Table of contents:

Summary of Lessing's tragedy "Emilia Galotti"
Summary of Lessing's tragedy "Emilia Galotti"

The work "Emilia Galotti" by G.E. Lessing, a famous playwright of the Enlightenment, tells the story of a young and proud girl who became the object of the prince's desire.

The plot of the drama is taken from the famous ancient Greek tragedy "Virginia". However, the author transferred the action of the tragedy in due time, into the context of court intrigues more understandable for the people of the 18th century.

Is it worth reading the summary of G. Lessing's "Emilia Galotti"? The summary will allow you to learn about the history of Germany in the Enlightenment and about the struggle with the word of the famous writer. In a retelling or review, you can find a common plot, but not the pleasure of reading a classic.

G. Lessing. Talented playwright

The future writer Gotthold Ephraim Lessing (1729-1781) was born into a family of a priest. In the city of Kamenets, Saxony. In 1746, at the insistence of his father, he enteredto the Faculty of Theology. But the theater attracted him, and he soon dropped out and performed with a traveling theater troupe; dabbled in playwriting.

Gothold Lessing eventually became a reformer of the German theater. In 1753-1755. published the first collected works, these plays were immediately put on popular performances.

The author criticized the desire for the French classics of German theatergoers, opposed stoic idealism. In general, it was very popular in its time. But even now in Germany there are performances of him, and people bring flowers to his monument.

History of writing. From idea to realization of the novel

The tragedy of "Verginia" was originally described by Titus Livy in the third volume of the history of Ancient Rome. It described the story of how the public figure Appius Claudius wished to make the daughter of a simple plebeian his concubine. But the girl's father, realizing the inevitability of the shame and humiliation of Verginia, in despair killed his daughter in front of the crowd. And thus provoked a massive revolt against the patricians, which was crowned with the victory of the people.

G. Lessing and his plays

German playwright G. Lessing was inspired by this idea and decided to write a similar work. In which the honesty and courage of the common people would defeat the insatiable demands and privileges of the ruling class. In the Middle Ages, in Lessing's native country, just like in Rome, the oppression of the ruling elite did not allow his subjects to breathe.

The play was published and read for the first time before the public on March 13, 1772. The public saw a number of unambiguous hints in historyon intrigues in the circle of the elite and was very inspired by Lessing's message to rebel against injustice.

Lessing wrote his play for almost 15 years. He tried to make his characters as realistic and congenial as possible to the people.

"Emilia Galotti". Summary

The action takes place in Italy in the XVII century. Crown Prince Hettore Gonzaga discovers his love for General Galotti's daughter. And he has already fallen out of love with his former passion, Countess Orsina. When he learns from his chamberlain about Emilia's wedding to Count Appiani, he and Marinelli prepare a plan to kidnap the bride.

death of Virginia

Marinelli organizes an attack by robbers on the carriage in which Emilia and Count Appiani are going to their wedding. During the attack, the count is killed, and Emilia is kidnapped and brought to the courtyard. Prince Gonzaga organizes an investigation into the attack, while he himself keeps Emilia in his chambers and does not let her go anywhere.

General Galotti comes straight to Gonzaga's residence and demands justice. But he does not want to know about anything, and wants to accuse Emilia herself of having ordered the murder of the groom herself in collusion with some lover. Emilia's father does not want to see her daughter's shame, Emilia herself demands to take her life, and Odoranto Galotti himself stabs her daughter with a dagger.

Lessing "Emilia Galotti". Play analysis

The problem of the play lies in the clash of emotions and reason, Emilia's high ideals and reality. But also on the pages of the work there is a strong conflict between two layers of society: the high nobility and the courtiers. FatherEmilia is on bad terms with the prince, he has already married his daughter to the noble Count Appiani.

However, the prince fell in love with a beautiful girl, seeing her only once at the ball, and then in the artist's painting. The spoiled and headstrong young man made it his goal to bring her to the palace, if necessary, even by force. The prince here is shown from a very bad side. His character portrays all the depravity inherent in the upper class.

theatrical productions of the present

The heroine is described quite a bit. Her character lacks brightness. She rather acts as an immaculate victim, there are no other colors in her image. Emilia's father is an image of perfect courage and justice. He is incorruptible, it is impossible to intimidate him. The prince does not love this man, as he cannot be lured into a net. This person is alien to the principles of court indulgence to the desires of the royal court, the desire to gain power and we alth.

The main conflict of the work lies in the tyranny of the prince, which is opposed to the honesty, purity and nobility of Emilia Galotti. Summary may not always show the true character of the characters. You can't rate a character based on a short review. It may also contain positive features that are revealed to the reader in a diary or memoirs. However, here the heroes are unambiguous. The Prince is a true scoundrel, Odoardo Galotti is a respectable family man and father, and Emilia is a victim of a scoundrel.

The intensity of passions comes to a peak when Emilia is taken to the palace and an investigation is appointed, until the end of which she can neither escape nor seerelatives. Dramatic denouement - the murder of a girl; like Verginia, she was killed by her own father.

Lessing's works

This play is one of those that brought Gotthold Lessing to the pinnacle of fame. Also known are his works "Nathan the Wise" and "Minna von Barnhelm".

Drama Timeline

The time of action in the drama "Emilia Galotti" is the 17th century, the place is the city of Guastalla in Italy. According to the chronotope, the drama can be attributed to medieval novels, in which the key factors in the plot are always someone's intrigues.

Popularity of the play

After being translated into Russian by Karamzin in 1788, the play gained immense popularity in Russia. And even in our time, performances in theaters are still successful, and the audience is waiting for new productions.

The play "Emilia Galotti" takes place in theaters around the world in different interpretations, but with the preservation of the essence of the idea.


How can you rate a classic that has stood the test of time? It is interesting and well thought out, composed according to all the laws of the German classical drama.

Nikolai Karamzin. Interpreter

The play is easy to read, the intrigues of the Count and Prince Hettoren woven into the plot do not allow the reader to relax and leave the book unfinished. The work "Emilia Galotti", reviewed by Nikolai Mikhailovich Karamzin himself, still excites the feelings and minds of readers, and causes genuine tears at the denouement of the drama.

Screenings.Audio Plays

The work "Emilia Galotti" has been filmed more than once with the advent of cinema in our reality. The year of release of the first tape is 1913, then the second film was released already in 1958, directed by Martin Helberg (GDR). Modern productions - 2002 and 2005.

Emilia production

The 2005 film Emilia starred Peter Pagel and Regina Zimmermann.

Recorded plays are very popular right now. An audio performance performed by famous actors and actresses is available on disc.

Audio performance based on the play

Everyone who has read the Play "Emilia Galotti" will enjoy the audio performance. Of course, some dialogues are shortened, the atmosphere cannot be fully conveyed only by sound, but it is also very interesting to see the idea of ​​drama as the author of this particular production saw in his imagination.


As a writer, an artist known in many countries, Lessing got into the famous collections of quotes. His writings, like many other writers, are often broken up into short sentences so that people can think about the meaning of what was said and get ideas without reading the whole volume.

For example, we know the expression said by the prince to the artist:

The grin should not turn into a grimace.

Hettore talked about his ex-lover like this, hinting that her behavior and feelings are completely fake.

Is it really not enough that sovereigns, unfortunately for everyone, are people like everyone else? Do the devils have to pretendtheir friends?

The play should be read thoughtfully. This is largely a philosophical thing, not just a love story. There are also famous quotes from the book about the share of kings, about the fate of women, about the power of law and lawlessness. And, of course, the essence of love.

The unfortunate are so readily attached to each other.

The art of drama. Lessing's plot

What is the uniqueness of the play "Emilia Galotti"? The summary will not convey the beauty of the style and the obvious talent of the writer. The plot is correctly "woven", all the characters are interconnected; the actions of the characters are indeed dictated by either circumstances or character structure, as appropriate.


So, Lessing's five-act play "Emilia Galotti" is a real work of art that has not lost its popularity even after 200 years. Lessing is still respected and appreciated in Germany as a playwright and a person who made the German theater a national treasure.

Our story about Emilia is also quite well known to fans of theatrical skills. New productions are staged from time to time, new actors are involved. The plot of the work is taken from the history of Rome. The prototype of Emilia was the Roman Virginia, whom the famous politician also wanted to make his mistress, but she and her family opposed this. Despite the old plot, which is not so popular nowadays, the audience is still happy to come to watch the drama, and they are happy to meet new television productions.

Popular topic