"> Name: Friedrich von Schiller's Wilhelm Tell

Date:  1800 - 1850

Location:  Europe

SubjectPolitical/Economic/Social Opinion


Artist: Friedrich von Schiller

Confronting Bodies: Various political leaders and state-employed Intendants of the theater.

Date of Action: 1804 and onward

Specific Location: Germany

Description of Artwork: "Wilhelm Tell" is a play about the legend of Whilhelm Tell, an expert marksman who eventually kills a tyrannical emperor for treating him unjustly.

Description of Incident: While there is no one specific incident of the play's banning that stands out, it has been cut and pulled many times for bringing up the issue of tyrannicide. Even in the play's first performance, the entire fifth act needed to be cut because the tsar's daughter was in the audience and could not witness an emperors assassination. The King of Prussia had the play banned because the hero was "unsympathetic." The Nazis later praised the play as a symbol of German national identity, but had it banned in 1941, when Hitler became more paranoid.

Results of Incident: The play continued to be banned by politicians or governments that found it dangerous. In 1989 it was banned in East Germany, but was reinstated when the regime fell.

Source: Censorship: A World Encyclopedia. Ed. Derek Jones. Chicago; London: Fitzroy Dearborn, 2001.

Submitted By: NCAC

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