Masters Thesis

The Tale of Two Cities: the representation of the city in Peter Shaffer’s Amadeus

This paper analyzes the representation of the city in Peter Shaffer's play Amadeus. The competitive conflict between the characters Antonio Salieri and Wolfgang Mozart of the play, two classical composers competing for the adulation of Emperor Joseph II, the late eighteenth-century ruler of Vienna, indirectly reveals interactions relevant to the relationship humans have to their city. These considerations fall under two of Carl Schorske’s conceptualizations of the eighteenth and nineteenth-century European city, the “city as virtue” and “city as vice.” Thus, the conflict between Salieri and Mozart will illustrate the nature of industry, art, and competition in relation to Schorske’s two concepts of the city, manifested in the play, while offering a new interpretation of Shaffer’s work.