Friedrich von Schiller (1759-1805) was a leading German poet, and a philosopher of freedom. Schiller's work exemplifies the highest standards of ethics and the ideal of the truly educated, multilingual citizen of the world.
Schiller devoted himself not only to self-determination and freedom but also to the brotherhood of all people. The French Revolution borrowed many of Schiller's ideas for its declarations of freedom. Schiller was then made an honorary citizen of France.
His first drama, Die Rauber, was published in 1781. It was performed the next year and its revolutionary appeal gained immediate success. Among Schiller's best-known works is An Die Freude, (Ode to Joy), later set to music by Ludwig van Beethoven in his Choral Symphony. The dramatic trilogy Wallenstein (1796-99) was set in the tumultuous period of the Thirty Years War. The historical drama Maria Stuart (1800) was about Queen Elizabeth I of England and the last days of Mary Queen of Scots, when she was held captive in the Castle of Fothernghay. In Wilhelm Tell (1803), about the Swiss hero of that name, Schiller paid tribute the dignity of men living close to nature. - "The mountain cannot frighten one who was born on it."
In 1791 he was forced to give up his professional duties because of illness. In the 1790s Schiller wrote philosophical poems and studies about philosophy and aesthetics. He assisted Goethe in Weimar in the direction of the Court Theater by adapting many plays for that stage. Schiller died on May 9, 1805, at the age of 46 in Weimar.
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