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Tutor


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AT: The Advantages of Private Education A: Jakob Michael Reinhold Lenz Pf: 1778, Hamburg Pb: 1774 G: Com. in 5 acts; German prose S: Insterburg, Heidelbrunn, Halle, Leipzig, and Königsberg in Germany, 18th c. C: 14m, 9fLäuffer becomes tutor to the children of Major von Berg, whose daughter Gustchen is in love with her cousin Fritz. When Fritz is sent away to university, Gustchen gives herself to Läuffer and becomes pregnant by him. She leaves her parents and hides in the home of an old lady, where she gives birth to her child. Läuffer also runs away and assumes a false identity as a schoolteacher. He is discovered by Major von Berg, who shoots at him, wounding him in the arm. Consumed with guilt, Läuffer castrates himself. Gustchen tries to drown herself, but is providentially saved by the arrival of her father. All ends happily. Fritz, who has also endured serious problems, even being imprisoned for helping a friend, will marry Gustchen, and Läuffer is fortunate in finding a peasant girl who is willing to marry him despite his emasculation.

AT: The Advantages of Private Education A: Jakob Michael Reinhold Lenz Pf: 1778, Hamburg Pb: 1774 G: Com. in 5 acts; German prose S: Insterburg, Heidelbrunn, Halle, Leipzig, and Königsberg in Germany, 18th c. C: 14m, 9f

Based on a historical incident, The Tutor is one of the major plays of the Sturm und Drang (‘Storm and Stress’). Within the framework of a conventional comedy, even including a resolution through the discovery of the parentage of one of the minor characters, Lenz addresses serious contemporary issues – in this case the dangers of ignoring the romantic and erotic impulses of the young. Lenz's play is innovative in many respects: the realism of the language and situations emphasize its social concern (seen also in his next best-known play, The Soldiers, pub. 1776), the structure is episodic (under the influence of Shakespeare), and the ‘comedy’ ventures into areas of the grotesque, as in the self-castration by Läuffer. Brecht adapted the play in 1950.

Subjects: Literary Studies (Plays and Playwrights).


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