1887
Literary Linguistics
  • ISSN 2210-4119
  • E-ISSN: 2210-4127
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Abstract

This paper is an interdisciplinary analysis of Friedrich Schiller’s play Wilhelm Tell (1804). An initial study of its dramatic structure suggests a change in the relationship between the Swiss peasants and nobles. A further analysis, based on Brown’s and Levinson’s politeness theory confirms the development of a social utopia in the play, but also reveals that Wilhelm Tell plays a minor role in the social development described. The comparison of the play with earlier versions of the Tell legend highlights the roles of peasants and nobles in the establishment of the Swiss Confederation and suggests that Schiller elaborated extensively on the idea of a ‘common ground’ among the Swiss from different classes. The comparison between Schiller’s play and the contemporary German philosopher Johann Benjamin Erhard’s essay Über das Recht des Volks zu einer Revolution illustrates that Schiller’s social utopia develops in accordance with contemporary social visions. However, Tell’s act of murder separates him from the other Swiss protagonists in Schiller’s attempt to outline a righteous revolution, different from the one in France.

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/content/journals/10.1075/ld.3.1.03bjo
2013-01-01
2019-08-21
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References

http://instance.metastore.ingenta.com/content/journals/10.1075/ld.3.1.03bjo
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  • Article Type: Research Article
Keyword(s): dialogue analysis , natural law theory , politeness , social distance , Swiss Confederation and Tell legend
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