Nathan's Hate. On the Reception of Lessing's Nathan the Wise in Contemporary Drama
- Prof. Dr. Martina Wagner-Egelhaaf
- Doctoral Subject
- Graduate School Practices of Literature
- Doctoral Degree
- Dr. phil.
- Awarded by
- Department 09 – Philologies
Nathan’s Hate: On the Reception of Lessing’s Nathan the Wise in Contemporary Drama. In current times, the religious violence and hatred that manifests in, for example, anti-Semitic, far-right or Islamist attacks, play a huge role in political and social discussions. Considering this, the enlightened play Nathan the Wise by G.E. Lessing is as relevant today as it was during the 18th century. Accordingly, current dramatists are giving renewed attention to Nathan’s story although they are reframing the characters and plot within many different settings. Nevertheless, one thing the contemporary plays generally do have in common is that they contrast the established picture of Nathan as a play of tolerance, reconciliation and love by giving space to hatred and violence between their characters. This emotional focus reflects a phenomenon that is occurring in public discourse with increasing frequency as terms like ‘hate comment’, ‘hate crime’, ‘hate preaching’ or ‘hate speech’ seem to serve as diagnosis of a present social state. This project examines the emotional dynamics of love and hate between the characters in both Lessing’s drama and in current plays. The analysis explores the productive and receptive tension between the current plays and their literary model and seeks to explain how the texts are embedded within current emotional and religious discourses.