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The Robbers   By: (1759-1805)

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Friedrich Schiller's play, The Robbers, is a gripping and thought-provoking exploration of the human condition. Set in 18th-century Germany, the story delves deep into the complexities of morality, power, and societal norms.

The narrative revolves around a group of bandits led by Karl Moor, a character whose inner conflict becomes the core of the play. As the son of a respected aristocrat, Karl finds himself torn between societal expectations and his fervent desire for justice. Schiller's skillful characterization allows readers to empathize with Karl's internal struggles and question their own beliefs about what is right and wrong.

Throughout the play, Schiller masterfully contrasts the corrupt aristocracy with the supposed lawlessness of the bandits, blurring the lines between hero and villain. This dichotomy challenges readers to confront their preconceived notions about class, revealing the underlying gray areas of morality in a society driven by power.

Furthermore, Schiller's poetic language and dramatic dialogue enhance the emotional intensity of the play. The monologues are particularly thought-provoking, as characters engage in profound discussions about fate, guilt, and the very nature of humanity. These soliloquies provide a window into the characters' innermost thoughts and add depth to the story.

One aspect that might deter some readers is the complexity of the plot. The Robbers encompasses a wide range of themes and subplots, and at times, the narrative can feel convoluted. However, this complexity also adds to the richness of the story, enabling readers to engage with the various layers of meaning and interpretation.

Overall, The Robbers is a timeless classic that challenges conventional notions of morality, power, and justice. Schiller's exploration of the human psyche creates a deeply emotive and intellectually stimulating experience for readers. While the play does require a certain level of patience and concentration, it rewards those willing to delve into its intricacies. The Robbers is a true masterpiece in the realm of dramatic literature, showcasing Friedrich Schiller's unparalleled talent for storytelling and philosophical exploration.

First Page:


By Frederich Schiller




Now first translated into English.

This play is to be regarded merely as a dramatic narrative in which, for the purpose of tracing out the innermost workings of the soul, advantage has been taken of the dramatic method, without otherwise conforming to the stringent rules of theatrical composition, or seeking the dubious advantage of stage adaptation. It must be admitted as somewhat inconsistent that three very remarkable people, whose acts are dependent on perhaps a thousand contingencies, should be completely developed within three hours, considering that it would scarcely be possible, in the ordinary course of events, that three such remarkable people should, even in twenty four hours, fully reveal their characters to the most penetrating inquirer. A greater amount of incident is here crowded together than it was possible for me to confine within the narrow limits prescribed by Aristotle and Batteux.

It is, however, not so much the bulk of my play as its contents which banish it from the stage. Its scheme and economy require that several characters should appear who would offend the finer feelings of virtue and shock the delicacy of our manners... Continue reading book >>

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