Appearance vs. reality in Peter Shaffer's Amadeus - Essay Example

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Appearance vs. reality in Peter Shaffer's Amadeus

The play is gripping as it opens with Salieri as an old man – a man who is finally ready to admit to his heinous crime of poisoning a composer whose compositions were touched with the element of the divine. An old man on a wheelchair, wheezing his way through his words, as he pulls the viewer back into the historical past to reveal his motivation for his crime, trying to convince a future audience why the crime had to be committed (Shaffer 21). A man who tried to mock God; only God would not be mocked, as evidenced in Salieri’s anguished cries of “Forgive me Amadeus.” The structure of the play is based upon conflicts – Salieri’s mediocrity versus Mozart’s genius, Salieri’s sobriety and respectability verses Mozart’s mad obscenity and passion (Huber and Zapf 299-313). It is Salieri who adores music and is able to appreciate it; who earnestly seeks genius and who prays to God to bless him with the gift of composition. But God chooses as his vessel, Mozart - whom Salieri refers to as that “spiteful, sniggering, conceited, infantine Mozart" (Shaffer), while he himself remains the “patron saint of mediocrity”. Salieri’s first encounter with Mozart reveals his genius and he describes the music to the audience – lost in its beauty. The exquisite talent sends him raging over to God, bitter and angry, seething with jealousy, his earnest devotion transformed in a flash into a murderous rage that makes him burn the cross he has worshipped for so long. ...
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Summary

“When Mozart was dying; he claimed he’s been poisoned; some said he accused a man some said that man was Salieri; but no one believed it” (Shaffer 14). No one believed it. This is the underlying subtext of the entire play Amadeus by Peter Shaffer. …
Author : emmykessler
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