Book Review: Egmont by Johann Goethe

Egmont by Johann Goethe
Egmont by Johann Goethe

Title: Egmont

Author: Johann Goethe

 Genre: Plays, Classics, and German Literature

 Publisher: Gutenberg Project

 Published: 1788

 Page Amount: 62 pages (On The Kindle)

 Blurb From Goodreads: In Egmont, Goethe relates the fight of Count Egmont (1522-1568) against the despotic Duke of Alba. Egmont is a famous Dutch warrior and the Duke of Alba represents the Spanish invader. Though under threat of arrest, Egmont refuses to run away and give up his ideal of liberty. Imprisoned and abandoned because of the cowardice of his people, and despite the desperate efforts of his mistress Klärchen, he is sentenced to death.” [Taken from Wikipedia because Goodreads was terrible and didn’t have a blurb]

Why Read: I honestly do not have a good answer when it comes to stating why I read Egmont. On a normal basis, I don’t read plays. I also do not usually read books that were written in the 1700s. But there’s a first time for everything, and if it at all matters- I’m glad I began with Egmont. 

Review: It was the first play I had read in a long time, Egmont. It will not be the last play I read. I think it surprised me how much I enjoyed it. The old speak, and the dialogue that goes on for a page and a half – the monologues! There is so much to love about older plays, the ones that take their time in finding the plot and uncovering the scheme. Egmont was 5 acts, but rather short.

If I had to choose a favorite character, it would probably be Egmont’s friend – William of Orange. Basically the only smart character in this whole play, he has this earnestness about him that is infectious. Egmont is written in the time of the Spanish Inquisition and how a town in the Netherlands was chosen to be the first to see their rights taken away piece by piece.

The interlocking tales, whether it be Egmont’s capture and his lover Clara, the Regents’ fear, Alva and his quick takeover, or the peasants who had such loyalty to the crown, created this fantastic environmental-like effect that led me to treat it more as a novel than a book.

As with any book really though, there were issues I took with it. Egmont is old-fashioned, so many of the jokes or not-jokes that they stated were lost on me. I know that is no fault of the play itself, but really the whole situation of the play was difficult to follow. Without the blurb at the beginning (which I’m not entirely sure was a part of the play or added on the part of the Gutenberg Project), I would not have been entirely certain what I was reading about – which is always an issue.

However, despite that – Egmont was fun. Really. It’s a great read for anyone looking into reading a play that is quite short but entertaining to say the least. Give it a read!

Rating: 4.4/5 Stars

Review Coming Soon: Doctor Sleep by Stephen King

 

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