Heinrich von Kleist: Amphitryon

(1994 words)

Kleist's second published play, Amphitryon (1807), is described on its title-page as “a comedy after Molière”. With this designation, Kleist not only invites his readers to compare the work with Molière's play of the same name, but also to place it within a particular comic tradition. Kleist deftly blends a range of comic elements – from sexual references and coarse jokes to misrecognitions and heavy dramatic irony – but the play is far from a conventional comedy. Amphitryon raises a series of hefty theological and philosophical issues and places its characters in a situation of profound self-doubt, to the extent that their sanity and sense of self are tested to the extreme. To be sure, the play …

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Griffiths, Elystan. "Amphitryon". The Literary Encyclopedia. First published 17 May 2005
[http://www.litencyc.com/php/sworks.php?rec=true&UID=13125, accessed 29 September 2016.]