Beast and angel

  • William Stafford


According to this story, Mozart was Caliban and Prospero rolled into one, homme supérieure and Erdenkind:

In Die Zauberflöte this double life is brought to clearest expression. Mozart is Tamino, who strives for Pamina, the symbol of the highest humanity. But at the same time he is Papageno, the natural man, the Pantagruel … The fundamental idea of the whole is the conflict between the earthly and heavenly powers in men, hence the problem we investigate in Amadeus’s double life.1

The thesis of the split personality is the major theme of Schurig’s biography. First published in 1913, it was to have a considerable influence. Its image of a man constantly wrestling with inner contradictions seemed a salutary counter to sickly-sweet nineteenth-century portrayals. Saint Mozart could only be shallow as a man and an artist: Schurig’s Mozart had aesthetic and psychological profundity. Einstein’s well-known study of 1945 follows Schurig: ‘There is a strange kind of human being in whom there is an eternal struggle between body and soul, animal and god, for dominance. In all great men this mixture is striking, and in none more so than in Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart’.2


Good Friend Money Matter Psychological Profundity Coarse Humour Dress Rehearsal 
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© William Stafford 1991

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  • William Stafford

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