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Theatre / Kabale und Liebe

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Kabale und Liebe (Intrigue and Love) is a play by German author Friedrich Schiller, which he published in 1784. The plot: Ferdinand von Walter, son of the president (not what you may think of - he's a nobleman having this position at the court) is in love with Luise, daughter of the musician Miller, and vice versa. But their parents are against their connection, since he is a nobleman and she is bourgeoise. The president plans to marry his son with the mistress of the reigning duke, Lady Milford, which would expand his own influence at court greatly. Ferdinand isn't happy with this and plans to run away with Luise. While the young lovers can solve the first problem – Lady Milford genuinely loves Ferdinand, but forfeits after meeting Luise – the president starts the eponymous intrigue: he has Luise's parents imprisoned and forces her to write a love letter to Marshal Kalb. Then he makes sure that Kalb "accidentally" loses the letter, and Walter will see it. Things don't end well.


Also turned into an opera by Giuseppe Verdi as Luisa Miller, with a libretto by Salvatore Cammarano.

The play contains examples of:

  • Arranged Marriage: Ferdinand (Rodolfo) and Lady Milford (Federica). They don't make it to the altar.
  • The Atoner: Lady Milford gives up her position as a mistress and becomes a simple worker. The president is willing to confess his crimes.
  • Blame Game: Ends with this.
  • The Chessmaster: The president makes a plan to manipulate everyone, so things will run as he wants. He doesn't expect that his son is willing to poison himself and Luise if they can't have their love.
  • Domestic Abuse: The musician constantly insults his wife and threatens to beat her up. His bark may be worse than his bite, but still.
  • Elopement
  • Faux Affably Evil: Wurm, especially around Luise. He softly tells her that she should have courage and that time heals all wounds – after telling her of her parents'/father's imprisonment and forcing her to write a fake love letter, effectively ruining her romance with her beloved.
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  • Have a Gay Old Time: Kalb calls the president "Mein Süßer" (my sweetie). Today he would come along at least as Camp Straight.
  • I Want My Beloved to Be Happy: Lady Milford.
  • Love Triangle: Two intersecting ones: Ferdinand loves Luise, and she loves him. But Lady Milford also loves Ferdinand, and Wurm wants Luise.
  • Manipulative Bastard: The president, Wurm. Kalb and the musician become their willing tools.
  • Meaningful Name: We have the secretary Wurm (worm) and the marshal Kalb (calf). A von Bock (buck) is also mentioned.
  • Romanticism Versus Enlightenment: Luise and Walter belong to the former, their opponents to the latter. (Strictly speaking, romanticism wasn't invented yet, but Sturm+Drang is the legitimate predecessor.) Both sides create misfortune: The president by using everyone else, even his son, as his pawns; Ferdinand, because he's so overwhelmed by his feelings that he is willing to kill Luise and himself.
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  • Serious Business: Even after many years, Kalb is still angry because his competitor Bock had picked up the garter a lady lost at a party, which he (Kalb) had definitely seen before him! And that bastard also had dared to touch his wig!
  • Upper-Class Twit: Kalb, oh so much.
  • Uptown Girl: Ferdinand von Walter, son of an aristocrat, is in love with Luise, daughter of the musician Miller, and vice versa. But their parents are against their connection, since he is a nobleman and she is bourgeoise.
  • Villains Never Lie: Ferdinand immediately falls for the intrigue and believes that Luise really loves the other guy.
  • The Von Trope Family: The von Walters.
  • Yes-Man: Wurm.

Alternative Title(s): Intrigue And Love