Don Carlos and Mary Stuart

Synopsis

Don Carlos and Mary Stuart, two of German literature's greatest dramas, deal with the timeless issues of power, freedom, and justice. Dating from 1787 and 1800 respectively, one play was written before the French Revolution, the other in its aftermath. Both dramatize periods of crisis in sixteenth-century Europe, and in doing so reflect Schiller's passionate engagement with the great themes of his own age - justice, power, freedom of conscience, legitimacy of government. A youthful work, Don Carlos shows the victory of the forces of reaction over the representatives of a new age. Mary Stuart shows the struggle of the Scottish queen in her last days of her life, not only for her freedom, but also for peace with her conscience, and that of her English rival, Elizabeth I, with the challenge of ruling justly. A vivid imaginative experience when read, these plays, with their starkly contrasting characters and thrilling confrontations, also demonstrate Schiller's brilliant stagecraft. These new translations into blank verse are accurate, elegant, and playable. The introduction, notes, and chronology set the plays in their cultural and intellectual background, while a family tree explains the historical relationship bewteen Don Carlos and Mary Stuart.

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