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Friedrich Schiller: Maria Stuart

About Mary Stuart, and in her own words

  Mary Stuart, 1586-87 to her cousin the duke of Guise
For myself, I am resolute to die for my religion. . . With God's help, I shall die in the Catholic faith and to maintain it constantly. . .without doing dishonour to the race of Lorraine, who are accustomed to die the sustenance of the faith.

Mary Stuart in response to the pre-trial disputation
I am myself a Queen, the daughter of a King, a stranger, and the true kinswoman of the Queen of England. I came to England on my cousin' promise of assistance against my enemies and rebel subjects and was at once imprisoned. . . . As an absolute Queen, I cannot submit to orders, nor can I submit to the laws of the land without injury to myself, the Kind my son and all other sovereign princes. . . . For myself I do not recognize the laws of England nor do I know or understand them as I have often asserted. I am alone, without counsel, or anyone to speak on my behalf. My papers and notes have been taken form me, so that I am destitute of all aid, taken at a disadvantage.

Elizabeth in a letter to Mary
You have planned in divers ways and manners to take my life and to ruin my kingdom by the shedding of blood. . . .I never proceeded so harshly against you; on the contrary, I have maintained you and preserved you life with the same care which I use for myself . . But answer fully and you may receive greater favor from us.

Mary at her trial

  • "Ah, here are many counselors, but not one for me."

  • "I do not deny that I have earnestly wished for liberty and done my utmost to procure it for myself. In this I acted from a very natural wish."

  • "Can I be responsible for the criminal projects of a few desperate men, which they planned without my knowledge or participation? "

  • "My advancing age and bodily weakness both prevent me from wishing to resume the reins of government. I have perhaps only two or three years to live in this world, and I do not aspire to any public position, especially when I consider the pain and desperance which meet those who wish to do right, and act with justice and dignity in the midst of so perverse a generation, and when a whole world is full of crimes and troubles. "

  • "I do not desire vengeance. I leave it to Him who is the just Avenger of the innocent and of those who suffer for His Name under whose power I will take shelter. I would rather pray with Esther than take the sword with Judith."

Mary Start on being show her death warrant
I thank you for such welcome news. You will do me great good in withdrawing me from this world out of which I am very glad to go.

Mary Stuart
Well Jane Kennedy. . Did I not tell you this would happen?. . . I knew they would never allow me to live, I was too great an obstacle to their religion.

Antonia Frasier

It was Mary's triumph that by her deliberate behavior in the last months of her existence, she managed to convert a life story which had hitherto shown all the elements of a Greek tragedy—disaster leading ineluctably to disaster—into something which ended instead in the classic Christian manner of martyrdom and triumph through death. This transfiguration in the last months of her life, which has the effect of altering the whole balance of her story, was no fortunate accident. The design was her.

 (zit. n. Court Theatre Chicago, 16.07.02)


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