfully as a mirror back onto its audience, its lessons are not held in a fixed state but rather hold living fluid layers that develop even past the sight of the original artist themselves and which inspires future artists to continuously build and improve upon. This can be seen with Aeschylus from Homer, Plato from Socrates, Schiller from Shakespeare, Schubert from Beethoven.

I will end here with the final paragraphs of Schiller's Theater Considered as a Moral Institution:

Such a person lets all previous generations pass in review, weighing nation against nation, century against century, and finds how slavishly the great majority of the people are ever languishing in the chains of prejudice and opinion, which eternally foil their strivings for happiness; he finds that the pure radiance of truth illumines only a few isolated minds, who probably had to purchase that small gain at the cost of a lifetime's labors. By what means, then, can the wise legislator induce the entire nation to share in its benefits?


For, judging from its consequences, no subject has greater importance for the future of the republic, than education; and yet, no area has been more neglected, and none so completely abandoned to the individual citizen's illusions and caprice. The stage alone would be able to confront him with touching, soul stirring scenes depicting the unfortunate victims of neglected education"False notions can lead even the finest heart astray; and what a disaster, when these begin to boast a method, and systematically spoil the tender stripling within the walls of philanthropic institutes and academic hot-houses.

The stage is the institution where instruction and pleasure, exertion and repose, culture and amusement are wed; where no one power of the soul need strain against the others, and no pleasure is enjoyed at the expense of the whole. When grief gnaws at our heart, when melancholy poisons our solitary hours; when we are revolted by the world and its affairs; when a thousand troubles weigh upon our souls, and our sensibilities are about to be snuffed out underneath our professional burdens - then the theater takes us in, and within its imaginary world we dream the real one away; we are given back to ourselves; our sensibilities are reawakened; salutary emotions agitate our slumbering nature, and set our hearts pulsating with greater vigor. Here the unfortunate, seeing another's grief, can cry out his own; the jolly will be sobered, and the secure will grow concerned. The delicate weakling becomes hardened into manhood, and here the first tender emotions are awakened within the barbarian's breast. And then, at last - O Nature! what a triumph for you! - Nature, so frequently trodden to the ground, so frequently risen from its ashes! - when man at last, in all districts and regions and classes, with all his chains of fad and fashion cast away, and every bond of destiny rent asunder - when man becomes his brother's brother with a single all-embracing sympathy, resolved once again into a single species, forgetting himself and the world, and reproaching his own heavenly origin. Each takes joy in others' delights, which then, magnified in beauty and strength, are reflected back to him from a hundred eyes, and now his bosom has room for a single sentiment, and this is: to be truly human.

Next Page  1  |  2

(Note: You can view every article as one long page if you sign up as an Advocate Member, or higher).


Rate It | View Ratings

Cynthia Chung Social Media Pages: Facebook Page       Twitter page url on login Profile not filled in       Linkedin page url on login Profile not filled in       Instagram page url on login Profile not filled in

Cynthia Chung is a lecturer, writer and co-founder and editor of the Rising Tide Foundation (Montreal, Canada).  She has lectured on the topics of Schiller's aesthetics, Shakespeare's tragedies, Roman history, the Florentine Renaissance among other subjects. She is a writer for (more...)

Related Topic(s): , Add Tags
Add to My Group(s)
Go To Commenting
The views expressed herein are the sole responsibility of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of this website or its editors.
Writers Guidelines
Contact AuthorContact Author Contact EditorContact Editor Author PageView Authors' Articles
Support OpEdNews

OpEdNews depends upon can't survive without your help.

If you value this article and the work of OpEdNews, please either Donate or Purchase a premium membership.

If you've enjoyed this, sign up for our daily or weekly newsletter to get lots of great progressive content.
Daily Weekly     OpEdNews Newsletter
   (Opens new browser window)

Most Popular Articles by this Author:     (View All Most Popular Articles by this Author)

Why Russia Saved the United States

The Curse of Game Theory: Why It's in Your Self-Interest to Exit the Rules of the Game

Wild Conspiracy Theory? The Truth Behind the Biggest Threat to the 'War on Terror' Narrative

Treason in America: An Overview of the FBI, CIA and Matters of 'National Security'

The Edgar Poe You Never Knew: a Mere Writer of Horror or a Humanist Master of the Mind

An OrWELLSian Purge? Why H.G. Wells' 'The Shape of Things to Come' Has Arrived Today

To View Comments or Join the Conversation: