Throughout most of his prolific writing career, Goethe engaged with the musico-dramatic genre of the Singspiel. A close examination of Goethe's Singspiel project reveals that almost all of these works involve the performance of a therapeutic experience for couples about to enter into marriage (or already in a troubled marriage). With the emergence of the educated middle class in the eighteenth century came a shift from the arranged marriage to the love match, which consequently led to a new patriarchal mode of marriage. This phenomenon resulted in a profusion of unhappy and unsuccessful marriages and generated concern that the perpetuation of society was at risk. Against the background of the history of Singspiel, the new science of psychology, and new conceptions of therapy and aesthetics, this dissertation shows how Goethe uniquely uses and adapts the conventions of Singspiel to address this perceived crisis between the sexes in the hope of healing the rift. Within the context of Weimar's Liebhabertheater, Goethe had considerable freedom to experiment with a variety of approaches to this issue. In several cases, Goethe specifically sought to intervene in the troubled marriage of Weimar's Duke and Duchess. Even as Goethe's interventions in the ducal marriage proved to be unsuccessful, he realized that Mozart's Die Zauberflote was dealing with the very same issues and perhaps more successfully, at least in a symbolic sense. Transitioning from an understanding of Singspiel as therapy to Singspiel as ceremonial ritual, Goethe not only produced Die Zauberflote repeatedly on the Weimar stage, but he also inspired to embarked on a sequel. Goethe became convinced for a time that the only way to heal the rift in society was to confront the crisis of marriage symbolically.
Source: Dissertation Abstracts International, Volume: 70-10, Section: A, page: 3870. Adviser: Simon Richter. Thesis (Ph.D.)--University of Pennsylvania, 2009.