Minna von Barnhelm

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Title: Minna von Barnhelm or the soldier's luck
Genus: Comedy
Original language: German
Author: Gotthold Ephraim Lessing
Premiere: September 30, 1767
Place of premiere: Hamburg
  • Major von Tellheim , farewell
  • Minna von Barnhelm
  • Count von Bruchsall , her uncle
  • Franciska , you girl
  • Just , servant of the major
  • Paul Werner , former sergeant to the major
  • The host
  • A lady in mourning
  • A police officer
  • Riccaut de la Marlinière

Minna von Barnhelm or Soldier's Luck is a comedy in five acts by Gotthold Ephraim Lessing . The piece was completed in 1767, but its development began as early as 1763. Lessing officially stated the year 1763 as the date of creation on the title page, presumably to emphasize the proximity to the Seven Years War , against the background of which the piece is set. Minna von Barnhelm is the most famous comedy of the German Enlightenment and is one of the most important comedies in German-language literature.

Contemporary print (2nd edition)


Table of contents

An engaged couple has been separated for months in the turmoil at the end of the Seven Years' War. The Thuringian bride travels after the fiancé suspected in Berlin with her guardian. In view of his carriage being repaired, the guardian lets them drive ahead to Berlin.

The two greet them stormily; then the fiancé withdraws and later informs her that he is suspected of corruption in office and should wait for the results of the investigation by the Prussian state in Berlin. He refuses the marriage and declines all offers of support.

The fiancée decides to persuade him to repent through a game of deception. This works.

The Prussian king rehabilitates the officer.

The fiancee continues her intrigue, which leads to serious misunderstandings between all persons. When the guardian is announced, it comes to a happy ending.

Minna von Barnhelm is essentially an analytical drama :

In addition to the goal-related events on the stage, there is a covert action , in particular as a step-by-step disclosure of the history. This is why the following performance-oriented overview is divided into two parts: The events on the stage, which are printed in normal script, are followed several times by information on the hidden action in italics .

Stage events [and covert action ]

The stage action takes place on August 23, 1763 from early morning to afternoon on the first floor of a Berlin inn, alternately in a hall (elevator I, III and V) and an adjoining guest room (elevator II and IV).

I. elevator

Just, Tellheim's servant, sleeps in the inn under the stairs - waiting for his relocated master - and dreams of revenge on the innkeeper.

He tries to appease him; vain. (I 1 - 2)

Tellheim appears. He wants to move out and asks the landlord for the final bill for his six-month stay. He describes himself as penniless; Just points out to him that he has the right to dispose of a large amount of money that Werner, a sergeant at Tellheim during the war, gave him to keep in order to remedy the temporary financial shortage. Tellheim rejects this offer; instead, he also asks Just to draw up his final invoice. (I 3 - 4)

The widow of a former officer from Tellheim's regiment wants to settle debts with him, which he refuses with the reference to the needs of her young child. (I 5 - 7)

Just invalidates his final account with a counter-calculation and, in view of his debts with Tellheim, decides to stay with Tellheim. (I 8)

A servant asks forgiveness for the unwanted expulsion of Tellheim; this courtesy hastened Tellheim's escape from the inn; He gives Just a precious engagement ring as payment. He decides to transfer him to the landlord himself. (I 9 - 11)

Werner wants to give Tellheim more money - Just describes this as impossible.

Werner learns details of Tellheim's currently unfortunate life situation . (I 12)

II. Elevator

Minna and her maid Franciska talk about their inn and general life situation.

The landlord gave Minna the room from which Tellheim was evicted. Her travel motive is the search for her fiancé Tellheim, who has only written one letter for six months. As an explanation, she suspects the consequences of the end of the war for officers . (II 1)

Your innkeeper fulfills police reporting and informing tasks for the Prussian government. He shows Minna the ring that Tellheim had moved, through which she learns that her fiancé is near. She keeps the ring; the landlord promises to get Just.

Minna and Franciska come from Thuringia, which was part of Saxony (Prussia's opponent in the Seven Years War). They arrived on the evening of August 22nd; accompanied only by two male servants, since Minna's uncle and guardian, Count Bruchsall, was held up for a day because of a carriage accident two miles from Berlin . (II 2)

Minna wants to share her joy at finding her fiancé again unexpectedly quickly through gifts of money to Franciska and to the first of the many war invalids they will meet.

Just agrees to get Tellheim.

She speaks a - quite secular - prayer of thanks. (II 3 - 7)

Minna and the surprised Tellheim rush towards each other, seem to fall into each other's arms as Tellheim backs away.

They talk about their different views of their situation: He sees himself as an unhappy person who should therefore choose to isolate himself in order not to drag others into his unhappiness. She makes sure of his love and demands details of his misfortune:

Tellheim has been dismissed from the Prussian army, dishonored, injured in the arm and destitute.

He breaks away from Minna. (II 8 - 9)

III. Elevator

Just sends Franciska a request to talk to Tellheim; she agrees. Just can show the value of a rude but honest person like him by telling her about the dishonesty of all other Tellheim servants.

She is grateful for his teaching. The landlord describes the lengthy separation of Minna and Tellheim in the stairwell ( after II 9 ):

mutual glances of love, flight from Tellheim, despair of Minna; The host's request for the "missing key" . (III 2 - 3)

Werner warns Franciska about negative characteristics of the host.

He informs Franciska of Werner's wealth through spoils of war .

The two get closer; Werner portrays Tellheim as wealthy and a womanizer.

In the winter quarters of occupied countries (such as Saxony through Prussia), soldiers often made promises to local women without keeping them . (III 4 - 5)

Werner thinks up a story to send money to Tellheim.

His plan fails. Tellheim teaches him about soldier morals. Werner counters Tellheim's rejection of money with reference to war events:

Werner saved his life twice in the fighting. He then claims that Tellheim must be in possession of an asset again by August 24th at the latest . (III 6 - 7)

Both characterize their love for Minna and Franciska.

Franciska gives Tellheim his letter of justification back to Minna and knocks with him on one of Minna's exits. Tellheim and Franciska teach Werner about inappropriate marriage jokes; Franciska criticizes Tellheim's battered appearance.

The night before he camped out in anger over the room being moved in the open air .

Werner apologizes to Franciska for his prestige behavior. (III 8 - 11)

Minna demonstrates her regained self-confidence; she criticizes Tellheim's refusal to marry as unacceptable pride and plans to correct this mistake with a prank. (III 12)

IV. Elevator

In her prank, Minna wants to portray herself as disinherited. She predicts - without having seen him so far - Franciska a marriage with Werner. (IV 1)

An officer Riccaut looks for Tellheim in his previous guest room and instead tells Minna that Tellheim's trial is about to end well for him. Minna participates in gambling through Riccaut.

Quasi-covert action (= Riccaut's parts of the speech in French were only understandable to educated people): The minister and Riccaut are friends; Ministers should deceive their employer; Riccaut calls himself a parasite or thief, among other things .

Minna and Franciska fundamentally disagree on the assessment of Riccaut and the appropriateness of Minna's intrigue against Tellheim. (IV 2 - 3)

Both women share their aversion to military behavior as an unnatural thing. Minna expands her intrigue plan to include a possible course of action with the rings that they gave each other for engagement: she lights the ring that she gave to Tellheim and kept from the landlord (see II 2 above). (IV 4 - 5)

She announces to Tellheim the imminent arrival of her guardian, who has meanwhile been sympathetic to him. Both refer to the honor in order to make the other's own attitude understandable. Tellheim names four obstacles that made marriage impossible for him at the present time; the dispute culminates in the differing assessment of his good deed ( contribution demands from Friedrich II in Thuringia to be kept as low as possible ): He explains to her that this has brought him the charge of bribery; Minna reminds him that his good deed was the trigger for her love. Both persist in their position; Minna therefore turns away from Tellheim for the appearance of being and hands him the ring she is wearing (see IV 5). She calls him “traitor” and withdraws. He is stunned.

Her guardian fled to Italy during the war and against marrying Tellheim until he only heard good things about Tellheim from others. Tellheim explains the serious legal and social consequences of his good deed: the destruction of his civil reputation . (IV 6)

Franciska explains to him - intriguing - that Minna has been disinherited because of her intention to marry him and has therefore fled to him; now he sees his honor in protecting Minna from her uncle. (IV 7)

With this turning point, he now wants to accept all of Werner's offers of money. (IV 8)

V. Elevator

Werner announces that all his expenses will be reimbursed by the Ministry; Tellheim is not interested in this, he only wants Werner's money now, among other things so that Just can redeem the ring with the landlord, announces his marriage to Minna for the next day and his intention to go to war again.

Tellheim enjoys the situation changed by Minna's (intrigue) distress; sees himself acting self-determined and sensible.

Franciska tries to point out the ring exchange - in vain. (V 1 - 4)

He assures Minna of his loyalty and wants to cancel his acceptance of the ring; Minna categorically rejects this. To Franciska's astonishment, she continues her intrigue. Tellheim passionately presents her with a happy future together. (V 5)

A police officer gives him a royal handwriting.

The police officer mentions that it was supposed to have been delivered the day before, but that Tellheim's whereabouts could only be determined later - by Riccaut . (V 6 - 7)

The landlord wants to redeem the ring given to Minna (in II 2); she tells Just about him that she has already redeemed the ring. (V 8)

Minna reads the letter from the king who is rehabilitating Tellheim. He assumes that this is enough for her to consent to a marriage with him - she contradicts. He then wants to forego his military career - she insists on her principle of complete equality between spouses. He understands this as her desire to participate in the big world - in return she points to an innocent wife who she is not; he then wants to forego his rehabilitation - it prevents this. (V 9)

Just reports on the redemption of the ring by Minna; Tellheim understands this as a resolution of commitment and breaks with it. (V 10)

Werner brings more money and Tellheim now rejects this and himself; Franciska is turned down by Werner. Minna is at a loss in the face of this chain of misunderstandings. (V 11)

Count Bruchsall is announced; Minna wants to hurry towards him with Tellheim as a happy couple, but Tellheim - still caught up in the plot of intrigue - is ready for a duel to protect Minna from him. Her hint that he already has the right ring again because of her intrigue brings him back to comedy reality. (V 12)

The count congratulates Minna on her choice.

Tellheim takes Werner's money into safekeeping in a friendly manner.

Franciska and Werner promise marriage. (V 13-15)

Interpretation variants

Influential interpretations

In the Wilhelmine era, national-political interpretations dominated, in the Weimar Republic intellectual history, in the post-war period intrinsic interpretations and, since the 1960s, socio-critical interpretations. Outside of this strongly time-related mainstream there are still fundamental works today:

1st genus typology : Arntzen 1968

The starting point of his interpretation is Guthke's rejection in 1961, who wanted to constitute a genre of tragic comedy as a mixed form, because of its conceptual imprecision, but above all because this would abolish the intentional separation of these two types of drama. Arntzen sees this in the respective orientation towards the end: a happy one as the resolution of the conflict in the comedy or an unhappy one in the tragedy. Seriousness is not excluded in the comedy, but tragedy is true; Then comedy is above all a sign that the conflict can be overcome (p. 18f.).

Arntzen sees Tellheim as situationally hardened in its understandable but unreasonable (and to that extent comical) self-imposed external determination (p. 33); Minna, on the other hand, is acting sensibly (p. 32); Lessing constructs the dramatic development from this contrast (p. 35). While Guthke still sees the solution to the conflict in royal handwriting (Guthke 1961, pp. 36 and 42), thereby marginalizing Minna's subsequent intrigues, Arntzen underlines their importance for the gradual regaining of human autonomy at Tellheim, which is reflected in his independent decision for Minnas Enforce protection in V 12 (first stage directions for Tellheim) (p. 42).

While Arntzen emphasizes the happy outcome and the resulting optimistic atmosphere of the entire stage , Michelsen, in contradiction to this, brings two moments of the hidden plot to the fore, IV 6 (Tellheim's honor problem in the allegation of bribery) and V 9 (the royal handwriting as this Return):

2. Drama construction: Michelsen 1973

Michelsen explains the legal weight of the allegation of corruption that the Prussian state has raised against Tellheim's good deed in Thuringia (p. 225ff.). "Honor" is therefore not defined as a class, but by Tellheim himself as public, civil innocence. Under no circumstances could he expect Minna to marry a potential criminal. Viewed in this way, royal handwriting becomes an indispensable social prerequisite for marriage (p. 278). In addition: Minna's disinheritance intrigue including ring exchange is wrongly accepted in research as an act of analogy to Tellheim's refusal to marry (p. 266).

Intertextuality: Ter-Nedden 2016

Minna combinatorial of Barnhelm as Lessing's appropriation of Molière's Misanthrope and Shakespeare's Othello

This extraordinarily stimulating and coherent, but highly complex (and here only outlined) interpretation reconstructs the intertextual structure characteristic of Lessing's method of poetry for Minna von Barnhelm (see Lessing, Hamburgische Dramaturgie , 101st - 104th piece on the creation of his works from the Criticism of other writers). With this, Ter-Nedden turns against the traditional literary scholarly interpretation that the [main] theme of this comedy is a conflict between the two main characters between love and honor (p. 246); he sees it in the personal bond between people, which encompasses almost all the figures, updated in contemporary history in a difficult transition situation - from war to peace (p. 284).

The conceptual starting point is an update of the comedy Der misanthrope by Molière with the help of the Shakespeare tragedy Othello (p. 241). The traditional reading sees in Lessing's drama the potential tragedy in the failure of the Prussian king to rehabilitate Tellheim, i.e. in the external plot. In fact, however - both with Lessing and Molière - the true misfortune of the misanthropist lies in his misanthropy itself, i.e. in the inner action (p. 250). Othello had given Lessing the inspiration that Tellheim was caught up in the delusion of being betrayed by love itself (see V / 11). But in order to be able to arouse pity - Lessing's demand for the tragedy - the misanthrope must suffer from his character trait; this does not apply to Molière's title character Alceste, but it does to Tellheim. Lessing achieves this through his connection of the Molière comedy with Shakespeare's Othello , because this enables a singular combination of the comic with the touching - (Lessing's demand for the “true comedy”; p. 251f.).

The characters Molière - according to Ter-Nedden - lack a (life) story; they are only roles whose motives for action and attitudes remain outside the problem horizon of the drama. Lessing changes this: What Molière already presupposes in the exposition - the misanthropy defined in Alceste for all stage situations - is developed by Lessing in its creation, i.e. as a stage event in front of the audience. Like Othello the love of Desdemona, Tellheim also won that of Minna, namely through a good deed (practiced love of enemies) which later became the source of misfortune. Happiness and unhappiness spring from an act (p. 265). In all previous interpretations, Ter-Nedden criticizes the fact that this central connection, which is mirror-inverted for Minna in the ring intrigue, - in the artist's fixation on the key word "honor" of the male protagonist - is destroyed and with it the meaning of Lessing's Comedy (p. 267).

According to Ter-Nedden, in Lessing's intertextual interwoven three dramas, honor is something different from the usual interpretation (namely as social reputation), but for him it is an elementary affect that (in both main characters) reveals a fatal violation of vital self-love .

I. elevator

In Act I this is shown by the historical background - the post-war misery of 1763 - when his last servant, Just (I / 8) tried to dismiss. The latter refuses to be released and justifies this with Tellheim's previous philanthropy towards him (expensive nursing care, help for Just's father, etc.), which makes him feel indissolubly connected to his master. Tellheim's slight misanthropic repudiation of his servant fails here (pp. 270-274). The character of the "honest man" in its complexity is also evident in Tellheim's encounter with the widow of his deceased Rittmeister Marloff: He denies the existence of Marloff's debts and increases this with his promise to look after the widow's well-being in the future to take care of their child. First of all, it will be illustrated how one can find one's own happiness in the happiness of others: by entering into binding personal ties. In addition, Tellheim's answer contained within the drama an important reference to his inner development: Ter-Nedden reads his reference to his current inability to cry as an expression of his increasing misanthropy in his doubts about divine providence (pp. 275, 301). It is only in the personal inner side of the characters - here through the intensity of the sad experiences that arouses pity in the audience - that the poetic substance of this comedy lies, which makes it unique among the many contemporary comedies (p. 242).

Another money offer from his former sergeant Werner (p. 277, to I / 12), explains Just, Tellheim will certainly reject it like the first (I / 4), because he prefers to write to him rather than borrow money.

II. Elevator

Act II shows, in contrast, the cheerfulness of the female figures Minna and Franciska, feelings of happiness (p. 276) with the climax in Minna's profane thanksgiving prayer of happiness (p. 278f. And 307f. To II / 7). Through this experience of happiness, Minna's knowledge of how the difference between necessary self-love and love of a partner is abolished in human love leads her to the abolition of previous contradictions of the Enlightenment era: pride, vanity and lust as traditional catalog of vices and virtue, piety and tenderness (as Empathy / empathy) as a catalog of virtues coincide in the transgression of human egocentrism (p. 279 to II / 7).

Analogous to, not contrasting with, the first act, however, the conceptual basic figure of Molière's misanthrope remains in the second act: the hero of virtue Tellheim, in distress, rejects those who feel attached to him; at the end of Act II this even applies to his beloved Minna (p. 277, to II / 9), although the previous appearance II / 8 showed the depth and spontaneity of his love Minna.

III. Elevator

In the III. Elevators expand the conventional secondary characters in a thematically meaningful way (and therefore not as a playful independence of the characters as in traditional interpretations, p. 280) the panorama of character relationships on the theme level: How do personal bonds break under fundamentally changed living conditions (p. 281 , 284)? Lessing answers this question on the basis of the current transition period from the Seven Years' War to peace in 1763: Of all things, the pack servant Just, as a despised representative of bourgeois insignificance, demonstrates the value of loyalty and honesty towards Franciska (III / 2): of formerly five servants of Tellheim, he is the only one who has not stolen, betrayed or cheated on his master, but takes his responsibility for the injured Tellheim (see I / 8) seriously. This pattern is repeated more intensely when Werner Tellheim's refusal to accept money shows that he, the sergeant, saved the major's life several times in war battles, which was ultimately worth more than any money (III / 7 ). In all of these examples Lessing defines honesty not as a mere rejection of lies and deceit, but as concern for those for whom he knows he is responsible (p. 285f.).

IV. Elevator

In Act IV the misanthropy theme is initially taken up on the servant level - as in I / 4, in which Just wants to kill the rude, greedy landlord in a comically exaggerated way in five ways: while Minna is "cold and pensive" (IV / 3 ) philosophizes, Franciska is furious about the crook Riccaut ("rascals" hang out), but even more about her calm and reflective mistress (p. 287). Just like Franciska share the moralistic outrage of the misanthropist Alceste in their comical exaggeration of emotional punishment wishes and limited thinking abilities (p. 287).

The action-based hintergründig a thread acting trial, in the in Menschenfeind pulled Alceste (I / 1, II / 6, IV / 4, V / 1), should be the excitation for a parallel structure for Lessing would In both works just before the At the end of the covert action, the legal dispute was fundamentally defused in its existence-threatening dimension ("that the king had put down everything [...]" that had been put forward against Tellheim [IV / 6]). In both dramas, the stage plot ironically contributes nothing (!) To the turn in the external plot; however, the happy ending typical for a comedy was reached in the external plot (p. 290f.).

V. Elevator

On the other hand, the internal and interpersonal aspects of the event remained open (p. 291). These decisive arguments with the misanthropy problem are the main theme of Act V in both dramas: Both virtue heroes put their luck at risk for intrapersonal reasons. To understand this, Ter-Nedden refers to Lessing's Hamburgische Dramaturgie , 99th play, in which Lessing praises a drama by Terenz ( Adolphe ) for not following the banal rule of the (Saxon) typeface to change the vicious main character or to be educated or - as the only alternative - to be expelled from society (p. 293f.). Instead, he let the characters remain the same, the plot, however, come to a decision: The Misanthrope is Alceste's claim to follow him into solitude, rejected by Célimène (V / 4), Minna renounced analogy, Tellheim proposal quietest common to the " […] Looking for angles ”(V / 9). Her reasoning goes beyond Molière: She postulates the equality of the sexes and in this role reversal holds up to him the mirror of his previous behavior towards her (V / 10).

Minna's ring intrigue was often disapproved of because she was playing a questionable game with Tellheim because of a weakness in character. Ter-Nedden countered that first of all, that for Lessing poetically perfect characters are useless ( Hamburgische Dramaturgie , 86th play). Above all, however, this comedy would lose its conceptual conclusiveness (p. 301), because: Just as a good deed (Tellheim's contribution co-financing during the war) turned into personal misfortune (the allegation of corruption by the Prussian authorities), so is it - and in fact on the stage since 1/1 - Minna's trip to her fiancé, who had been silent for months, was accompanied by the consequence of driving him out of his guest house room, which was a major step in Tellheim's enmity. Tellheim's relocation to an attic and his defiant nocturnal choice of homelessness lead to Tellheim's ring transfer and thus to the symbolic disapproval (I / 10), but on the other hand to the subsequent ring recognition of Minna (II / 2) and must be action-related in this problem horizon At the end (functionally equivalent to the fateful handkerchief motif in Othello , p. 302). As a result, Tellheim, who immediately before described himself as a shadow who will not leave her (V / 9), sees himself - delusionally - betrayed by her after Just's report of Minna's acquisition of his transferred ring (V / 10). In this extreme of misanthropy he even generalizes in relation to his friend Werner: “All goodness is pretense; all ability to serve fraud ”, although the latter had only faithfully carried out Tellheim's orders (V / 11).

The importance of the intra- and interpersonal aspects is shown in Lessing's dissolution of the dramatic knot: Tellheim is not "brought up" by Minna, as it is traditionally and still claimed, but comes into a situation in which he has his honorable character through the act must show (in V / 9 [p. 297]). Monika Fick also sees in Tellheim's self-overcoming of his self-love (in his spontaneous readiness to defend Minna from his uncle who allegedly disinherits her, V / 12) as the liberation of his inner being. Only this rightly enables a happy ending, in which two couples find each other without the four characters involved (Minna and Tellheim, Franciska and Werner) changing their nature.

Ter-Nedden does not see the conceptual-thematic originality of Lessing's comedy in the fact that a particularly serious misfortune is depicted in the general post-war misery, but that the inseparability of happiness and misfortune is illustrated in a dramatized way: on the one hand, Tellheim's active love of enemies, which he is accused of as a crime, on the other hand Minna's happy finding of her fiancé in Berlin, which leads to his eviction from the inn in all its (negative and positive) consequences.

Further interpretations

Since the beginning of the literary history of interpretation of Minna , the conflict between love and honor has repeatedly been seen as the central problem of this comedy . Tellheim is mostly assigned the role of the stubborn stubborn head who is exaggeratedly related to his honor and who cannot come to terms with his unjustified accusation, while Minna is able to overcome this doggedness with her playful cunning and thus makes Tellheim capable of loving again.

Critics of this traditional interpretation state above all that Tellheim's situation as a defendant would not permit any other behavior. Since he threatens to lose his social status completely if his trial ends negatively, a wedding with Minna is unthinkable under these circumstances. From the point of view of this interpretation, the conflict of the piece cannot be resolved by the people in the piece themselves. The happy ending is only ensured by the king's letter, which brings the message of the end of the trial and thus of Tellheim's complete rehabilitation.

More recently, among other things, it has been investigated why Tellheim repeatedly and categorically refuses both Minna and Paul Werner's offers of help. His mistake is not only to insist doggedly on his officer's honor, but also in his moral vanity, which forbids him (even to friends) to be helped in his financial need. This declaration is supported by the fact that Tellheim is immediately ready to marry Minna after hearing that she has been disinherited from her uncle - i.e. at a time when his honor has by no means been restored by the king's letter, the honor of Minna however, is at stake. Tellheim expects others (widow Marloff) to accept his help without contradiction, while conversely he is not prepared to become a debtor to others (Paul Werner).

In addition, other motifs of the piece are always in the focus of the interpretation: the function of money for the social relationships of the characters; the conflict with Prussia and the war; the soldier's honor or dishonor; the question of happiness and unhappiness indicated in the subtitle of the play or the unusually balanced relationship between the sexes for the 18th century.

Contemporary reception

When it premiered on September 30, 1767 in Hamburg , which was preceded by a short-term performance ban and a dispute with the Berlin censorship authority, the play had an extraordinary stage success and was then performed in German-speaking countries on all important theaters abroad. In retrospect, Goethe celebrated Minna in conversations with Eckermann as “ a shining meteor. It made us aware that something higher existed than what the weak literary epoch of the time had a conception of. “The following interpretation history was shaped above all by his remarks in Poetry and Truth , where it said:“ But one work, the truest product of the Seven Years' War, of complete North German national content, I must here honorably mention; it is the first theater production taken from an important life, of specifically temporary content, which therefore had an effect that could never be calculated: Minna von Barnhelm. "


Poster of Andrea Breth's production of Minna at the Burgtheater in Vienna , 2005

To this day, the "Minna" is one of the most popular plays in Germany. A very dusted directed by Andrea Breth had on 16 December 2005 at the Vienna Burgtheater with Sven-Eric Bechtolf and Sabine Haupt in the lead roles Premiere : is the focus of this unconventional interpretation instead of honor the money.

An adaptation as a musical (book and lyrics by Michael Wildenhain , idea and concept by Klaus Wagner, music by Konstantin Wecker and Nicolas Kemmer ) was premiered on December 2, 2000 at the Heilbronn Theater and performed a total of 22 times by April 7, 2001.


  • Gotthold Ephraim Lessing: Minna von Barnhelm or the soldier's luck. A comedy in five acts. Berlin 1767. DTV Deutscher Taschenbuch Verlag, 1997, ISBN 3-423-02610-3 , digitized version of the 1767 edition
  • Gotthold Ephraim Lessing: Works 1767–1769 . In: Lessing. Works and letters . Edited by Wilfried Barner et al., Vol. 6. Ed. By Klaus Bohnen, Frankfurt am Main 1985.
  • Gotthold Ephraim Lessing: Minna von Barnhelm. Reclam, Stuttgart 1996, ISBN 3-15-000010-6 .
  • Gotthold Ephraim Lessing: Minna von Barnhelm. Hamburg reading books, Husum 2007, ISBN 978-3-87291-018-9 .


  • Oliver Binder, Ulrich Müller: Lessing's Minna von Barnhelm as a musical : “Minna. Musical “by Michael Wildenhain , Konstantin Wecker , Nicolas Kemmer (2001). In: Stuttgart work on German studies. No. 423. Hans-Dieter Heinz, Akademischer Verlag, Stuttgart 2004 [2005], ISBN 3-88099-428-5 , pp. 43-54.
  • Monika Fick: Lessing manual. Life - work - effect. 4th edition, JB Metzler Verlag, Stuttgart and Weimar 2016, pp. 262–283, ISBN 978-3-476-02577-7 .
  • Bernd Matzkowski: Gotthold Ephraim Lessing: Minna von Barnhelm. King's Explanations and Materials (Volume 312). C. Bange Verlag, Hollfeld 2007, ISBN 978-3-8044-1695-6 .
  • Hugh Barr Nisbet: Lessing. A biography . Beck, Munich 2008, pp. 441-471, ISBN 978-3-406-57710-9 .
  • Günter Saße : love and marriage. Or: How the spontaneity of the heart relates to the norms of society. Lessing's "Minna von Barnhelm" . Niemeyer, Tübingen 1993, ISBN 3-484-35040-7 .
  • Günter Saße : The dispute about the right relationship. On the “hidden organization” of Lessing's “Minna von Barnhelm” . In: Wolfgang Mauser (Ed.): Culture of dispute. Strategies of convincing in Lessing's work. Tübingen 1993, pp. 38-55.
  • Sibylle Schönborn: Gotthold Ephraim Lessing: Minna von Barnhelm, explanations and documents. Reclam, Stuttgart 2003, ISBN 3-15-016037-5 .
  • Horst Steinmetz (ed.): Gotthold Ephraim Lessing's "Minna von Barnhelm". Documents on the history of reception and interpretation. Koenigstein 1979.
  • Gisbert Ter-Nedden: The strange Lessing. A revision of the dramatic work. Edited by Robert Vellusig, Wallstein Verlag, Göttingen 2016, ISBN 978-3-8353-1969-1 .
  • Bernd Völkl: Reading key. Gotthold Ephraim Lessing: Minna von Barnhelm. Reclam, Stuttgart 2003, ISBN 978-3-15-015323-9 .

Film adaptations

In the feature film Fronttheater (1942) Barnhelm scenes are shown repeatedly. The film ends with a reconciliation between the main actors ( Heli Finkenzeller and René Deltgen ) as part of a performance in Athens .

Radio plays

Web links

Individual evidence

  1. ^ Hugh Barr Nisbet: Lessing. A biography. Munich 2008, p. 445: "Minna arrived the evening before."
  2. ^ Gotthold Ephraim Lessing: Works 1767–1769 . In: Lessing. Works and letters . Edited by Wilfried Barner et al., Vol. 6. Ed. By Klaus Bohnen, Frankfurt am Main 1985, pp. 861f.
  3. Erich Schmidt: Lessing. History of his life and his writings . Vol. 1, 3rd reviewed edition, Berlin 1909, pp. 462–497.
  4. ^ Benno von Wiese: Lessing. Poetry, aesthetics, philosophy . Leipzig 1931, pp. 40-48.
  5. ^ Emil Staiger: Lessing: Minna von Barnhelm . In: Staiger: The Art of Interpretation , 4th edition, Munich 1977, pp. 63–82.
  6. Hinrich C. Seeba: The love of the thing. Public and private interest in Lessing's dramas . Tübingen 1973, pp. 10-28 and 65-85.
  7. Helmut Arntzen: The serious comedy. The German comedy from Lessing to Kleist . Munich 1968, pp. 25-45.
  8. ^ Karl S. Guthke: History and poetics of the German tragic comedy . Göttingen 1961, pp. 32-43.
  9. Peter Michelsen: The concealment of art . In: Michelsen, The restless citizen. Studies on Lessing and the literature of the 18th century . Würzburg 1990 (first 1973), pp. 221-280.
  10. Detailed in Günter Saße: Love and marriage. Or: How the spontaneity of the heart relates to the norms of society. To Lessing's “Minna von Barnhelm”. Tübingen 1993, pp. 63-86.
  11. ^ Gotthold Ephraim Lessing: Works 1767–1769 . In: Lessing. Works and letters . Edited by Wilfried Barner et al., Vol. 6. Ed. By Klaus Bohnen, Frankfurt am Main 1985, p. 86, lines 19f.
  12. Gisbert-Ter Nedden gives a summary of objections to Michelsen: The Stranger Lessing. A revision of the dramatic work . Edited by Robert Vellusig, Göttingen 2016, pp. 246–250.
  13. Gisbert Ter-Nedden: The foreign Lessing. A revision of the dramatic work . Edited by Robert Vellusig, Göttingen 2016, pp. 241–309. (Page information according to this edition, in each case in the text without the author's name in brackets)
  14. Since Michelsen's Die Verbergung der Kunst , 1973, it has been undisputed that Tellheim is not "pudgy", as Schwanitz still believes in 1999, but that he has been charged with a crime of bribery, embezzlement and breach of trust (p. 246) , thus, according to the general bourgeois view, could not possibly marry.
  15. Michelsen does not recognize this combination in its conceptual meaning either, although Lessing explicitly refers to both dramas (inter alia in IV / 6 and V / 11; so Ter-Nedden 2016, p. 258f.)
  16. This injustice would, however, argues Ter-Nedden, only be a stroke of fate that always threatens human life and is therefore not worthy of tragedy for Lessing.
  17. This is important because of Lessing's principle of causality, without which there is no possibility of knowledge for the thinking and compassionate recipient.
  18. Their engagement rings bring Minna and Tellheim together again (thanks to the landlord, see II / 2) and, as a result of the ring intrigue, temporarily separate them (V / 10 and 11).
  19. To explain the ring intrigues critics, Ter-Nedden admits that Lessing's pieces are “coherent and compelling” as a construction on the conceptual level, but not “on the level of psychological empathy” (p. 302). Turk 1993, pp. 525f. sees the psychological probability preserved in Minna's ring-intrigue-escalation (see Horst Turk, Action in Conversations or Conversation in Actions?, in: Wolfram Mauser (ed.), Streitkultur , Tübingen 1993, pp. 520-529).
  20. See e.g. B. - particularly strongly simplifying - Dietrich Schwanitz, Bildung , Frankfurt am Main 1999, p. 235.
  21. Fick 2016, p. 280.