November 18: Things I DIdn't Know About William Tell

Old-school parenting.

• He apparently did not exist.

• But if he had existed, the reason he shot the apple off his son's head, according to Schiller, was because he was made to do so by an evil colonial official.

• This led to Swiss independence because people finally saw how evil colonial officials are:
Rud. My people I forsook—renounced my kindred—
Broke all the ties of nature, that I might
Attach myself to you. I madly thought
That I should best advance the general weal
By adding sinews to the Emperor’s power.
The scales have fallen from mine eyes—I see
The fearful precipice on which I stand.
You’ve led my youthful judgment far astray,—
Deceived my honest heart. With best intent,
I had well-nigh achiev’d my country’s ruin.
• This example has not deterred colonial adventures in the centuries since. (Actually I did know that, but not in reference to William Tell, so it counts.)

• Tell's son went willingly to his post of being shot at, which only shows that the younger generation hasn't gotten any more reckless since the 14th century.

• Apparently in Switzerland the country people all talk in unison, in a manner reminiscent of The Plain People of Ireland:
Country People (surrounding TELL). Our last remaining comfort goes with you!
• I'm aware that this is a crappy moldy translation, but nevertheless I am of the opinion that William Tell would be small potatoes and not in the Harvard Classics if it weren't for Rossini's overture, which should give all the budding lyricists out there a reminder of which is more important, the words or the music.

1 comment:

Lisa Simeone said...

And here I was all set to post something pithy about Rossini. Then I finished reading.