Cultural Activity


Peter Shaffer’s play Amadeus gives a deeply fictionalized version of the lives of two composers known as Antonio Salieri and Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart. The play was first performed in 1979, and it was inspired by Alexander Pushkin’s short 1830 play known as Mozart and Salieri. The Amadeus incorporates a high significant use of music from known composers such as Salieri and Mozart, as well as many music composers of that period. The openings of Mozart’s operas known as the Abduction in the Seraglio, Don Giovanni, The Marriage of Figaro, and The Magic Flute are used as the soundtracks of most of the crucial scenes of the play.

The Plot of the Play

The play starts with Salieri, an old man who has outlived his exploits and fame, speaking directly to the members of the audience telling them that he assassinated Mozart using poison. The audience is then taken back to the eighteenth century, where both men Salieri and Mozart meet and adore each other. Salieri is in awe of Mozart’s compositions prowess and he is very thrilled to meet a man of great talent. Salieri is, however, disappointed when he gets to know the man, as he discovers that he is a plain person without the charm and charisma many see in his compositions (Stephen, 2015). Salieri is unable to reconcile the boring and plain man in front of him and the talented musician he has listened to in a long period. Salieri a staunch Christian cannot believe that the God he believes in so profoundly could bestow such a talent to a plain individual like Mozart, instead of a kind and charismatic person like himself. He vows to get back to God by killing Mozart. Salieri does not kill Mozart but he tries to humiliate him and destroy his reputation (Cochrane, 2014). He fails to acknowledge Mozart’s talent and in turn, the people fail to recognize him. He ends up attempting suicide to be remembered for something. 

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Three Main Characters in the Play

The three main players in this play are Salieri, Mozart, and Mozart’s wife. One of the scenes in part two of the play happens when Salieri wants to embarrass Mozart by demeaning him in front of his wife. He speaks to him in a condescending attitude. He wants to show him that even though he is talented, he is still a nobody in his eyes and that with time, he Salieri will come up with songs that will be more popular than Mozart’s. 

Another scene happens immediately after that, and it follows the same script where Salieri who has not attained anything of significance in his life treats Mozart the talented composer with contempt. In both of these scenes, both Mozart and Salieri are wearing expensive looking clothes (Stephen, 2015). They are dressing like the upper-class people of society of that time – in long coats, trousers tacked in long looking socks, and black and expensive looking shoes. Mozart’s wife, on the other hand, is elegantly dressed. She is wearing a pink looking dress that flows seamlessly on her body. Her hair is well kept and she looks elegant (Cochrane, 2014). 

My overall reaction of viewing this play is that some people may be envious of others’ talents and they may try to bring them down. This is never possible if one is keen on achieving their goals through hard work. 


Cochrane, L. (2014). Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart: A Biography. Chicago, IL: University of

Chicago Press, 2007

Stephen, F. (2015). Amadeus. New York, NY: Limelight Editions, 2011

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