Götz von Berlichingen



  • The first play by Johann Wolfgang von Goethe, historicallyimportant as the first German drama to be influenced by Shakespeare.Goethe wrote the play shortly after seeing several Shakespeare playsperformed in Strasbourg in 1770. It was first produced in 1773 inBerlin by Friedrich Schröder's company.

    The play gives a melodramatic picture of the life of the medievalrobber baron Gottfriedens von Berlichingen (1480 - 1562), whois idealized by Goethe as a just man in rebellion against tyranny.It did much to inspire the developing Sturm und Drang movement,and to end the era of French classical domination of the German stage.The play was widely imitated by other German playwrights, includingFriedrich von Schiller, who followed nine years later withhis equally intense and bloody Die Räuber (The Robbers).

    The historical Götz was known as Iron Hand after losinghis right hand at the siege of Landshut (1505) and having one madeof steel to replace it. Goethe's play was translated and adapted byJohn Arden as Iron Hand (1965).