Schiller: The Essential in 200 Quotes
On Love, Freedom, Statesmanship, History, Dignity and Reason More
Enlightenment in the German nations can only be described as extraordinary during the second half of the XVIIIth Century: amidst persistent wars between the European countries, people were presented with groundbreaking scientific and technical discoveries, and no less stunning advances in social and government sciences that would change their life forever.
And yet, in all aspects of the daily life, one finds only, here and there, submission and misery: apart from the very few people from nobility and clergy, apart from the opulent merchants and an handful of educated citizens; the vast majority of the people were living a miserable, dependent life, where the secular rights of the landlords were still prevailing: death sentence, censure, forced military enrollment, ban of all sorts, were applied regularly to city dwellers as well as peasants. In the middle of this dreadful situation, a small number of literate people, from all social standings would raise their voice to demand a better consideration of the human being, and a different use of government and state: the ideals of Enlightenment were put forward, and Frederick Schiller would fully embrace this movement.
The philosophical and political opinions of Frederick Schiller, throughout his long and diverse writing career, have all evolved, sometimes significantly. In these multifaceted interests lies the difficulty of capturing the essence of his legacy in few quotes for the general public.
Hence, concentrating only on the quotes from his last, sublime works would be simply preventing the reader from fully understanding his incredible personality, and even less the importance of his impressive literary legacy. There seems to be almost a logical thread in the evolution of his thinking, and this progressive maturation was intended to be reflected in the following 200 quotes.