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The Late Dramatic Works of Arthur Schnitzler

Series:

Brigitte L. Schneider-Halvorson

A thorough interpretation of Schnitzler's dramas, published after World War I, shows a distinct development toward maturity. This can be seen in the complexity of his characters, especially women who manifest personal freedom of choice in their lives. The idea of equating «home or returning home» with «love» is new and indicative of the maturing process. The theme of age or aging is interpreted differently. Recurring «Leitgestalten» and «Leitmotive» emphasize Schnitzler's process of ethical and moral revaluation in his late dramatic works. Contrary to common assumptions, these dramas continue to demonstrate the importance Schnitzler's as a dramatist.
Contents: The key issues raised in Die Schwestern oder Casanova in Spa concern the principle of polarity in both characters and incidents in their lives, complexity of human nature, question of fidelity in terms of «Heimkehr» or «Wiederkehr», acceptance of individual responsibilbity. The constellation of Eros-Krieg-Märchen/Imagination and its various triangular combinations seen in Komödie der Verführung crystallize Schnitzler's key ideas and concerns. The idea of freedom forms an important aspect in Der Gang zum Weiher. It is connected to the question of responsibility and commitment, and willingness to accept these premises. It is in light of a person's inner search that Schnitzler's latest drama Im Spiel der Sommerlüfte gains in value and deserves more recognition. The answer to the question: «Sind wir ein Spiel von jedem Druck der Luft?» depends upon strength of character to maintain its identity and govern the intensity of one's life experience.