Johann Wolfgang von Goethe: Clavigo: Ein Trauerspiel [Clavigo: A Tragedy]

(1803 words)

Clavigo, written in one week in May 1774 in response to a challenge from Goethe’s “pretend wife” Susanne Magdalene Münch and the first work published under Goethe’s own name, is based on an inset in part four of Pierre Augustin Caron de Beaumarchais’ Mémoires: Fragment de mon voyage d’ Espagne. Beaumarchais’ self-serving account reports a true event in his life. José Clavijo y Fayardo had defaulted on a promise of marriage to Beaumarchais’ younger sister Marie-Louise in 1764. Coming to her aid in Madrid, her brother threatened Clavijo with legal action and lodged a complaint with the Spanish king, who released Clavijo from his official position at court. The tragic conclusion …

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Dye, Ellis. "Clavigo: Ein Trauerspiel". The Literary Encyclopedia. First published 12 June 2008
[, accessed 28 September 2016.]