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Extra info for Grillparzer’s Libussa: The Tragedy of Separation
286), she moves openly in the world. ) Primislaus, walking as she rides, pays homage to her - she is literally more exalted (altus equals high; cf. " ) - but he leads the way or retains control. Historians have hypothesized that the association of the aristocracy with height to signal social distinction may be derived from the nobleman's affiliation with the horse, which he alone could afford and from whose back he could talk down to the peasant. The aristocrat is the "Eioberer" and the peasants "ihm unterworfen" (Kautsky, 12).
Despite Libussa's endeavour to minimize her deliverance at his hands, he persists in seeing it as granting him some right over her. Not only is he determined to remind her of this 20 Act One debt to him, but he also desires to retain a token as a means to discover her identity. "11 Tradition depicts a woman's virginity as her most precious and most carefully guarded jewel (cf. Rhodope's diamond in Gyges und sein Ring). 12 In an effort to downplay his offence, he stresses the jewel's relatively minor material merit but does concede its human worth: "wohl nicht reich zumeist, / Allein bepragt mit Bildern und mit Spriichen" (69-70).
125). Obviously accustomed to having their own way, they show no hesitation to resort to the typical male expedient, force: "Sie miissen uns vernehmen, sei's mit Zwang" (132). Another of Domaslav's assertions inadvertently exposes their true priority: "Doch frommt es uns, es frommt dem ganzen Land" (129). What comes first in this spontaneous utterance is their own self-interest, then, as an afterthought, the good of the country. In their arrogance and egotism they associate their own well-being with that of the nation and, when thwarted, resort to sexist disparagement: "der Grund geniigt, / Dafi man den Schlummer stort, in dem ein Weib sich wiegt" (141-2).