Masaryk university of brno faculty of education

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Introduction to Amadeus

This part conducts research into the personal characteristics of the main protagonists Salieri and Mozart, their attitudes and thoughts within a perception of their social and cultural background. It also comprises the author’s fictional personal view on the historical events.

The Peter Shaffer’s play Amadeus is primarily an extraordinary look into the mind of the Viennese Court composer Antonio Salieri. Although, the masterpiece is titled after the Salzburg born composer Wolfgang Mozart, it is a character of Salieri who guides the reader or spectator throughout the play. It reveals the diametrical difference in both protagonists’ personalities, their lifestyle, sense for responsibility and the rivalry of two composers.

Subconsciously, the play can serve as a guideline to understand and evaluate the time of the social and philosophical changes coming up with the movement of Enlightenment that had shaken the structure of well-established sets of rules.

This is achieved by imposing the non-conform, distracted manners of Mozart’s character that, under the ponderousness of given circumstances, intrude the established etiquette. Mozart represents the undermining of this etiquette on one hand and conservative Salieri absolute rejection of such a destruction of orders on the other. What’s more, the thick walls of pomposity are being cracked by an exceptionally talented but annoyingly childish individual, which is regarded as something utterly unacceptable. To understand better the message of this Shaffer’s play, it is necessary to look closer into the protagonists’ characteristics, their mental transformations towards the end of the play and distinguish between the author’s fiction and reality.

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