Essay on Appearance vs. Reality in Peter Shaffer's Amadeus

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Appearance vs. Reality in Peter Shaffer's Amadeus

In the world of the 18th century, appearance was everything; and appearance often conflicted with reality. Such is the case in Peter
Shaffer’s, Amadeus, which follows Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart’s musical career. Mozart’s career was enveloped in deceit and falsity, appearing to be brought on by poor choices he made, when all along he was being sabotaged by Salieri. When Mozart arrives in Vienna, Antonio Salieri pretends to welcome him. He even writes a welcome March for Mozart, to be played as the young, rebellious musician enters the court. However, Salieri hates Mozart from the beginning. Salieri is nice to Mozart’s face, and pretends to support his career to all
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So shameful I can hardly speak of it even now...A design -- childish, cruel beyond all justifying -- to hasten the man towards madness or even death. Unable to stop myself, I got me a cloack of grey -- yes -- and a mask of grey. And appeared myself to the demented creature as the figure from his dreams. Yes! I, Antonio Salieri, First Royal Kappelmeister to the Empire, stalked in this guise through the freezing night, into that dingy alley where he lived. Stationed myself beneath his window. And waited.” (Amadeus, 79)

Mozart sees him standing below his window, and invites the ghastly figure up to his room. Salieri begins “tramping up the stairs with feet of stone” and enters the place where Mozart lives. The poor musician is half-mad and ranting about his incomplete Mass. The conversation continues... “Mozart: ...Is it not good? Salieri: What else would it be? Mozart: Signore?...Signore...Salieri? Why? It’s a game, yes?...Good game!...Has it been you, all the time? Salieri: All the time: yes...All the time. Ten years. Ever since you came here. Ever since that moment in the library, when I first tasted it. Your sublime poison. Mozart: Poison? Salieri: We

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