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Danton's Death
Bundesarchiv Bild 183-Z0420-027, Berlin, "Dantons Tod".jpg
1981 Berlin production of "Dantons Tod"
Written by Georg Büchner
Characters Georges Danton
Camille Desmoulins
Lucile Duplessis
Marie-Jean Hérault de Séchelles
Maximilien Robespierre
Louis de Saint-Just
Thomas Paine
Fabre d'Églantine
Louis-Sébastien Mercier
Jean-Marie Collot d'Herbois
Jacques Nicolas Billaud-Varenne
Bertrand Barère de Vieuzac
Date premiered 1835; premiered 1902
Original language German
Setting French Revolution, Reign of Terror

Danton's Death (Dantons Tod) was the first play written by Georg Büchner. Research for the play started in late 1834 and he completed a first version of the complete script in five weeks during 1835.

The play follows the story of Georges Danton, a leader of the French Revolution, during the lull between the first and second terrors. Georges Danton created the office of the Revolutionary Tribunal as a strong arm for the Revolutionary Government. With this, to be accused of anything real or imagined was to be condemned to death without trial, proofs, evidence, or witnesses. Within months he knew this power was a terrible mistake and fought to have it ended. Robespierre stopped him and used the Tribunal to have Danton and all opposition killed, consolidate his power and slaughter uncounted thousands of French men, women, and children. Ultimately he followed Danton to the Guillotine. Witnesses describe Danton as dying bravely comforting other innocents executed with him.

Danton's Death was lost for more than sixty years and did not receive its premiere until 1902 – long after Büchner's death.

Contents

References

Critical studies in English (since 1997)

  • (the MLA database lists 50 critical studies of this play since 1967)

as . 319-33 ALSO IN: Theatre Topics, 1998 Mar; 8 (1): 73-91.

  1. Rhetor7 Spring; 23 (1): 24-38.
  2. 'Les Peuples meurent, pour que Dieu vive': Gertrud Kolmar's Consecration of the Protagonists in the Drama of the French Revolution. By: Justus Fetscher. IN: Hüppauf, War, Violence, and the Modern Condition. Berlin, Germany: de Gruyter; 1997. pp. 317-42

See also

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