“Und eine Freiheit macht uns alle frei!” Das Polyptoton in Schillers Freiheitsdenken



By means of an analysis of the rhetorical figure of the polyptoton (a trope in which a word is repeated in a different grammatical form), this study pursues the understanding of freedom that emerges in Schiller’s aesthetic writings of the 1790s, particularly in Die ästhetische Erziehung des Menschen. Instead of subsuming freedom under one overriding concept, Schiller’s thought is guided by a polyptotic model of autonomy that allows for a plurality of distinct freedoms that are referenced by, but not reducible to, one another. This pluralistic approach to freedom is a unique contribution to the history of thought and distinguishes Schiller not only from Kantian Idealism, but, more importantly, from Hegelian dialectics. In his plays Wallenstein, Maria Stuart, Die Jungfrau von Orléans, Die Braut von Messina, and Wilhelm Tell Schiller radically scrutinizes and problematizes this polyptotic structure of freedom and, thus, increasingly overcomes the antagonism that destroys his heroes and heroines, moving instead towards an admittedly precarious, but also liberating, socially and politically meaningful balance of autonomies. (MEA; In German)

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