Friedrich von Schiller

(November 10th, 1759 — May 9th, 1805)

Johann Christoph Friedrich von Schiller was a German poet, philosopher, physician, historian, and playwright. Despite living for only 45 years, Schiller and his close friendship with Goethe left a lasting legacy. Their intellectual ideas eventually led to Weimar Classicism.

Schiller was the only son of a military doctor. He also studied to be a doctor himself, spending much of his life trying to cure himself of his various illnesses. He began writing after gaining the attention of Karl Eugen, Duke of Württemberg, while being educated in the military school the duke had founded.

His first play, The Robbers, premiered while he was in a military doctor position. To attend the performance, he left the regiment without permission and was sentenced to fourteen days in jail. He was also forbidden to write again.

After that incident, he fled to Weimar, where he was appointed as a professor of History and Philosophy. In 1788, Schiller began a complicated and close friendship with Goethe. Goethe eventually convinced him to return to playwriting. The two of them brought a renaissance to German playwriting.

In 1802, Schiller was ennobled, which added the ‘von’ to his name. In 1805, he died of tuberculosis.


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