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Encyclopedia > Maria Stuart (play)

Mary Stuart is a play by Friedrich Schiller based on the life of Mary I of Scotland. The play is subdivided in five acts and each act is divided into several scenes. The play had its première in Weimar, Germany on June 14, 1800. Friedrich Schiller Johann Christoph Friedrich von Schiller (November 10, 1759 – May 9, 1805), usually known as Friedrich Schiller, was a German poet, philosopher, historian, and dramatist. ... Mary I of Scotland (Mary Stuart) (December 8, 1542 – February 8, 1587), better known as Mary, Queen of Scots, was Queen of Scots, monarch of the Kingdom of Scotland, from December 14, 1542 – July 24, 1567; and Queen Consort of France from July 10, 1559 – December 5, 1560. ... For the locality in Texas called Weimar see Weimar, Texas, there is also Weimar bei Kassel and Weimar in Marburg-Biedenkopf. ... June 14 is the 165th day of the year in the Gregorian calendar (166th in leap years), with 200 days remaining. ... 1800 (MDCCC) was an common year starting on Wednesday (see link for calendar). ...

Plot summary

Mary Stuart is nominally imprisoned in England for the murder of her husband, but the real reason is her claim to the throne of England as rightful heir. While Mary’s cousin, Queen Elizabeth I, is hesitant about signing her death sentence, Mary is hoping for a reprieve. After she finds out that the nephew of her custodian is on her side, she entrusts her life to Mortimer, who is supposed to give Earl of Leicester a letter from Mary in which she asks him for help. This is a delicate situation because Leicester seems to be a supporter of Queen Elizabeth. After numerous requests, Mary is finally granted the opportunity to meet Queen Elizabeth (something that, in reality, never happened). This meeting ends in an acrimonious argument because of Mary's unwillingness to submit entirely to Elizabeth's will. It now seems as though there is no longer hope for a successful reprieve. Complicating matters further, Mortimer tries to forcibly free Mary from prison, but when his attempt fails he commits suicide. Finally, Queen Elizabeth allows herself to be persuaded to sign Mary’s death sentence. Elizabeth insists that the only reason for signing the death decree is the pressure from her people to do so. She hands the signed paper to her undersecretary Davidson without any clear instructions on what he is supposed to do with it. In so doing, she transfers this burden of responsibility to him, certainly realizing that he will hand over the decree to Lord Burleigh, guaranteeing Mary’s death. Burleigh demands the signed document from Davidson, who - despite his uncertainty - eventually hands it to him. Mary is executed as a result. Elizabeth I, (7 September 1533 – 24 March 1603) was Queen of England and Queen of Ireland from 17 November 1558 until her death. ...

Important characters

  • Queen Elizabeth
  • Mary Stuart (Queen of Scotland)
  • Earl of Leicester (Robert Dudley)
  • Earl of Shrewsbury (George Talbot)
  • Lord Burleigh
  • Wilhelm Davidson (undersecretary)
  • Amias Paulet (Mary’s custodian)
  • Mortimer
  • Hanna Kennedy



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