The fair at Plundersweilern

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Title: The fair at Plundersweilern
Genus: Sway
Original language: German
Author: Johann Wolfgang Goethe
Publishing year: 1789
Premiere: October 20, 1778
Place of premiere: Ettersburg Castle
  • Barkers
  • doctor
  • Servant
  • Tyrolean
  • Farmer
  • Nuremberg
  • young lady
  • Tyrolean
  • Car lubricator
  • governess
  • Gingerbread girl
  • Pastor
  • Gypsy captain
  • Gypsy boy
  • Bailiff
  • Bailiff
  • Bailiff
  • Marmotte
  • Trembling boy
  • Light cleaner
  • Pork butcher
  • Ox dealer
  • Hanswurst
  • Hamann
  • Ahasuerus
  • Milkmaid
  • Mardochai
  • Esther
  • Shadow playman

The Plundersweilern fair is a swank by Johann Wolfgang Goethe . The first version was created in 1773, the second in 1778. The piece was premiered on October 20, 1778 at Ettersburg Castle . Goethe himself played the barkeeper, Haman and Mardochai. In 1789 the second version was available in print.


Georg Melchior Kraus : The latest from Plundersweilers

The fair

The fun fair in Plundersweilern is colorful. Almost everyone wants to sell - the barkeeper, the Tyrolean, the Tyrolean woman, the farmer, the pork butcher, the ox dealer , the Nuremberg man, the wagon smearer and the gingerbread girl . But the visitors, like the doctor, the servant, the young lady, the governess, the pastor, the bailiff and wife, don't just want to buy, they want to have fun on the side. There is enough entertainment. There are originals to watch - the gypsy captain and his boy, the zither boy, a boy named Marmotte, the light cleaner and the buffoon . Comedians are there who perform a Historia by Esther in Drama . Music sounds. Finally, the shadow play man makes his appearance. With concise words he recites the entire story of creation . By the way - a fair!

The Esther game

The following summary relates to the second version. In the version from 1773, the Esther game is much shorter and has little reference to the original story presented in the Book of Esther :

Haman , a favorite of the Persian king Ahasuerus , is feared by most in the kingdom and looks down before him. Only Mardochai makes an exception. He looks the upstart straight in the face. Haman is very displeased with this and leads the king to believe that the Jews have conspired against him. Thereby he causes Mardochai, the richest of them, to be hanged. The gallows is ready.

Mardochai sees another chance. He is a close relative of Queen Esther and even adopted her as a child years ago and raised her. So he steps up to her and she inquires

What's up?
U hu hu, I'm supposed to hang out tonight!

he wails and begs that she should go to her royal husband and stand up for him. Esther sees no possibility, because

If someone comes unsolicited to the king's face,
You know death is on it!

Mardochai continues to moan and whine for his life.

Keep my gray head, money, children, wife and honor!

Esther would like to

With all my heart, if only it wasn't so dangerous.

Mardochai paints Esther like him, hanging on the gallows,

A nasty raven people who will nibble on beautiful fat.

He shouldn't worry about that, Esther soothes him:

So you shouldn't hang on to the gallows for long;
And splendidly embalmed with painful pain,
I bury your bones, as it should be.

The queen knows what is proper. Mardochai doesn't give up. He reminds Esther of his generous nature when it came to helping her financially. That would be over in his death. Esther knows the way out.

Think about me in the end
With a capital in your will.

Between the two scenes it was announced that

at last Haman hanged appear
To the warning and horror of the whole community ,

but what is not fulfilled: The Historia of Esther in Drama ends with Esther's undecided departure.

The book of Esther

The Book of Esther in the Old Testament tells how it continues in the Mardochai case . Queen Esther dares to go to her strict King Ahasuerus. Contrary to expectations, the ruler receives the wife with full grace. The queen gets everything she wants from him. The vile Haman now has to go to the gallows. Mardochai rises inexorably in the king's favor.

Effect and reception

In 1973 Peter Hacks edited the second version of the fair . What was originally intended only as an arrangement for the stage, became an independent piece during the work: A collecting lens of human behavior, and in this respect again an approximation of the 1st version of Goethean piece, which, according to Hacks, the "ridiculous struggle of depraved enlightenment with rotten sensitivity “show. One by Anna Amalia von Weimar and Carl Friedrich Sigismund von Seckendorf . set to music was premiered in Weimar in 1778.

The song Marmotte by Ludwig van Beethoven ( Opus 52 No. 7 ) sets a text by the figure of the same name from the 2nd version; It was, among others, Ernst Busch , Liederjan and wisps gecovert .

In the German edition of the Encyclopedia Judaica from 1931, the treatment of the Esther material is referred to as “ burlesque ”, but is sometimes also considered evidence of Goethe's literary anti-Semitism .

The piece was also reviewed by Richard Maria Werner .


“Your intention to bring one of my old antics to the big theater is very honorable to me, although I can't agree with it right away. If I were lucky enough to live next to you, it should soon be done; but I should like to point out that the Plundersweilern fair was set up in a small space and that the details seemed very happy in a great abundance. If it were moved to a larger room, it would have to be furnished much more richly. "

- Goethe's letter to Carl Friedrich Moritz Paul Graf Brühl ( Iffland's successor in Berlin) from 1825


  • Johann Wolfgang von Goethe: The fair to Plundersweilers. In: Writings. Volume 8, Göschen, Leipzig 1789, pp. 7-90.
  • Johann Wolfgang von Goethe: The fair to Plundersweilern. A Schönbart game. Second version. In: Poetic Works. Volume 3, Phaidon, Essen 1999, ISBN 3-89350-448-6 , pp. 487-503.


radio play

  • The fair at Plundersweilern . GDR 1982. Composition: Reiner Bredemeyer , director: Werner Grunow.



Web links


  1. Wayne M. Senner, Robin Wallace, William Meredith: The Critical Reception of Beethoven's Compositions by His German Contemporaries. Vol. 1, University of Nebraska Press, Lincoln et al. London 1999, ISBN 0-8032-1250-X , p. 227 (footnote).
  2. Goldstück ( Memento of the original from August 9, 2017 in the Internet Archive ) Info: The archive link was automatically inserted and not yet checked. Please check the original and archive link according to the instructions and then remove this notice. on  @1@ 2Template: Webachiv / IABot /
  3. How anti-Semitic was Goethe actually? In: haGalil , March 24, 2014
  4. Werner: Fair to Plundersweilern . Goethe-Jahrbuch , Volume 1 (1880), pp. 174-185 ( digitized version ).
  5. Schönbartspiel = mask game , von Schönbart = mask (with beard), see German dictionary by Jacob Grimm and Wilhelm Grimm , Vol. 15, Sp. 1486–1489.
  6. a b Galerie Pich presents: Ensemble PleinAir. Archived from the original on January 14, 2006 ; accessed on March 18, 2020 .
  7. a b Martin Rupprecht: Martin Rupprecht: Bühnen Bilder . Ed .: Werner Heegewaldt, Peter W. Marx. Theater der Zeit, Berlin 2018, ISBN 978-3-95749-139-8 , p. 236 .