Luther

Definition

Theater

  • John Osborne's powerful drama about the German Protestantreformer Martin Luther (1483 - 1546). It was first performed in1961 by the English Stage Company at Nottingham's Theatre Royal, withAlbert Finney in the title role. In his depiction of this 'angry youngman' of the Church, Osborne concentrated on Luther's psychologicaland physical struggles (including his constipation), rather than onthe theological issues. The dialogue makes use of many of Luther'sown words.

    The story begins with Luther joining the Augustinian Orderafter experiencing a religious vision that he will later come to doubt.His questioning of Church dogma leads to the decisive moment whenhe nails the 95 theses to the church door in Wittenberg. Refusingto recant, he is excommunicated but continues to denounce such practicesas the sale of indulgences. Although he receives sympathy and recognitionfrom some Church officials and support from his wife, Osborne's Lutherremains consumed by self-doubt.

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