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Intrigue (from Latin intricare "to embarrass"), outdated also cabal or intrigue , describes a strategy of action with which individuals or groups of people try to harm others or incite them against each other. The bearer of this action strategy is called an intriguer .

The meaning and purpose of the intrigue can serve personal emotional satisfaction ( schadenfreude , sadism, etc.) or personal or group-specific advantages.

In literature, intrigue is particularly important for drama . While in the comedy the entanglement threaded through the schemer finally exposes the intriguer himself, in the tragedy it brings about the hero's downfall. Typical schemers are Iago in Othello and Franz Moor in Die Räuber .

The intrigue is related to the Cabal ; B. in Friedrich Schiller's drama Kabale und Liebe . A cabal is a secret consent of persons for an evil purpose or attack. Cabala (from the Hebrew qabbâlêh ; cf. also " Kabbala ") is a Latin expression for mystery. Further expressions for intrigue are machinations , double play , intrigues in German . Ranküne , however, is the pursuit of vengeance from damage suffered. A plot ( conspiracy ) describes the targeted action of several people with tricks. In English, intrigue also means an affair between a secret couple.

Deviating from this, intrigue is also a specialist dramaturgical term. It describes the visible plot of a play, its involvement and its dissolution. According to Jean-François Marmontel , intrigue in this understanding is a chain with the various events as links.

In his work Die Intrige, the Swiss literary scholar Peter von Matt examined and located the change in the term and practice in terms of the history of civilization. Based on Nietzsche's theoretical considerations on the subject, he taps the extent to which the term intrigue has a function and necessity for the progress of the Enlightenment , for example with Theodor W. Adorno .

Structural elements of an intrigue are, according to von Matt, the experience of an emergency (emergency situation), the naming of a goal (target fantasies), the planned scene, the intrigue practice, the pretense, the anagnorisis , the gnorism and the intrigue proposition . The intrigue victim, the intrigue subject or the intrigue driver or instigator and the voluntary or involuntary intrigue helper appear. Intrigue is often associated with the patience and enjoyment of intrigue. An intrigue can be answered by an intrigue against it. There are also so-called court intrigues.

The same behavior occurs in great apes.

See also


  • Peter-André Alt : Classic finals. The theater of Goethe and Schiller. Munich 2008.
  • Eva Gesine Baur : Venice - city of women. Love, power and intrigue in the Serenissima . Photographs by Thomas Klinger. Knesebeck, Munich 2005, ISBN 3-89660-313-2 .
  • Heinz-Günter Deiters: The Art of Intrigue . Hamburg 1966
  • Arnulf Dieterle: The structural elements of the intrigue in the Greco-Roman comedy . Revised dissertation Tübingen 1977/1978. Grüner, Amsterdam 1980, ISBN 90-6032-119-7 .
  • Gottfried Liebl: War as an intrigue. Cultural Aspects of the Frontier and the Military Revolution of the Early Modern Period . Turia and Kant, Vienna 1999, ISBN 3-85132-164-2 .
  • Peter von Matt: The intrigue. Theory and Practice of Deceit . Hanser, Munich 2006, ISBN 3-446-20731-7 .
  • Gustav Adolf Pourroy: The Principle of Intrigue. About the social function of an evil . Edition Interfrom bei Fromm, Osnabrück 1988, ISBN 3-7201-5194-8 .
  • Anja Schonlau: Emotions in the dramatic text. A methodological foundation with exemplary analysis of envy and intrigue 1750-1800 (= German literature. Studies and sources . Volume 25). Berlin 2017.
  • Helga Thoma: love, power, intrigue. Queens and their lovers . Piper, Munich 2002, ISBN 3-492-23157-8 .

Web links

Commons : Cabalism  - collection of images, videos and audio files
Wiktionary: Intrigue  - explanations of meanings, word origins, synonyms, translations
Wiktionary: Doppelspiel  - explanations of meanings, word origins, synonyms, translations

Individual evidence

  1. "The ability to intrigue increases the chimpanzees and orangutans' reproductive chances" /