Friedrich Schiller Essay

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Friedrich Schiller, born Johann Christoph Friedrich Schiller, was an influential German poet, historian, dramatist, and playwright during the 18th and early 19th centuries. Schiller became one of the most universally acclaimed figures in German literature due to his works that exhibited the themes of human freedom and the necessity of justice. His early plays were characterized by the overthrow of corruption and tyranny, but his later works became renowned for their realistic and classical subjects, often featuring how humans uphold the principle of rising above the sleaze and corruption in order to attain solemnity through pacific means. The influence of Schiller has practically disappeared from the English-speaking world, but in Germany, his works are venerated as a crown of literary triumph along with those of his contemporary Johann Wolfgang von Goethe.
Schiller was born on November 10, 1759 to Johann Kaspar Schiller and Elisabeth Dorothea Kodweiß in Marbach, Württemberg. His father was an officer and a surgeon in the army of the Duke Karl Eugen, and was often unable to visit his family due to his enlistment in the Seven Years’ War. At the young age of seven, Schiller aspired to have a career in the clergy. However, the Duke Karl Eugen insisted Schiller enroll in the elite Karlsschule, a military academy, to study medicine. Although he was able to differentiate himself from his classmates and achieve academic excellence, Schiller found the school to be oppressive, and secretly studied literature. A year after his graduation in 1780, Schiller completed and self-published his first play, Die Räuber, drawing the attention of Wolfgang Heribert von Dalberg, the director of the Mannheim National Theater. Because of the play...

... middle of paper ... ten year gap of philosophical and historical study exhibited new qualities that were not present previously. His later plays embodied his newly developed aesthetic theories on his claim of “naïve” works of art and “sentimental” works of art. “Naïve” works are moral whereas “sentimental” works have a moral. Schiller is considered by most Germans to be Germany’s most vital classical playwright.
Die Räuber launched Schiller into a reputation of a bold and original thinker. From then on, he has had, and continues to have, a lasting impact on culture, continuing to do so in the 21st century. This influence is exemplified in the works of those after him, most notably, the works of Friedrich Nietzsche, Carl Gustav Jung, Friedrich Hegel, and Karl Marx. To this day, his works remain part of the German literary curriculum and the monuments erected in his honor endure.
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