As a result of the work of Friedrich Schiller, one of Germany’s greatest literary figures, the Swiss legend was given a new lease of life and was presented to theatre audiences throughout Europe.
It is clear from the plot that Schiller paid careful attention to historical sources and developed the little material available, investing his hero with a profound humanity. In keeping with historical facts, Schiller’s Tell does not share the stage with the founding fathers of the Old Confederation.
Schiller stresses the danger – in the shape of Habsburg empire – threatening an unspoiled rural society living in an idyllic setting. Published at a key time in French revolutionary expansion under the leadership of Napoleon, the text immediately assumed great political importance.