Amadeus Essay 7

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The 1984 film, Amadeus, is a movie based on the life of 18th century composer, Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart, and his relationship with fellow composer and musician Antonio Salieri. The film is based on a play by Peter Shaffer, narrated by Salieri from a mental institution several years after Mozart’s death. Although the film is based on a historical character, there are many inaccuracies concerning Mozart’s relationships with his peers among the more truthful portrayals. That is why the relationship between Mozart and Salieri is so documented and featured. The mystique of the 18th Century caused writers to treat musicians like celebrities and any instance of drama was news. Mozart and Salieri was a gentle competition to many people, but to some it was a hated rivalry that ignited the love of classical music from fans. I will explore the relationship between these two composers dealing with the similarities and differences between Amadeus and what happened in real life.

The film portrays Mozart and Salieri as rivals, with Salieri living in a jealous state of mediocrity. Shaffer himself claims that the film was not completely based on fact; the story of Mozart and Salieri was based on the biblical story of Cain and Abel. The story of Cain and Abel is one of two brothers, one revered and one held in contempt, with Mozart as the metaphorical Abel, the revered brother, and Salieri as Cain, the scorned brother. Salieri is portrayed as a spiteful, competitive man, angry at Mozart for his popularity and success despite his unprofessional work ethic, while Salieri himself remains stuck in limbo. In the film, Salieri harasses Mozart incessantly, causing his rival to lose influence with the Emperor, attempts to seduce Mozart’s wife, Constance, and even pretends to be the ghost of Mozart’s father after he dies in an attempt to drive Mozart insane.

However, there is no evidence in real life to support this portrayal of the relationship between Mozart and Antonio Salieri. On...
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