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Theatre / Götz von Berlichingen

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Götz von Berlichingen is a 1773 play written by Johann Wolfgang von Goethe.

It is a (un)historical drama about the eponymous recalcitrant Franconian knight, mercenary and poet Götz von Berlichingen.

Tropes in the drama:

  • Artificial Limbs: Götz's 'Iron Hand'.
  • Cluster Bleep-Bomb: Most editions of the drama don't actually print its most famous line, featuring only a cryptic censoring hyphen in its place.
  • Cluster F-Bomb: "Kiss my ass" seems tame by modern standards, but in Goethe's day it was a calculated audience shock.
  • Driven to Suicide: Franz, Weislingen's squire, defenestrates himself from a castle window when overcome with remorse for poisoning his master.
  • Famed In-Story: Götz is already widely known for his daring and fighting prowess by the beginning of the drama.
  • Handicapped Badass: Götz, as well as Sickingen, his ally and, later, brother-in-law who only has one leg.
  • Have a Gay Old Time: Adelheid calls Franz "warmer Junge" (=warm boy; nowadays people would wonder whether she called him gay).
  • Historical Hero Upgrade: Goethe's Götz is much more noble-minded than anybody could honestly believe of the real Götz, who was (however he may have sugarcoated it in his own memoir) ultimately a self-serving robber baron and mercenary with shifting allegiances.
  • Honor Before Reason: A prominent motif; Götz just cannot part from his ways or swallow his pride to submit to the "new era".
  • Meaningful Name: Metzler (reminds of Metzger/metzeln [butcher / to butcher]), Kohl (cabbage), Wild; also, the government bureaucrat Stumpf (dull).
  • My God, What Have I Done?: Franz, after poisoning his master on Adelheid's instigation, confesses, then jumps to his death from a castle window.
  • The Vamp: Adelheid, who perfidiously manipulates and corrupts Weislingen, and in the end inveigles his squire Franz (after seducing him) to poison his master.
  • Very Loosely Based on a True Story: The play deviates from history somewhat egregiously. Most obviously, Goethe's Götz tragically dies an early death as a middle-aged man while the real Götz lived to a (for the time, especially for a soldier and an amputee) biblical age of more than 80.

Alternative Title(s): Goetz Von Berlichingen