Friedrich von Schiller and Troy Anderson

Creative Quotations from Friedrich von Schiller

Friedrich SchillerFriedrich von Schiller

Fredrich von Schiller

Friedrich von Schiller 5Friedrich von Schiller

Ode à Alegria de Ludwig Van Beethoven / Friedrich von Schiller

Friedrich von Schiller 6Friedrich von Schiller

The Schiller City

Friedrich von Schiller 2
Friedrich von Schiller

Friedrich Schiller - Top 10 Quotes

Photo70167Friedrich von Schiller

Friedrich Schiller: A Genius Finds Words (1759-1783)

Friedrich von Schiller-Berlin 10
Friedrich von Schiller -Berlin

Anthem of Europe

Friedrich von Schiller 9Friedrich von Schiller - Coin

Friedrich von Schiller 4Friedrich von Schiller-Stamp

Weimar - A city of contrasts | Discover Germany 

Weimar is the former residential seat of the dukes of Saxe-Weimar, and owes its international reputation as home to poets and philosophers primarily to Johann Wolfgang von Goethe and Friedrich Schiller. Every year, 3.5 million tourists retrace their steps through this city in the state of Thüringen.There's no other place that offers such an authentic impression of how Goethe and Schiller once lived.

Friedrich von Schiller 8Friedrich von Schiller - Mark Bill

DEU TH  WEIMAR GOETHE-SCHILLER-DENKMALGoeth and Friedrich von Schiller

Schiller - Ein Rell greift nach den Sternen - 2v3 - Friedrich Schiller(Schiller - A rebel reaches for the stars - 2v3 - Friedrich Schiller)

Beethoven 1Beethoven

Symphony No. 9 in D Minor, Op. 125 "Choral": IV. Presto - Allegro assai -including the choir finale of Friedrich Schillers "Ode to Joy)

 The Thirty Years' War 1608-1648 (1792) part 1

Friedrich Schiller (1759-1805) was interested in history so he reflected on the Thirty Years' War which happened between the years 1608 and 1648 from the vantage point of the 1790's. The thirty years wars are commonly referred to as part of the "wars of religion"

The Camp of Wallenstein Audiobook Friedrich SCHILLER

Friedrich SCHILLER (1759 - 1805), translated by James S. CHURCHILL ( - )
This is the first play of Friedrich Schiller's Wallenstein Trilogy. Set in a Bohemian camp during the Thirty Years War, it introduces the major characters of the rest of the trilogy, like Albrecht von Wallenstein and Max Piccolomini, from their subordinates' point of view. (Summary by Libby Gohn)

In my youth, my grandmother, Trella Schiller, encouraged me to follow in the footsteps of my multi-great grandfather - Friedrich von Schiller, the “rock star” of his time who is regarded as one of Europe’s greatest literary figures.

The famed poet, playwright and philosopher wrote the poem Ode to Joy that Ludwig van Beethoven set to music in the final movement of the Ninth Symphony, now the European anthem. Germany’s greatest dramatist also wrote many critically-acclaimed plays, including some contained in the English canon – the most important and influential works in Western literature.

Some of Schiller’s most well-known plays are the Wallenstein cycle, Wilhelm Tell, Mary Stuart, The Maid of Orleans and The Robbers. Schiller, the "prophet of liberty, the poet of beauty," is also esteemed for his Romantic era ideas concerning political and spiritual freedom, liberty and the “beautiful soul.” In 2009, the 250th anniversary of his birth, Schiller was voted the second greatest playwright in Europe after William Shakespeare. After one of the celebratory events - a Schiller rock opera - a European television station dubbed him: “Schiller, the rock star.” The London Guardian called him the “pop star of his time” and a “passionate champion of free spirits.”

“A universal genius generally regarded as the greatest German dramatist, Friedrich Schiller dominates a period of German literary history as no one else before or since,” according to the Encyclopedia of World Biography. “Schiller revealed more vividly than any of his predecessors the power of drama and poetry to convey a philosophy; his works contain the strongest assertions of human freedom and dignity and the worth of the individual in all German literature. After his death, he rapidly became part of the cultural environment: streets and schools were named after him, statues and monuments were raised to his memory, his birthday was declared a national holiday and his major works became part of the educational curriculum.”

Inspired by Schiller’s amazing legacy, I took up writing at an early age, penning hundreds of poems and songs. After initially studying theatre arts in college, I decided to pursue a literary path in life.

I attended the University of Oregon, graduated with a bachelor’s degree in journalism and spent the next two decades working as a reporter, editorial writer and editor at the Los Angeles Daily News, The Press-Enterprise and other newspapers. Today, I write for Reuters and more than two dozen national magazines and online publications, including National Wildlife, Newsmax, Christianity Today, World and Rebel.

In honor of Schiller’s influence on western culture - and because I plan to write a biography about his life, Beautiful Soul: Friedrich von Schiller, the Rock Star of His Time – I’ve decided to include biographical information about Schiller on this Website for those interested in learning more about the “rebel from Arcadia.”

Schiller was born on Nov. 10, 1759 in Marbach, a small town in southwest Germany. His father, Johann Kaspar Schiller, was a lieutenant in the army of the Duke of Württemberg. His mother, Elisabeth Dorothea, was the daughter of an innkeeper and a gentle and religious person. Though tutored in Latin, Greek and Hebrew at an early age to prepare him for theological studies, the duke required Schiller to attend his military academy. Paradoxically, Schiller later recounted how his rebellion against the “suffocating rigidity” of the military school nurtured his love of poetry. At first, he studied law, but later turned to medicine. After his second medical dissertation, On the Connection of the Animal Nature of Man and his Spiritual Nature, Schiller became a regimental surgeon. He wrote his first play in 1781, The Robbers, a landmark in German theatrical history.

The play dramatizes the conflict between two aristocratic brothers: the elder, Karl Moor, leads a group of rebellious students into the Bohemian forest where they become Robin Hood-like bandits, while Franz Moor, the younger brother, schemes to inherit his father's considerable estate. The play's critique of social corruption and its affirmation of proto-revolutionary republican ideals astounded its original audience, becoming one of the “most astonishing hits in the annals of German theatre.” Schiller became an oversight sensation. Later, he was made an honorary member of the French Republic because of the play.

“The theatre was like a madhouse – rolling eyes, clenched fists, hoarse cries in the auditorium,” wrote an eyewitness. “Strangers fell sobbing into each other’s arms, women on the point of fainting staggered towards the exit. There was universal commotion as in chaos, out of the musts of which a new creation bursts forth.”

When the duke learned Schiller had left his regiment to see the play performed at Mannheim, he put the young officer under arrest. Schiller was sentenced to two weeks of imprisonment and forbidden from publishing anything but medical treaties. Unwilling to give up his newfound calling as a revolutionary writer, Schiller deserted the army – a capital offense – and fled to Mannheim where he went into hiding under the alias Dr. Ritter.

By 1783, however, it became clear that the duke intended to ignore Schiller’s desertion, and the director of the Mannheim National Theater hired him as a resident playwright to deliver three plays a year. The first Schiller wrote for the theater was Intrigue and Love, a play that explores the decadent moral system of the aristocracy and the new morality emerging from the Enlightenment. The drama also displayed another of Schiller’s favorite themes – the hero who wears a mask of idealism to conceal motives of personal gain. But the performances were poorly attended. When Schiller failed to deliver the third play he promised, the theatre director refused to renew his contract.

Finding himself in serious financial trouble, Schiller decided to launch a literary journal, Die rheinische Thalia. The journal did not sell well and he fell further into debt. But help arrived from an unexpected source, Christian Gottfried Korner, a wealthy official in the Kingdom of Saxony. He provided Schiller – a man of “enormous personal magnetism” – with accommodations and a place to work.

It was during this time that Schiller wrote his most famous poem –Ode to Joy. Schiller’s gratitude for the Korners’ generosity and warm hospitality is reflected in the poem, a paean to friendship, universal brotherhood and earthly peace. Beethoven later immortalized the poem by setting it to music in the final movement of the Ninth Symphony. Less known, however, is that Schiller’s work also inspired Brahms, Mendelssohn, Schubert and Tchaikovsky.

In 1787, Schiller wrote Don Carlos, his first major poetic drama. The play, which exalted the idea of the dignity and freedom of man, is based loosely on the short life and mysterious death in 1568 of Don Carlos, son of Phillip II and heir to the Spanish throne. The drama, with its ideal of freedom, its vision of a better future, and its merciless attack on political absolutism, earned a special place with the public. The play, featuring the famous line - “Sire, give us all freedom of thought!” - premiered in Hamburg, was a success and soon was playing throughout the country. That summer, Schiller moved to Weimar, the literary capital of Germany, and took up the study of history. Over the next decade, he wrote no more plays and little poetry.

At the time, it was widely held that there is a supra-personal force at work within the world directing the course of civilization. Many, including Schiller, thought this force could be grasped through the study of history. Schiller’s study of the revolt of the Netherlands from Spain resulted in the publication of the History of the Revolt of the United Netherlands, which celebrated religious tolerance. It won him fame as a scholar and led to his appointment as a professor of history at the University of Jena, now named the Friedrich Schiller University of Jena. After giving his inaugural lecture, Schiller marched with the enthusiastic crowd shouting “freedom” to the town hall. The next year, Schiller married Charlotte von Lengefeld. The couple eventually had four children: Emilie, Ernst, Karl and Karoline.

During this time, Schiller earned his living writing popular histories, translating and editing. He wrote the enormously successful History of the Thirty Years War. But his academic career came to an abrupt end in 1791 when overwork brought on a pulmonary disorder, probably pneumonia, later complicated by pleurisy. Providentially, Schiller was given the opportunity to pursue his interest in aesthetics and Kantian philosophy during this time thanks to a three-year pension provided by Prince Friedrich Christian von Schleswig-Holstein-Augustenburg of Copenhagen. Over the next four years, Schiller composed several essays on aesthetics, publishing them in a new journal - Die Horen - that he co-founded in 1795 with a leading figure of German letters, Johann Wolfgang von Goethe. During this period, Schiller produced a series of essays on tragedy, the sublime, spiritual rebirth and grace and dignity, including On the Aesthetic Education of Man in a Series of Letters. Schiller attempted to establish something Immanuel Kant declared impossible: “an objective concept of beauty” – one uniting the realms of nature and freedom and “the expression of a beautiful soul, where sense and reason harmonize.”

“Schiller believed that the poet’s task is not to entertain but to inform, instruct and improve the reader,” according to the Encyclopedia of World Biography. “The grand style is his mode of expression; his subjects are the rise and fall of civilizations, the destiny of mankind, the human condition. A particularly prominent motif is that of transcending through art and beauty the workaday world that inhibits the full development of our potential: only in the realm of ideals, truth and beauty can we escape the enslaving forces of reality.”

Schiller believed art is an ennobling power that can create a higher culture. Art is the first step away from the bondage of the flesh into a realm where the nobility of the soul reigns. In nature, for example, the artist discovers the laws of beauty and becomes aware of the mysteries of the universe. For Schiller, only in the higher, spiritual realm was truth to be found.


In these years, Schiller developed a close friendship with Goethe. The two wrote hundreds of letters to each other. Together, they contributed to the development of Weimar Classicism, a cultural and literary movement that attempted to synthesize Romantic, classical and Enlightenment ideas. Goethe later wrote that the “the idea of freedom dominates all of Schiller’s work.”

“Schiller’s early tragedies are attacks upon political oppression and the tyranny of social convention; his later plays are concerned with the inward freedom of the soul that enables a man to rise superior to the frailties of the flesh and to the pressure of material conditions; they show the hero torn between the claims of this world and the demands of an eternal moral order, striving to keep his integrity in the conflict,” according to the Encyclopedia Britannica. “In his reflective poems and in his treaties, Schiller sets out to show how art can help man to attain this inner harmony and how, through the ‘aesthetic education’ of the individual citizen, a happier, more human social order may develop.”

At the height of his literary powers, inspired through his friendship with Goethe and armed with a decade of historical and philosophical studies, Schiller wrote some of his greatest works, including the Wallenstein cycle, Mary Stuart, The Maid of Orleans and Wilhelm Tell – plays that explore the psychology of people in crisis. Schiller used decisive moments in Western European history as the subject matter of his plays: the breaking away of the Netherlands from Spain in Don Carlos, the Thirty Years’ War in the Wallenstein trilogy, the rise of Britain to a world
power in Maria Stuart, the liberation of France from England’s yoke in The Maid of Orleans and the foundation of Swiss democracy in Wilhelm Tell.

“The task of the universal historian is to look back and discover in the dark ages of the past the workings of those forces that have come or are coming to fruition in the present,” wrote F. J. Lamport in his 1998 essay, “Schiller and the ‘European Community”: ‘Universal History’ in Theory and Practice.”

Schiller traced again and again humanity’s fateful involvement in history, in that process which humanity determines while being determined by it, which uses people as its pawns by mobilizing in humanity its freedom to act.

“There is no such thing as chance; and what seems to us merest accident springs from the deepest source of destiny," Schiller wrote.

Schiller, the great dialectician of politics, began work in 1797 on his masterpiece, the Wallenstein trilogy, which is often cited as the greatest German tragedy and shows how much his work benefited from the study of Greek tragedy. The trilogy comes nearest to the tragic grandeur of Shakespeare’s works.

The play, which reflects his study of the history of the Thirty Years War, portrays a cold, cruel and murderous world where power is the medium of exchange and lies, betrayal and intrigue are the norm. Against this somber background looms the protagonist, Albrecht von Wallenstein, commander in chief of the Catholic army. He is an austere, ambitious man driven to become central Europe’s most powerful warlord and to found a new dynasty, even if these goals require him to rebel against Ferdinand, the Hapsberg emperor, and to plunge the entire continent into civil war. But it is Wallenstein’s amoral and deterministic philosophy that leads him to make the mistakes which end in his downfall. The play made a massive impression throughout Germany. Until then, German literature could not boast of a drama of such magnitude, depth, sweep and excellence.

Following Wallenstein, Schiller chose another historical subject, the three days preceding the execution of Mary Stuart, Queen of Scots, in 1587. Maria Stuart, first performed in 1800, begins when Maria learns that the royal commission appointed by Queen Elisabeth I has found her guilty of conspiring with others to assassinate the English queen. While Elisabeth procrastinates in signing the order of execution, Maria frantically tries to avert her fate.

“The historical events provide the background for a story about rage, crime, remorse and spiritual rebirth,” according to the Encyclopedia of World Biography. “In the first four acts, Maria is not a heroine with whom audiences are expected to sympathize. She is a petty, vain and insulting woman consumed by her hatred of Elisabeth. Because of the many crimes of her youth, especially her complicity in the murder of her husband, Lord Darnley, Maria’s rage contains a quotient of self-condemnation; it is this remorse that eventually leads to her spiritual regeneration. One of Schiller’s primary principles concerning the human condition, propounded in his theoretical writings of the sublime act, holds that a person who regrets a crime can regain peace of mind through voluntary self-punishment. The suffering brings about a change in character which amounts to a spiritual rebirth.”

For the subject of his next play, Schiller turned to the Joan of Arc legend with The Maid of Orleans, a historical tragedy. In the play, Joan is about to kill an English knight when, on removing his helmet, she at once falls in love with him, and spares him. Blaming herself for what she regards as a betrayal of her mission, then, when at Rheims she is publicly accused of sorcery, she refuses to defend herself, is assumed to be guilty, and dismissed from the French court and army. Captured by the English, she witnesses from her prison cell a battle in which the French are being decisively defeated, breaks her bonds, and dashes out to save the day. She dies as victory is won, her honor and her reputation both restored.

The drama was largely responsible for overturning the prevailing notion – propounded in Voltaire’s La Pucelk - that Joan of Arc was a charismatic charlatan. That Joan of Arc was finally canonized in 1920 can be traced directly back to Schiller’s drama.

In 1804, Schiller wrote Wilhelm Tell, his most widely known drama outside Germany. Few people have not heard the legend of how Gebler, the cruel Austrian governor of the Cantons Schwyz and Uri, places his hat atop a pole and commands the people to bow to it. Tell, a manly hero, does not bow and as punishment must shoot an arrow through an apple atop his son’s head. Gebler arrests Tell by trickery, but Tell escapes from the prison ship and slays the tyrant.

“The play dramatizes Schiller’s thoughts on revolution (when it is justified, and that force should be applied without bloodshed) and his theory of social evolution,” according to the Encyclopedia of World Biography. “In the figure of Wilhelm Tell, he demonstrates how an individual, and by extension humanity, might progress from a naïve state of oneness with nature through the moral state to the aesthetic state.”

For his next play, Schiller turned to the life of Demetrius, the false czar. From the many fragments and notes he left behind, it is possible to say that the work promised to be his crowning achievement, but he was unable to complete it. Early in 1805, his health began a rapid deterioration. On May 1, he contracted double pneumonia. Until his death on May 9, 1805 at age 45, he drifted in and out of delirium. Among his last words, spoken in hallucination, were: “Is that your heaven, is that your hell?” Schiller was buried in the St. Jakobskirche cemetery in Weimar. From there, he remains were removed to the Weimar Prince’s Mausoleum. His coffin lies next to Goethe.

Today, scholars agree the influence of Schiller’s writings has been profound and far-reaching. The psychologist Carl Gustav Jung, for example, devotes two chapters of his 1921 book – Psychological Types – to a discussion of Schiller’s writings. Friedrich Nietzsche’s distinction between the Apollonian and the Dionysian can be traced to Schiller’s work. In aesthetics, Georg Wilhelm Friedrich Hegel’s Phenomenology of Spirit in 1807 was deeply indebted to Schiller on the crucial point of the dialectical reconciliation of opposites and the dynamic concept of harmony. Schiller’s life and work continue to be studied and analyzed with an intensity accorded those of few other writers. Books, essays and articles about one of Europe's greatest writers number in the thousands and fill the shelves of university libraries. Schiller’s art, with its unambiguous moral issues, enthusiastic optimism and noble idealism, has appealed with peculiar force down through the centuries.

“It is surely no exaggeration to state that never before – and never since – in the history of Western civilization has a writer been so passionately and fervently honored in his own country – and by the German population of this country, too – as was Schiller in 1859 (on the 100th anniversary of his birth),” wrote University of Texas
Department of Germanic Languages Professor Oskar Seidlin in a 1960 essay, “Schiller: Poet of Politics.” “Again, a touching, a heart-warming spectacle: a man of letters who, though beset by incessant illness and poverty during a short life of barely 46 years, had produced a body of uncompromisingly serious plays, of sophisticated esthetic and philosophical essays, of high-flown poems and ambitious historical writings, assumes 54 years after his premature death the status of a popular hero, and is
accorded the accolades of veneration which a nation generally reserves for the powerful and mighty….”

The 250th anniversary of Schiller’s birth was also met with great celebration in Europe. This included the newly reopened Schiller National Museum in Marbach, his birthplace. The museums contains more than 700 exhibits, including a sample of the green wallpaper in his workroom that scientists have discovered contained lead, copper and arsenic that might have contributed to his chronic lung problems and premature death.

A film, Schiller, new biographies – Schiller: Rebel from Arcadia and Goethe and Schiller: History of a Friendship – and a Schiller rock opera marked the 250th anniversary of the birth of a writer the London Guardian called the “passionate ‘Ode to Joy’ poet” and Germany’s “most famous Romantic thinker.”

During the celebration in 2009, a European television station described the “passionate nonconformist” as the “rock star” of his time.

“Schiller is definitely a rebel and rock n’ roll is rebellious,” says German rock star Wolf Maahn, who played Schiller in the rock opera, “The Song of Schiller’s Bell.” “Rock n’ roll is a cry for freedom. It always has been. It’s a love of life and a cry for freedom. And Schiller was definitely someone who had a certain righteous anger at the petrified structures of his time.”

Compiled and edited by Troy Anderson

Sources: Encyclopedia of World Biography, London Guardian, Encyclopaedia Britannica, Wikipedia, Deutsche Well TV, Grand Rapids Press and various cited essays.

"I remember reading Schiller in college German. He is a rock star in Europe but largely overlooked here. It's fitting for you to give your great-plus grandpa some press!"
Don Baumann,
Troy Anderson's 7th grade English teacher

Share This