Amadeus Essay

At the age of the Enlightenment, Antonio Salieri becomes the most triumphant musician in the city of Vienna, however, without any warning his harmonious universe comes to an utter halt. Salieri’s absolute faith in the world, in himself, and in God is all at once diminished by this spontaneous child composer. When the two opposite ends meet, there emerges a fury, a rage, and a passion in Salieri to sabotage the boy that has secured Salieri’s deserved God given talent; to destroy the one pubescent child that has made him so mute and naked now in a world of discordance. Salieri’s entire reputation and boyhood prayer to attain fame thus rests on his ability to annihilate that child prodigy, Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart.In analyzing the two composers, Salieri and Mozart, there is a distinct line that clearly divides them. Salieri’s operas receive astounding receptions, making them the “talk of the city,’; shaking the roofs, buzzing the cafes, and even the name Salieri “sounds throughout all of Europe’; (2,3). The reason for Salieri’s success, as well as many musicians of the eighteenth century, is because they have become enslaved by the well-to-do and hence are “no better than servants’; (1,3). This applies especially to the king. For example, in Amadeus, His Majesty forbid any ballet in his operas. Imperial commands such as this are not to be interpreted in any way, in other words, they are to be merely obeyed without any dispute. Since operas tend to the needs of the high society in order to obtain recognition, the operas must communicate through the language of the nobility, that is, Italian. In addition, since the majority of the audience is made up of the upper class, the subject matter of the operas must consist of elevated themes. Such as, mythological heroes, kings, and queens, and so forth. According to the eighteenth century view, operas are supposed to be a sublime and an aggrandizing art. The elevated subject matter is then chosen in order to venerate and honor the nobility. It’s purpose is to “celebrate the eternal in man’; says Van Swieten (2,4). Meaning that there is an element in a noble person that lasts without any end, like God who is immortal. God represents the everlasting and the eternality of existence, thus God gives inspiration to operas that…

…n do now is to die. And so he does. Although Mozart does suffer loss, the loss of his life and career, and is somewhat responsible for his downfall, he does not evoke sympathy or recognition. However, it is Salieri who contains all four elements of a tragic hero. Salieri loses practically everything he has faith in before Mozart appears. He suffers from the loss of dignity, esteem, and honor. Salieri also recognizes something he has never felt before, that is the “pain as I had never know it,’; (1,5), the pain from the beauty and delight of Mozart’s music. Thus, recognizing the limitations of his own talent, the mediocrity of his talent compared to the genius works of Mozart. He grows an awareness of disharmony in the universe that he has never encountered. Salieri clearly is culpable of his own tragedy. He is the Court Composer, his works are respected throughout Europe, and because he is not stupid, he does not say he is the better composer. Instead, he is the minority who actually appreciates Mozart’s music. There is definitely sympathy for Salieri, in that all human beings can work as hard as they want to at something and can still fail miserably.

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