THESIS: Amadeus is a fictionalized account of the relationship between Mozart and Salieri. Mozart is shown as an exceptional musician considered today by some to be the greatest of all geniuses in his field having knocked out compositions for assorted solo instruments, opera and symphonic orchestras by the time he was thirty-five years old. Salieri was a talented composer and, had Mozart never lived, he albums might have been available for sale today. I. The film Amadeus is fairly accurate although it exaggerates and oversimplifies and appears to take greatest warrant in the area which is central to the film, the relationship between Mozart and Salieri. II. The relationships of both Mozart and Salieri to life, music and creativity shed some light on the questions raised with respect to the relationship between God and man, although at times that light is confusing and contradictory. Amadeus: Mozart and Salaieri
The genius Mozart and the frustrated Salieri and their turbulent relationship are the centerpieces of the film, but the setting of Vienna itself at the hectic end of the eighteenth century is also a character. It is an era of great creative turbulence but one which nevertheless did not take easily to Mozart's brilliant compositions. The talented but conventional and limited Salieri, on the other hand, was favored by those with the power to elevate artists to heights of fame. The film delves into this struggle of Mozart's for recognition in an allegedly Enlightenment-oriented Viennese society, and in doing so is certainly not far from accurate. Mozart and his family were needy due to absurdly low fees for his teaching, the neglectful public who did not understand or appreciate his operas, the businessmen who cheated him. The film is not truly biographical with respect to either man. While Salieri, the narrator, does straightforwardly cover the early life of his rival, that period is far less crucial than the final ten years of Mozart's life which the film focuses on. That early life depicts Mozart as a musical prodigy, touring with his father Leopold (a great influence in his life) and sister through Europe, his ample and liberal education, and his first serious compositional operatic effort in music. In keeping with Mozart's commitment to individuality (one aspect of the Enlightenment), he began to show more independence from his father's influence later in life. For example, Mozart married a woman in defiance of his father's wishes in Vienna. More importantly than choice in women to Mozart, however, was his artistic and creative freedom. In a letter to his father from Vienna, at roughly the beginning of the ten year period covered in the film, Mozart expresses bitter disappointment at his father's protest against his son's angry denunciation of the Archbishop ("I hate the Archbishop to madness!") and his resignation at Vienna. All of these basic facts of Mozart's life are roughly accurate as is the portrayal of Salieri as a man who is generally more favored by the Viennese, especially the elites. The greater favor Salieri receives does not gratify him, however, because he knows Mozart is the better composer. The film begins to stray into exaggeration when it zeroes in on its true concern--the last decade of Mozart's life in Vienna and his relationship with Salieri. Although the film portrays the two as virtually battling composers locked together in life and destiny, Mozart's letters recognize a rivalry but mention Salieri only a few times and then with dismissiveness. The greatest inaccuracy seems to be in the most compelling and important part of the film in which Mozart dies from Salieri's hand after dictating his final work to his rival. In reality, it appears that this murder, in effect, is a storytelling fantasy for dramatic purposes. Davenport states that the murder was a vicious rumor which, unlike what we see in the film, Salieri vociferously denied: "No human...
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