Essay about The Virtues in Sinning: Analysis of Peter Shaffer’s Amadeus

Why am I here? What does this all mean? What is my destiny? Where is God? These are questions we ask during our lifetime, questions of discernment that unlock not only the truth about ourselves, but our perception of God. Even as time passes, these questions remain and we are drawn to answer them not by words but the way we live our lives. Still one should not doubt that God also plays a prevalent role in who we are to become and and recognize that even if we choose to deny God’s existence he will play a role within our ruin. Similar to 1830’s play Amadeus, we are introduced to Court Composer, Antonio Salieri, a once virtuous man now fallen from grace due to his continuous sin. After his disappointing encounter with Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart, Salieri comes to realize the true nature of his work and how, despite his virtuous life, he will never be as talented as his counterpart. Within Peter Shaffer’s play Amadeus Salieri wages a war against God through His “believed” disciple, Mozart; after Salieri’s discontent he is quickly engulfed by the deadly sins of greed, lust & gluttony, and pride using them to prove that it is possible for Man’s actions on earth are greater than God’s virtues.

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Initially, Salieri’s transition into the annihilation of his faith came through his acknowledgement of the musical virtues Mozart had been given over him (by God); through this Salieri begins to transform from a virtuous man to a man rising from jealousy to a being actively pursuing his greed. In the beginning of his life, Salieri had adored and devoted his life to God through his given talents and passion of music, and through this he lived a chaste life of a catholic man, able to appreciate and give thanks for the abilities he had been given. Ho…

…ior vows and his new found denial of God’s authority. From simple sweet cakes to vicious murder, Salieri’s transition into his fall from grace is seen as one of the vital plot points of the play, which are due to the copious amounts of relatable questions and desires people face even now. In leaving behind his pursuit for a righteous lifestyle, Salieri weakens and gives into his malicious intent through sin. He believed that in order to attain the attention he deserved from a higher being, he would have to discard the vows he had promised Him, replacing them with indulgences of fine foods, women, and raising himself above God on earth. In the war between good and evil, Salieri battled with God for power and authority, but his actions proved that no bad deed goes unpunished.

Works Cited

Shaffer, Peter. Peter Shaffer’s Amadeus. New York: Harper & Row, 1981. Print.


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