The Piccolomini

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Title: The Piccolomini
Genus: A dramatic poem in five acts
Original language: German
Author: Friedrich Schiller
Publishing year: 1799
Premiere: January 30, 1799
Place of premiere: Weimar Court Theater , Weimar
  • Wallenstein , Duke of Friedland, Imperial Generalissimo in the Thirty Years' War
  • Octavio Piccolomini , Lieutenant General
  • Max Piccolomini , his son, a colonel in a cuirassier regiment
  • Count Terzky , Wallenstein's brother-in-law, chief of several regiments
  • Illo , Field Marshal, Wallenstein's confidante
  • Isolani , general of the Croatians
  • Butler , chief of a dragoon regiment
  • Generals under Wallenstein:
  • Rittmeister Neumann , Terzky's adjutant
  • Questenberg Council of War , sent by the Emperor
  • Baptista Seni , astrologer
  • Duchess of Friedland , Wallenstein's wife Maria Elisabeth (historical: Isabella Katharina, née Countess von Harrach )
  • Thekla , Princess of Friedland, her daughter (historical: Maria Elisabeth)
  • Countess Terzky , the Duchess sister, (historical: Maximiliane Countess Trčka von Lípa, née Countess von Harrach)
  • A cornet
  • Count Terzky's cellar master
  • Friedland pages and servants
  • Terzky servants and hoboists
  • Several colonels and generals

The Piccolomini is the second part of Friedrich Schiller's Wallenstein trilogy , the drama about the decline of the famous general Wallenstein . A general introduction and a brief summary of the entire trilogy can be found in the corresponding article.

Unlike the first part, “Die Piccolomini” is five acts long and written in blank verse . After the rather introductory first part, the main story begins here, which mainly takes place among the troop leaders of Wallenstein's army and his family. They meet near Wallenstein in Pilsen in 1634, in the middle of the Thirty Years' War .

First elevator

The first act takes place in Pilsen, where Wallenstein is staying with his army. In the town hall: Field Marshal Illo , a confidante of Wallenstein, receives two troop leaders: the Croatian general Isolani and Buttler , the head of a dragoon unit. The play begins with Illo's words of welcome to Isolani, which have become popular words: “You're coming late - but you're coming!” Illo says that thirty regiments have now gathered in Wallenstein's camp. In addition, Max Piccolomini , colonel of a regiment, was bringing Wallenstein's wife, the Duchess of Friedland, and his daughter Thekla to the camp. Isolani remembers joint battles with Max and praises him as a hero. Buttler reports that Gallas , another regimental leader who actually reports to Wallenstein's troops, had tried to persuade him to stay away from Wallenstein.

Illo and Isolani congratulate Buttler on a promotion they have just arranged. He hesitates to accept the congratulations as the emperor's final confirmation is still missing (meaning Ferdinand II ). But Illo and Isolani think that Wallenstein's word alone would be enough. Illo calls Wallenstein a soldier's helper. All express the wish that Wallenstein should not follow the new demands of the emperor , otherwise they would be ruined. You are alluding to the order to cede part of Wallenstein's troops to Spanish allies of the emperor, mentioned at the end of “ Wallenstein's camp ”.

Now Octavio Piccolomini , father of Max Piccolomini and lieutenant general, joins Wallenstein's troop. He accompanied the emperor's envoy Questenberg through the camp. Questenberg speaks of the fact that the army, which has grown considerably, must be restricted again because it is no longer needed. While farmers bring new money into the state treasury, soldiers only use up money. Wallenstein helps the army a lot but not the country. Illo, Isolani and Buttler react to Questenberg from reserve to hostility. They remind him that Questenberg had pleaded with Wallenstein on his last visit to lead the army and that he should now be deposed. But only Wallenstein could control this army. The soldiers usually do not care about their leader, only Wallenstein managed to unite them all and gain respect for the army. There is open hostility between Wallenstein's subordinates and Questenberg. Only Octavio tries to calm everyone down. He apologizes for criticizing the soldiers with the rough nature of the army.

When the camp guards announce the arrival of Max with the Duchess and Thekla, Isolani, Illo and Buttler go out to greet them. Questenberg expressed concern to Octavio about the soldiers' anti-Kaiser sentiments. Octavio says the whole army thinks that way. But he thinks that at least Buttler could still switch to the imperial side. It turns out that Octavio is a secret agent of the emperor who is supposed to spy on Wallenstein. However, he has not yet let his own son Max in on his assignment, as he is too honest for such confidential missions. He emphasizes his closeness to Wallenstein, who, for reasons inexplicable, made him his confidante. Octavio suspects that Wallenstein brought his wife and daughter into the camp so that the emperor could not use them as leverage in the event of a conflict.

Now Octavio's son Max appears. He too is hostile to the emperor's envoy Questenberg. He says that the emperor shouldn't get upset about Wallenstein's stubbornness, since something like that belongs to a strong general. For great deeds you have to break old rules. Octavio defends these old rules, since only through them can peace arise. Max emphasizes how much he wants peace, since only then can the soul develop freely. But he blames the emperor for the war and clearly acknowledges Wallenstein. Max says he would die for Wallenstein too. After Max left, Octavio is also concerned: He suspects that Wallenstein intentionally sent his son to bring Wallenstein's daughter Thekla to the camp. That was a trap. What this trap consists of is not stated.

second elevator

Under the guidance of Wallenstein's astrologer Seni , a room is prepared for a meeting according to superstitious rules. Wallenstein's superstitions are already referred to in “ Wallenstein's camp ”. Wallenstein and his wife, the Duchess, enter the room. Wallenstein had the Duchess brought to the camp because he wanted to present her daughter Thekla to her future fiancé. The Duchess tells of the mood at the emperor's court: Wallenstein is losing his advocate there, and there is even talk of a possible successor. She asks her husband to obey the emperor. It is mentioned that Wallenstein has often violated his orders. Wallenstein says they can no longer trust the Kaiser.

Now he receives his daughter, whom he has not seen for eight years because of the war. She is accompanied by Countess Terzky , his wife's sister. Wallenstein mentions that he has no successor and that his inheritance will pass to his daughter. Max also comes and promises the Duchess that she will always serve her husband faithfully. He says that Max is always a pleasure for him.

Wallenstein received a few letters from Terzky , the husband of his wife's sister and head of several regiments in Wallenstein's army. When he reads it, he becomes noticeably thoughtful. Terzky and Wallenstein talk alone. In one of the letters Gallas announced that he would be leaving the army. Terzky urges to act quickly, since otherwise even more troop leaders would turn away from them. From their conversation we learn that Wallenstein is conducting secret negotiations with the Swedes, the enemies of their emperor. But they are slowly getting impatient as there are still no results. Terzky accuses Wallenstein of not saying openly what he thinks and not only playing something to his enemies, but also to his friends. He calls for an end to the war without liberating Germany from the Swedes. Wallenstein rejects this: he absolutely wants to liberate Germany and be celebrated as its savior.

Now Illo comes in. He has spread the news of the new imperial orders among the soldiers to create an anti-imperial mood. The success of this trick is described at the end of Wallenstein's camp . Illo says that Wallenstein has all the soldiers on his side if he can also insure the Piccolomini. He himself distrusted Octavio Piccolomini. But Wallenstein expressed his full confidence in Octavio.

Illo also spied on Questenberg, but apart from Octavio he had no contact with any man in the camp. He calls on Wallenstein to take action and officially run against the emperor. But Wallenstein still wants to wait. He justifies this with the sign of the zodiac: They would direct people's fate, which is why they would show him the right time. Wallenstein wants Illo and Terzky to get him an oath from all troop leaders. In this declaration they should swear unconditional loyalty to him - also in the event that he acts against the emperor.

After this conversation, the generals meet with Wallenstein to officially listen to the Emperor's orders, presented by Questenberg. He made two demands: Wallenstein should set out with his troops immediately and liberate Regensburg. The generals reject this, as it would damage the troops in winter. In addition, eight regiments of the army are to be attached to the Spanish allies.

Wallenstein reacts very coolly and confidently. He suspects a maneuver behind the second demand: the emperor wants to circumvent the agreement that all German troops must be subordinate to Wallenstein by sending some to the Spanish troops. The goal is the weakening and ultimately the removal of Wallenstein. That's why he wanted to give up command of the imperial army immediately. The generals are shocked to this announcement and Max asks Wallenstein to wait until the generals have discussed this decision. When the meeting is over, some commanders come and swear allegiance to Wallenstein.

third elevator

Terzky and Illo consider how they can get the required unconditional oath of loyalty from the troop leaders. Before a celebration they want to read out a document in which Wallenstein is sworn allegiance, but only as long as the duties to the emperor permit. After the celebration, they want everyone to sign a copy of the oath, although the restrictive clause is missing. The soldiers should not notice this in their intoxicated state. Both are convinced that Wallenstein will direct the troops without any problems if he is sure of the trust of the troop leaders.

Terzky meets with his wife, the countess. Terzky tells her how important Max's signature is under the oath. The Countess should "warm up Max's head" for this, through Wallenstein's daughter Thekla. The countess thinks that this is also Wallenstein's intention, which is why he sent Max to accompany Thekla to the camp. At first the countess meets with Max alone. She promised him a meeting with Thekla. First of all, she obliges him to keep quiet - also towards Wallenstein. Max tells the Countess that he and Thekla confessed their love to each other on the trip to Wallenstein's camp. After all, this is added by itself. She reports that her mother, the duchess, is desperate because Wallenstein does not want to obey the emperor. They also talk about Wallenstein's superstition in astrology, which Max defends: Love, too, is a gift from the stars.

The countess leaves them. Thekla warns Max about her and says that they shouldn't trust anyone. She also rejects Max's proposal to initiate Wallenstein or his wife in their love. Then Countess Terzky comes back and picks up Max, because he is expected by the other troop leaders. Afterwards, she also talks to Thekla alone and warns her not to forget her status and to surrender to Max, which her father Wallenstein will never allow anyway. Thekla, however, wants to assert her love and even speaks of contradicting Wallenstein if necessary. Max is not officially of the same class, but his manner makes him equal.

Fourth elevator

Max is the last to come to the troop leaders' party, but Wallenstein does not attend. Isolani and Illo receive him and show him the declaration in which everyone present should swear allegiance to Wallenstein. In the version shown, this loyalty is expressly restricted by the oath to their emperor. After Max has read the declaration, Neumann , Terzky's adjutant , brings a copy without this restrictive clause. The selected original is secretly burned. Illo says that with the exception of Octavio Piccolomini, everyone signed the forged version voluntarily. Buttler comes to Illo and Terzky and confirms this: he has noticed the plan, but always wants to fight for Wallenstein anyway. He also wanted to use this as a possible heir, since Buttler himself had no descendants.

The atmosphere at the festival is very lively. One hears declarations of loyalty to Wallenstein and disparaging words about the emperor and the church. Two servants overhear this on behalf of a priest. The cellar master criticizes the behavior of the soldiers, who would behave as if they belonged to higher classes. On the orders of the guests, he has to bring them a goblet to drink, which was specially made for the coronation of their emperor. At the end of the celebration, many of the troop leaders are drunk. Most sign the amended version of the oath without wanting to read it again. Octavio Piccolomini is not drunk and skimmed the statement, but signed anyway. Max is not drunk either, he seems completely absent. His father Octavio noticed that he only came later and that Terzky was not surprised about his absence, so he apparently knew where Max was.

While counting the signatures, Terzky notices that Max has not yet signed. He refuses to do it because he is not in the mood for business. Illo is already completely "blue" and wants to drink brotherhood with Octavio. When he notices that Max hasn't signed, he tries to get him to sign. He very publicly mentions the secretly removed clause. Some of the troop leaders still present have also noticed this, but are not bothered by it. When Max still does not sign, Illo angrily calls him a " Judas " and threatens him with a dagger, but is immediately disarmed. Max leaves the party without a signature.

Fifth elevator

Octavio Piccolomini meets with his son Max in their apartment. Octavio has decided to initiate Max in the secret mission of the emperor, since he has noticed that Max is also hiding something from him (namely his love for Wallenstein's daughter Thekla). He shows his son a letter from the emperor: Wallenstein is declared outlawed and the command of the Wallenstein army is transferred to himself, Octavio Piccolomini. He did not want to use this power of attorney until Wallenstein clearly turned against the emperor. Octavio explains that it is Wallenstein's plan to ally with the Swedes against Ferdinand II. Wallenstein himself told him that.

Max doesn't believe him. He is also sure that the fraud with the clause loyal to the emperor at the festival happened without Wallenstein's knowledge. A messenger interrupts the conversation and brings Octavio the news: Wallenstein's secret negotiator had been captured by soldiers loyal to the Emperor on the way to the Swedes. Letters to the Swedes were found in his luggage, but not signed by Wallenstein himself, but only by his brother-in-law Terzky. The negotiator would now be sent to Vienna to induce him to accuse Wallenstein.

Max then wants to go to Wallenstein immediately. He was not ready to help in an intrigue, instead he wanted to hear Wallenstein's true plans. He also speaks of revealing Octavio's secret and opposing him if Wallenstein is right.