Theatre / The Robbers

The Robbers is a drama by German playwright Friedrich Schiller. It was his first play to be printed and performed and became his breakthrough success.

Franz von Moor, second son of the old count, starts an intrigue against his older brother Karl, to become the heir instead. Also, he tries to hit on Karl's Love Interest Amalia. Meanwhile Karl, with some nudge from his buddy Spiegelberg, decides to join a band of robbers and becomes their captain (he hopes to become someone who helps the weaker, like Robin Hood). Things escalate soon.

You can read the English translation here.


  • Anti-Hero: Karl is a Well-Intentioned Extremist. Spiegelberg is a Hero In Name Only.
  • Bastard Bastard: Hermann, whom Franz uses in his schemes.
  • Beauty Equals Goodness: Or rather, Evil Equals Ugliness. As in the case of Franz Moor, who lampshades it when he laments his bad looks, referring in an un-PC way to his "negro lips" and "Hottentot eyes".
  • Blood Oath: Karl swore it.
  • Bring My Brown Pants: Spiegelberg and his men break into a nunnery to rape the nuns. Afterwards, Spiegelberg brags how some nuns "put their cells under water".
  • Child by Rape: Spiegelberg brags how his men left the nuns "a souvenir".
  • Damn It Feels Good To Be A Robber: The robbers sing a song at the campfire.
  • Defector from Decadence: Karl. "I am disgusted with this age of puny scribblers when I read of great men in my Plutarch."
  • Disproportionate Retribution: When Roller, a member of the robbers, is caught in a city, they liberate him, burn down the city and kill 83 people.
  • Downer Ending: Karl confesses to his father that he's become leaders of the robbers, which kills the old man. Franz already has committed suicide. Amalia is willing to forgive Karl, but being a robber, he can't live together with her, so she begs him to kill her then, which he does. Then, Karl decides to turn himself in.
  • For the Evulz: Spiegelberg
  • Hollywood Atheist: Franz is one of the evil kind.
  • I Gave My Word: Karl swore an oath to death to his robbers, so he can't return to a normal life.
  • I Have No Son: Their father to Karl. Which makes the latter so desperate that he agrees to become a robber.
  • I Want Them Alive: Karl doesn't want Franz to get killed.
  • Kick the Dog: Franz treats Daniel, loyal old servant of the family, like shit.
  • Love Interest: Amalia. She loves Karl, but Franz also wants her. Making it a triangle #4.
  • Manipulative Bastard: Franz fakes letters from Karl and badmouthes him (accusing him to be a rapist and a killer) constantly to Amalia and their father, so that he'll disinherit Karl.
  • Meaningful Name: Edelreich, Amalia's last name, consists of the German words for "noble" and "rich". Schufterle (one of the robbers) means "little scoundrel".
  • Monologuing: Franz does it several times.
  • My God, What Have I Done?: Karl
  • Old Retainer: Daniel
  • Quote Overdosed
  • Rape, Pillage, and Burn
  • Realistic Diction Is Unrealistic:
  • The Starscream: Spiegelberg would have preferred to lead the robbers himself. He eventually gets killed by a loyal robber.
  • Villain's Dying Grace: Karl is arguably a villain, but he decides to let a poor guy with eleven children bring him (Karl) to justice, so the poor man will get the thousand gold coins which are the prize on Karl's head.