Florian Geyer (drama, 1896)

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Florian Geyer is a historical revolutionary drama in five acts by the German Nobel Prize winner for literature Gerhart Hauptmann , which was written from May 24, 1894 to 1895 - the author wrote over a thousand pages in a good year - and on January 4, 1896 in Deutsches Theater Berlin was premiered.

The drama "thematizes ... the liberal tendencies of the Reformation age and was obviously planned by the author as a contribution to the liberalization of" German intellectual life "."

Rudolf Rittner in the title role of Florian Geyer , painting by Lovis Corinth , 1906


act Place of action Page in the output used
foreplay Castle of our women mountain near Würzburg 543
1 New Munster Wuerzburg 562
2 Gasthaus Kratzer Rothenburg 594
3 Schweinfurt town hall 622
4th Kratzer Rothenburg hostel 643
5 Rimpar Castle 664

The plot of the play begins at the beginning of May 1525 and ends with the death of the titular hero on June 10, 1525. First of all, the personnel in the prelude can be easily distinguished. The noble lords mainly belong to the opposing party Florian Geyers . Then penetrating the late medieval world is made difficult by the confusing variety of figures. A clear entry point offers a look at Geyer's bitter opposition at the end of the peasant war drama: Florian Geyer - on the run - is hidden in his castle by his brother-in-law Wilhelm von Grumbach . Some of his enemies, like Lorenz von Hutten , Count Wolf von Kastell , Kunz von der Mühlen, Thomas von Hartheim, Thomas Schertlin and the Schäferhans, follow the tired man. Gerhart Hauptmann lets most of the aforementioned opponents appear beforehand - scattered throughout the theater.



The clerk Gilgenessig reads out the Twelve Articles of the Peasants . He is always interrupted by the knights present who are not sensitive in their choice of words. The aristocrats present do not unanimously vilify the riot. For example Wolf von Hanstein commemorates the farmers who were killed by Truchseß and their leader, the pious preacher Jakob Wehe zu Leipheim . The highlight was the appearance of Bishop Konrad von Würzburg and his court master Sebastian von Rotenhahn . The bishop sums up what happened to his loyal followers, that is the uprising of the peasants in March 1525 in the bishopric ; mentions the negotiations between the princes and Margrave Kasimir in Neuenstadt and complains: "Of all my principality and lands I have nothing left but this one castle, and I have to move from there now." That is not all that bad, says von Rotenhahn. A siege of the castle by the peasants could be the occupation for at least “two months”. Kunz von der Mühlen wants to "beat Florian Geyer into a mouse hole". Wolf von Hanstein can not apply: "The Florian Geyer is so honest a knight and Reuter of nobility as any in the country to Swiss francs ." The garrison commander Markgraf Friedrich finished the back and forth of opinions with a Power Word: Who wants to go to now walk. He now wants to “close the castle and send it to defense”.


Farmer leader Wendel Hippler negotiates with the representatives of the Bishop of Würzburg. If the viewer now believes that the play is about the four-week siege of the Würzburg Fortress, they are wrong. The next act takes place at the foot of the castle in Neumünster in Würzburg. Florian Geyer admonishes the leaders of the aggressive army in the Würzburg "Assembly Council of all the common peasantry" to be prudent: Before storming the fortress, it is imperative to wait until the "wall-breaking gun" has been carted off. But in the next act the viewer finds the title hero in Rothenburg.


Florian Geyer, more of a military advisor to the fighting peasant troops than their fighting leader, goes to Rothenburg as negotiator for the Würzburg “peasant war council”. There he is waiting for an envoy from the Margrave Casimir mentioned above. He waits in vain. While waiting, people talk about God and the world. Karlstatt , for example, exchanges ideas with Florian Geyer about Luther . Gerhart Hauptmann usually branded the “furious bull of Wittenberg ” as a narrow-minded critic of the value-creating peasant class.

The shepherd calls the rebellious peasants his brothers, against whom he does not want to stand. As it turns out, this is hypocritical. At the end of the play, the shepherd shoots Florian Geyer with the crossbow because he is after the bounty of a hundred florins promised by Truchseß .

Bad news comes from Böblingen . And in Würzburg the farmers were defeated when attacking the Würzburg Castle. Florian Geyer goes to Ansbach .


Until Florian Geyer's arrival, the farmers' leaders in Schweinfurt blame each other for the defeat in Würzburg. For example, the farmer's leader, Pastor Bubenleben, claims that he did not send Florian Geyer to Rothenburg.

Florian Geyer appears and goes to court with his leaders, whom he had left behind in Würzburg and now finds in Schweinfurt. He used swear words for the losers who couldn't wait for the guns. The contradiction of the scolded gradually waned until the farmer leader Jacob Kohl meekly interjects that he wanted to “be honest. Ride, fight and die with you [with Florian Geyer]. "


Rothenburg citizens talk at Pentecost, according to reports, Florian Geyer is gathering surviving fighters in Brettheim . With a wound on his leg, Karlstatt was able to escape the Würzburg slaughter, dragged himself to Rothenburg and asks the citizens for bread and water. He wants to leave this "poor, god-cursed country" and go to Switzerland . The landlord brings the wounded food and drink.

Florian Geyer appears. He had "served a divine cause" and wanted to stay in the country. His wife and child were waiting for him in Rimpar, although his wife had written to him to look after his little child, but he wanted to fight and cheered his people up: “Funny, brothers! Why shouldn't we be funny? "

The army of the peasants lost their penultimate battle against the Truchseß near Koenigshofen . Florian Geyer goes into the final battle; fights in the "Schlößlein zu Ingolstadt ".


The knight Wilhelm von Grumbach would be scolded today as a turning neck. In the second act he had begged a letter of protection and security from Lorenz Löffelholz, Florian Geyer's field clerk. Spoon wood had commented that the nobles sought "their advantage as the ravens fly for carrion". The knight had "the peasant cross on his arm" and now he is pounding the advancing pursuers of the brother-in-law. After all, he hides Florian Geyer in his castle and bravely gives the search party evasive answers to their insistent questions. His wife is even more deficient in character than Wilhelm von Grumbach. This reveals the hiding place of the brother-in-law to the persecutors and thus speaks his death sentence.


The semantics of Gerhart Hauptmann's late medieval Franconian German can in places only be guessed by native speakers. Although this makes understanding difficult, it is actually a minor matter. Mainly it must be emphasized: Gerhart Hauptmann is not a black and white painter. Both the nobles and the peasants disagree. The differences of opinion among the nobility have already been addressed under Prelude above. On the other side, the farmer's leader, Pastor Bubenleben, articulates: "You shouldn't trust a knight ... A hawk never turns into a dove." And farmer's leader Flammenbecker turns against Florian Geyer: "Brothers, we don't need a captain over us all."

The dialogues are by no means easy to understand. There is not only the language barrier mentioned, but historical events are hidden behind countless allusions - Götz von Berlichingen, for example, remembers Florian Geyer: Think of Möckmühlen , when you were a captain of the Swabian League !

Since the peasant war cannot be forced onto the stage with the best will in the world - in each of the decisive battles the mercenaries, who were perfectly masters of their craft, slaughtered several thousand poorly armed peasants - the messenger report dominates the play :

  • Field clerk Lorenzöffelholz: “Look at Florian Geyer, he doesn't spare his own person in any way. We have now put down the ancestral castle for him by fire, but didn’t flinch an eyelash. "
  • Rector Besenmeyer: “The Truchseß von Waldburg won a battle ... near Böblingen. Twenty thousand peasant brothers killed. ”Furthermore, Rector Besenmeyer reports exactly how Pfeifer Melchior Nonnenmacher was executed by nobles.
  • Rector Besenmeyer: "There is a storm attack against the Würzburg Castle ... The heap of farmers forced the storm."
  • Jöslein, an old Jew: “Truchseß is what a cruel gentleman. Behenket the trees with peasant bodies. He would have had more than six thousand men judged by the Swabian Confederation of Profoss by this hour . "
  • Link, a Würzburger: "... the Bündische would have burned Weinsberg in the ground with everything ..."
  • Field clerk Lorenz Löffelholz to the failed peasant leaders after the Würzburg defeat: “So you led thousands of peasant brothers to death and ruin against the castle and gave them to the slaughter. Afterwards, of course, when most of them lay down and didn't talk, the other part wounded to death, burned by pitch and sulfur, bloody and blinded by powder, with groans and screams crawled over in the trenches of our women mountain until they miserable, you called for Florian Geyer. "
  • The old woman: "The Margrave then made fifty citizens of Kitzingen burn their eyes out of their heads, with red-hot irons ..."
  • Kratzer, Rothenburg innkeeper: “That's how it is at Frankenhausen . Did the poor people sing: 'Now we ask the Holy Spirit' and so singing people were allowed to step under the hooves of the horses, stab them down, hit them and spare no one. "
  • Karlstatt on the “Hell in Würzburg”: “In front of my seeing eyes they chopped you to pieces and threw your bloody flesh at each other. They slaughtered him like a calf is butchered, and he defended himself by screaming loudly that I blocked both ears and then I was still terrified ... "
  • Karlstatt on Thomas Münzer : "... he was caught, eager to be tortured, but then forged on a wagon, passed the Count of Mansfeld ..."


radio play


  • On November 11th 1904 to Hugo von Hofmannsthal about the above-mentioned performance on October 22nd: “ It went very well with Florian Geyer . In any case, I was very pleased to see the piece again in an admirable presentation. "
  • When intellectuals left the Reich in droves after the seizure of power in 1933 , Gerhart Hauptmann was asked why he was staying. His answer: “I am old. I also wrote a piece for each party: with the Nazis I can refer to Florian Geyer , ... "


In the late summer of 1892, Gerhart Hauptmann found good working conditions in St. Gallen and stayed for a few weeks. August and Julie Bebel's daughter Frieda had married there. The parents were visiting the daughter. Hauptmann got to know the family better. Later the Socialist Leader asked Wilhelm Blos for Hauptmann about certain details from the time of the Peasant War.


  • premiere
    • 1896: Maximilian Harden on the theater evening: This is one of the "most desolate I've ever seen in a serious theater".
    • 1896: Heinrich Hart on the disaster: "One expected a revolutionary drama and not a resignation drama."
    • 1896 Harry Graf Kessler defended the piece on the evening of the performance in front of Eberhard von Bodenhausen , Alfred von Nostitz-Wallwitz and Nikolaus Graf von Seebach .
    • 1896: Moritz Heimann to Margarete Hauptmann : "Today I get the book from Florian Geyer , and then I see how they ruined him ... The stage just can't do that."
    • 1896: After the premiere, Gerhart Hauptmann is on the verge of suicide, also for family reasons. Fortunately in misfortune, the Grillparzer Prize helped him out of the psychological depression on January 15th.
    • 1995: Leppmann to the fiasco: Gerhart Hauptmann had to choose the title role between Josef Kainz , Rudolf Rittner and Emanuel Reicher. Emanuel Reicher in the title role was the wrong cast.
    • 1998: Marx writes that the performance was “to Hauptmann's surprise a total failure”. Amazingly, the disappointment of the premiere audience was even accompanied by the disinterest of the censorship authority of the empire .
    • 1998: Sprengel speaks out about the failure and calls the piece a " naturalistic experiment".
  • 1896: In terms of history, Gerhart Hauptmann stuck to Wilhelm Zimmermann's General History of the Great Peasants' War (1841–1843). Historian Hermann Lenz said: Zimmermann invented Florian Geyer's leading role in the peasant war.
  • 1902: August Strindberg criticizes: "A work of art should be a bit negligent, imperfect like a natural product."
  • 1919: Alfred Polgar observes: "The Florian Geyer piece is particularly close to people of our time : as a drama in which the darkness and starlight of today are reflected."
  • 1922: Paul Schlenther scoffs: “There is a basic parliamentary feature in this Florian Geyer . One debate replaces the other ... We don't experience the most important things through our eyes, but through our ears. "
  • 1952: Mayer quarrels: “If one follows Hauptmann's account, it must appear as if the Peasants' War was lost because Geyer's orders were not followed; a historically completely incorrect concept! ”In addition, Gerhart Hauptmann opposed German particularism . He turned the peasant war into a confessional struggle. The evangelical documents . The Catholics were victorious . Hauptmann was concerned with more than just the right denomination when he put the big word about the unity of Germany in the mouth of his eponymous hero: "Our defendants only want to give the emperor back his old power, undisturbed by priests and princes." Mayer see also in Marx, p. 90, 17. Zvu)
  • 1984: Sprengel agrees with Thomas Mann's opinion on historical plays: “The enslaved and revolting peasants” should be put on the stage. Gerhart Hauptmann, however, concentrated on the knights, especially Florian Geyer - a renegade knight.
  • 1995: Leppmann: Gerhart Hauptmann's Florian Geyer does not fight (with the exception of the end of the piece), but only speaks. Rudolf Presber caricatured Florian Geyer as follows: “I'm not moving. I just sit armored on my bum and talk. ”Gerhart Hauptmann knew his audience. This had a problem of identification with the (compared to the weavers ) too far back events. That is why the author unnecessarily took up the patriotic component alongside the social and religious ones.
  • 1996: Tschörtner reflects on an attitude of the GDR's cultural policy: Gerhart Hauptmann had painted a false picture of history by placing the "decline and decline of the peasant army in the foreground".
  • 1998: Marx criticizes: "Hauptmann does not show ... the collective outbreak of an uprising, but the problematic consequences of the first military successes." Furthermore, Florian Geyer is a man in the footsteps of Jesus , who therefore suffers.
  • 2012: Sprengel: The knight Wolf von Hanstein is copied from Adalbert von Hanstein and the innkeeper Kratzer von Rothenburg Max Kretzer . On October 14, 1895, Gerhart Hauptmann recited the drama to his dramaturge Otto Brahm in six hours. Moritz Heimann was full of praise. In 1928, finally, Der Biberpelz and Florian Geyer would have “achieved general national popularity”.



  • Florian Geyer. 302 pages. S. Fischer Verlag, Berlin 1896
  • Florian Geyer. The tragedy of the Peasant War. P. 539–692 in Gerhart Hauptmann: Selected dramas in four volumes. Vol. 1. With an introduction to the dramatic work of Gerhart Hauptmann by Hans Mayer . 692 pages. Aufbau-Verlag, Berlin 1952 (edition used)

Secondary literature

  • Florian Geyer pp. 100–114 in Peter Sprengel : Gerhart Hauptmann. Epoch - work - effect. 298 pages. CH Beck, Munich 1984 (Beck's elementary books), ISBN 3-406-30238-6
  • Wolfgang Leppmann : Gerhart Hauptmann. A biography. Ullstein, Berlin 1996 (Ullstein-Buch 35608), 415 pages, ISBN 3-548-35608-7 (identical text with ISBN 3-549-05469-6 , Propylaen, Berlin 1995, subtitled with Die Biographie )
  • Florian Geyer , pp. 86–92 in: Friedhelm Marx : Gerhart Hauptmann . Reclam, Stuttgart 1998 (RUB 17608, Literature Studies series). 403 pages, ISBN 3-15-017608-5
  • Peter Sprengel: History of German-Language Literature 1870–1900. From the founding of the empire to the turn of the century. Munich 1998, ISBN 3-406-44104-1
  • Peter Sprengel: Gerhart Hauptmann. Bourgeoisie and big dream. A biography. 848 pages. CH Beck, Munich 2012 (1st edition), ISBN 978-3-406-64045-2

Web links


  1. Act 5, stage directions for Florian Geyer's appearance: "With the stump of the black flag in his left hand and the bared sword in his right hand, Geyer stands in the door frame ... His look is proud, cold and dangerous ..." (Edition used, p . 689, 16. Zvo).
  2. Wolf von Kastell, for example, complains about Götz , who as field captain commanded the “rabble”. Something like that would never and never come into question for Wolf von Kastell: "Sir, I want to hire myself to clear a shit house anyway." (Edition used, p. 546, below)
  3. ^ The battle of Böblingen on May 12, 1525.
  4. "Hanswurst, Pöveldiener, rabble-hearted Storger [bum], Spitzknecht , bed printer, lard beggar , matchmaker , rag , garbage, droppings from the country road; miserable junk, not worth the rope, the hangman must pull you up on it; Fools, whose pants get wet with fear of heaven, when the mercenaries only stir up the dust a little; you tremble and shiver with fear. "
  5. The battle of Königshofen took place on June 2, 1525.
  6. The last battle of the Peasants' War in Franconia took place on June 4, 1525 between Ingolstadt and Sulzdorf .
  7. Otto Brahm, the dramaturge of the world premiere, warned Gerhart Hauptmann against the “very antiquated and monotonous” speech in the play. (Sprengel anno 2012, p. 271 and Leppmann, p. 203 above) Marx says: "In accordance with his genuinely naturalistic" need for authenticity ", Hauptmann tries to reconstruct the language level of the 16th century - with the result ... numerous communication problems." ( Marx, p. 89, 4. Zvo) In addition, a number of constantly repeated curses such as “Corpse!”, “Kotz!”, “Blue!” Have become unusual (Sprengel, p. 271 below).
  8. At the end of the prelude, for example, Gerhart Hauptmann has his Wolf von Hanstein scream in the face of Florian Geyer's opponents: “Eat the plague, all the servants! Long live the German evangelical freedom! "(Edition used, p. 561, 6. Zvo)
  9. Charles V reigns , but Florian Geyer worships his predecessor, the late Emperor Max (Edition used, p. 583, 6. Zvu)
  10. The play seems "- regardless of the warlike subject - as talkative as it is poor in action." (Marx, p. 89, 13th Zvu)

Individual evidence

  1. Sprengel anno 2012, p. 272 ​​above
  2. Sprengel anno 2012, p. 271, 6. Zvo
  3. Sprengel anno 2012, p. 274, 10. Zvo
  4. Sprengel anno 2012, p. 68, 3rd Zvu
  5. Edition used, p. 548 below
  6. Edition used, p. 556, 6th Zvu
  7. Edition used, pp. 611–612
  8. Edition used, p. 588, 14. Zvo
  9. Edition used, p. 568, 18. Zvo
  10. Edition used, p. 617, 14. Zvu
  11. used edition, p 617, 4. ZVU to S. 618, 11. ACR
  12. Edition used, p. 618, 14. Zvu and p. 619, 10. Zvo
  13. Edition used, p. 622, 14th Zvu
  14. Edition used, p. 623, 19. Zvo
  15. Edition used, p. 629, 5th Zvu
  16. Edition used, p. 637, 4th Zvu
  17. Edition used, p. 648, 2nd Zvu
  18. Edition used, p. 651, 1. Zvu
  19. Edition used, p. 657, middle
  20. Sprengel anno 2012, p. 506
  21. Sprengel anno 2012, p. 607 below
  22. Sprengel anno 2012, p. 612
  23. Sprengel anno 2012, p. 690 below
  24. Sprengel anno 2012, p. 276 middle
  25. Sprengel anno 2012, p. 701 and Leppmann, p. 202, 1. Zvo
  26. Leppmann, p. 348, 18. Zvo
  27. Sprengel anno 2012, p. 347, 5th Zvu
  28. Gerhart Hauptmann, quoted in Leppmann, p. 353, 16. Zvu
  29. Sprengel anno 2012, p. 226 below
  30. Harden, quoted in Leppmann, p. 201, 19. Zvo
  31. Sprengel anno 2012, p. 280 middle
  32. Sprengel anno 2012, p. 281 middle
  33. Heimann, quoted in Sprengel anno 2012, p. 281, 4. Zvo
  34. Sprengel anno 2012, p. 285, 3rd Zvu
  35. Sprengel anno 2012, p. 285 and p. 287
  36. Leppmann, p. 201 below
  37. Marx, p. 88, 10. Zvo
  38. Marx, p. 90 above
  39. Sprengel anno 1998, p. 443
  40. Sprengel anno 1984, p. 106 below
  41. ^ Strindberg, quoted in Leppmann, p. 202, 6. Zvo
  42. ^ Polgar, cited in Marx, p. 88, 15. Zvo
  43. Schlenther, quoted in Marx, p. 89, 11. Zvu
  44. ^ Mayer in the edition used, p. 48, 6th Zvu
  45. Edition used, p. 546, 13. Zvo; P. 548, 4. Zvo; P. 579, 8th Zvu; P. 661, 3. Zvo
  46. Edition used, p. 583, 10th Zvu
  47. Sprengel anno 1984, p. 108, 7th Zvu to p. 109, 11th Zvo
  48. ^ Presber, quoted in Leppmann, p. 202, 18. Zvo
  49. Leppmann, p. 202, 18. Zvu
  50. Tschörtner mentioned in Marx, p. 88 below
  51. ^ Marx, p. 90, 9. Zvu
  52. ^ Marx, p. 92, 5. Zvo
  53. Sprengel anno 2012, p. 124
  54. Sprengel anno 2012, p. 277 below
  55. Sprengel anno 2012, p. 278 middle
  56. Sprengel anno 2012, p. 610, 5. Zvo