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The significance of the nature element in literary art is 
too well recognized to demand a special defense here. Professor 
Camillo von Klenze's comprehensive resume^ of the books and 
articles dealing with the nature-sense, supplemented by Miss Rey- 
nolds' bibliography and review in the introduction to her large 
work on "The Treatment of Nature in English Poetry between 
Pope and Wordsworth,"^ show how the subject has continued to 
occupy the attention of literary critics ever since the appearance 
in 1794 of Schiller's Essay "tjber die naive und sentimentale 
Dichtung". The reason for this interest, explained at some 
length in that standard work of Alfred Biese's, "Die Entwick- 
elung des Naturgefiihls im Mittelalter und in der Neuzeit"; 
(1888), has been summed up in one sentence by Professor von 
Klenze in his article entitled "The Treatment of Nature in the 
Works of Nikolaus Lenau."^ He says "An artist's attitude! 
toward nature, whether his medium be language or line and color, 
is the subtlest expression of his individuality." Corroboration 
of this is found again and again in statements made by nature 
lovers themselves. Walt Whitman hints at it parenthetically in 
the following description of the sea : 

"The attractions, fascinations there are In sea and shore! 
How one dwells on their simplicity, even vacuity! What 
is it in us, arous'd by those indirections and directions? That 

* von Klenze, Journal of Germanic Philology, II ( 1898) , pp. 239 ff . 

^ Myra Reynolds, The Treatment of Nature in English Poetry (Chicago. 
1909), pp. XV ff. 

To these lists should be added Grillparzer as a Poet of Nature, by Faust 
Charles de Walsh (New York, 1910). 

' The University of Chicago Press— Decennial Publications. First Series, 
(1903). VoL VII, pp. 20. ff, 



4 Nature Background in Dramas of Gcrhart Hauptntann 

spread of waves and gray-white beach, salt, monotonous, 
senseless — such an entire absence of art, books, talk, ele- 
gance — so indescribably comforting, even this winter day — 
grim, yet so delicate looking, so spiritual — striking, emo- 
tional, impalpable depths, subtler than all the jx)ems, paint- 
ings, music I have ever read, seen, heard. (Yet let me be 
fair, perhaps it is because I have read those poems and 
heard that music.)"* 

This man, though he loved nature so jealously that he made 
his outdoor notes upon the scenes which they describe and left 
them "impromptu", as he says, so afraid was he of "dropping 
what smack of outdoors or sun or starlight might cling to the 
lines" admits more positively and directly in the following para- 
graph the importance of the subjective element: "Nature con- 
sists not only in itself, objectively, but at least just as 
much in the subjective reflection from the person, spirit, age, 
looking at it, in the midst of it and absorbing it — faithfully sends 
back the characteristic belief of the time or the individual, takes 
and readily gives again the physiognomy of any nation or litera- 
ture — falls like a great elastic veil on a face or like the molding 
plaster on a statue."^ 

No thorough study has yet been made of the nature element 
in modem naturalistic literature. As a beginning of such an 
investigation in the field of German literature this phase of 
Hauptmann's dramatic art will be analyzed in the following chap- 
ters. This selection by no means implies a necessary belief in 
the immortality of Hauptmann's dramas. They have been 
chosen primarily because they represent in their entirety a pecu- 
liarly significant record of the various tendencies of the natural- 
istic period. The necessity of emphasizing the truth of this 
statement may justify a review, in brief outline, of the evolution 
of naturalism in Germany and of its expression in the dramatic 
art of Hauptmann.^ 

* Walt Whitman, Specimen Days, p. 88 (Small, Maynard & Co., Boston, 

"Walt Whitman, Poetry To-day in America, p. 290 (Boston, 1901). 

* The following review lays no claim to originality. It is to be found in 
fuller form in the various histories of German literature which include this 

Nature Background in Dramas of Gerhart Hauptmann 5 

The battles that raged during the early eighties in the literary 
centres of Berlin and Munich in the revolt against the old prin- 
ciples of literary art resulted, at least in Berlin, in a victory for 
Arno Holz's theory of consistent naturalism. While, of course, 
a result of various influences such as those of Tolstoi, Dostoievski, 
Bjomsen, Strindberg and Ibsen, this theory was based most 
directly on the principles of Zola. And Zola, it will be remem- 
bered, showed an interesting inability to keep his own personality 
out of his professedly naturalistic novels, so that while advocating 
in theory that the material for a novel should be collected and 
presented in exactly the same way as that of a botanist or a 
zoologist, he was nevertheless constantly pronouncing moral judg- 
ments and expressing indignation at wrong and sympathy with 
the distress that he depicted. In his famous definition of art he 
admits this personal element by adding to the statement that 
"art is a corner of nature" the significant modifier, "seen through 
a temperament".'^ Holz, however, while starting out with Zola's 
definition, insisted on a more radical elimination of the per- 
sonality. "Die Kunst" he said "hat die Tendenz, wieder die 
Natur zu sein. Sie wird sie nach Massgabe ihrer jeweiligen 
Reproductionsbedingungen und deren Handhabung."^ And not 
only did Holz promulgate this theory of the reproduction of an 
atomistic and mechanical world by the most exact scientific 
methods, excluding all possibility of style that implies selection 
and rearrangement of details, but he attempted to put the theory 
into practice in the series of sketches called Papa Hamlet and a 
drama Die Familie Selicke. 

It was this theory and its illustration that Arno Holz pre- 
sented to Hauptmann in 1889. Up to this time the creative genius 
of this young artist had been groping for the proper form of 

period. Cf., for example, A. Soergel's Dichtung und Dichter der Zeit (Leip- 
zig, 1911). Buch I. An excellent summary is to be found in Ludwig 
Lewisohn's introduction to The Dramatic Works of Gerhart Hauptmann, 
Vol. I, pp. ix-xxxvii. 

' "Une oeuvre d'art est un coin de la creation, vu a travers un tempera- 
ment." Proudbonet Courbet in Mes Haines — Causeries htteraires et artisti- 
ques. Paris, 1866 (New Ed. Paris, 1880, p. 2.) 

'* Arno Holz — Die Kunst, ihr Wescn und ihrc Gcsctzc (Berlin, 1891), p. 

6 Nature Background in Dramas of Gerhart Hauptmann 

expression. The artistic impulses which had been evident from 
his childhood, in his tendency to fanciful dreaming, in his pas- 
sionate love for music, in his fondness for sketching and for 
writing poems and fairy tales, had led him first to the study of 
sculpture, then to acting, and finally to serious writing. In 1885 
he had published his first work, the formless romantic Byronic 
poem Promethidenlos, in which he gave expression to his sympa- 
thy with wretched humanity and to his longing for the light of 
heavenly beauty. This same idea was the basis for his collection 
of dreamy, visionary poems. Das Bunte Buck (1885). "Wie 
eine Windesharfe sei deine Scele, Dichter! Der leiseste Hauch 
bewege sie. Und ewig miissen die Saiten schwingen im Atem 
des Weltwehs; denn das Weltweh ist die Wurzel der Himmels- 
sehnsucht. Also steht deiner Lieder Wurzel begriindet im Weh 
der Erde; doch ihren Scheitel kronet Himmelslicht." 

And it was still the same idea that found expression in the 
short story Bahnwdrter Thiel (1887). By this time, however, 
his study of the natural sciences and particularly of Darwin's 
teachings, his reading of Zola and his contact with the Berlin 
group of literary critics had combined to turn him to a partial 
use of the naturalistic method. Already favorably disposed to 
naturalism, then, he became a ready convert to the extreme prin- 
ciples of Amo Holz, who, during his visit in Niederschonhausen, 
read to him sketches from Papa Hamlet, depicting without 
reserve the most repulsive features of poverty, filth, and lewdness. 
The significance of this incident in Hauptmann's literary career 
is proved by the often quoted dedication of Vor Sonnenaufgang, 
dated July 8, 1889: "Bjame P. Holmsen dem konsequentesten 
Realisten, Verfasser von 'Papa Hamlet' zugeeignet in freudiger 
Anerkennung der durch sein Buch empfangenen entscheidenden 
Anregung." j 

Upon the foundation of Holz and Schlaf's consistent nat- 
uralism Hauptmann developed the new dramatic form. It had, 
of course, to modify the severity of Holz's ruling concerning 
the absolute elimination of selection and arrangement of -detail, 
but, as Lewisohn says, "it sought to rely as little as possible upon 
the traditional devices of dramaturgic technique. There was to 

Nature Background in Dramas of Gerhart Hauptmann 7 

be no implication of plot, no culmination of the resulting struggle j— ( ' 

in effective scenes, no superior articulation on the part of the Oo« 
characters. A succession of simple scenes was to present a sec- 
tion of life without rearrangement or heightening. There could 
be no artistic beginning, for life comes shadowy from life; there 
could be no artistic ending, for the play of life ends only in 
eternity. . . . Since its fables are to arise from the imme- 
diate data of life, it must equally emphasize the significant factor 
of those common things amid which man passes his struggles. 
And so the naturalistic drama was forced to introduce elements 
of narrative and exposition usually held alien to the genre. 
Briefly, it has dealt largely and powerfully with atmosphere, 
environment and gesture; it has expended the stage direction 
beyond all precedent and made of it an important element in 
dramatic art."® , 

Such, in general, is the keynote of the naturalistic drama QJUuoLitot (MLu'i£J 
which prevailed for a period, and according to which Hauptmann, /{«> (1 h^i I t^c 
in addition to Vor Sonnenaufgang (1889), wrote Das Friedens-' a^d u>x.(-u^feuo 
fest (1890), Einsame Menschen (1891), Die Weber (1892),' f^j^^tc^tLl. 
Kollege Crampton (1892), Der Biherpels (1893). 

But the absolute reign of this dramatic form, as is well 
known, was short. Dissatisfaction with the limitations of nat- 
uralism expressed, for example, in such an article as that by 
Dehmel in the Munich Gessellschaft in April, 1892, represented 
a feeling that was becoming general throughout Europe. Encour- 
aged by such varying influences as those of Brunetiere, Nietzsche 
and Anatole France a new period of idealism developed, mani- 
festing itself in various forms. Such dramas as Ibsen's The Wild 
Duck, The Lady from the Sea, Ghosts, and When We Dead 
Awaken call to mind the symbolistic phase of the movement, while 
the names of Maeterlinck, Strindberg, Rostand, suggest various 
types of romanticism in their recourse to the fantastic, the mystic, 
and the allegorical. In Germany, Ludwig Fulda's symbolistic 
play Der Talismann (1892) ushered in the new movement. 

The romantic tendencies of Hauptmann so long curbed by 
the rules of naturalism quickly responded to these impulses. Not 

•Lewisohn, Dramatic Works of Hauptmann, I, pp. xvin, xxv. 

8 Nature Background in Dramas of Gerhart Hauptmann 

venturing at first to break the rules which he had set for him- 
self he made use of the dream technique in Hannele (1893) as 
a device for presenting idealistic visions in poetic form. Then 
in 1896 appeared the frankly romantic play Die versunkene 
Glocke. In the meantime he had written the historical drama 
Florian Geyer (1896) and Elga (1896), a dramatization of 
Grillparzer's story Das Kloster bei Sendomir. The naturalistic 
influence, however, had not lost its power over the dramatist, 
for in 1898 appeared the naturalistic play Fuhrmann Henschel, 
and after the the Shakespearean imitation Schluck und Jau 
(1900) came two other naturalistic plays, Michael Kramer 
( 1900) and Der rote Hahn ( 1901 ). After the legendary, poetic 
drama Der arme Heinrich (1902) appeared the naturalistic Rose 
Bernd (1903) and the symbolic Pippa Tanst (1907). The 
romantic Die Jung fern von Bischofsberg (1907), the two 
legendary plays Kaiser Karls Geisel (1908) and Griselda (1908) 
were all followed by the naturalistic plays Die Ratten ( 191 1 ) and 
Gabriel Schillings Flucht (1912). The series closes with the 
pageant Festspiel (191 3) and the legendary drama Der Bog en 
des Odysseus (1914). 

And so the dramas of Gerhart Hauptmann, ranging from 
extreme naturalism to naturalism in poetic form or with sym- 
bolic interpretation and finally to pure romanticism, represent in 
their entirety the changing, uncertain spirit of the period. Yet 
fairness compels one to admit that the groping is chiefly for form 
of expression. Whether through "scientifically" accurate repro- 
duction of the world as it is, or through poetic description of a 
realm of the author's own creation, there is evident the constant 
/ subjective ideal of l^ettering the present environment. As Haupt- 
mann himself expresses it, it is the longing for beauty in its big- 
gest sense, "das Himmelslicht," for himself and for his fellow- 
men in exchange for physical and spiritual ugliness — "das Weh 
der Erde." 

It may, then, be a worthy subject of research to determine 
how far the nature element in the dramas of Gerhart Hauptmann 
reflects the attempts at objective, naturalistic methods on one 
hand and, on the other hand a tendency to pass beyond these 
limits to subjective and even poetic interpretation. , 


Hauptmann's Acquaintance With Nature. 

An investigation of the nature element in Hauptmann's 
dramas suggests preliminary consideration of the part the outdoor 
world has played in his own life. 

Both chance and choice have combined to keep Hauptmann 
in contact with nature. His homeland, Silesia, is a country of 
varied scenic interest. Obersalzbrunn, his native village, .was at 
the time of his birth one of the favorite resorts of the Riesen- 
gebirge. The large inn, *'Zur preussischen Krone", owned by 
Hauptmann's father, stood on a beautiful, green, wooded hillside 
surrounded by flower gardens. From promenades could be seen 
the Hochwald and the Sattlewald, the castle of Fiirstenstein with 
its spacious gardens and parks, and, farther in the distance, the 
Eulengebirge and the Zobten. In the Riesengebirge itself great 
peaks like the Schneekoppe and Brunberg, deep gorges, numerous 
waterfalls, dark abysses and bright valleys unite in producing a 
landscape of marked Alpine character. The mountains are 
thickly wooded. Oak and beech forests at the foot, silver firs, 
pines, and beeches on the slopes give beautiful coloring to the 
mountains in the various seasons. Toward the summit itself the 
underbrush is often so thick as to form almost impenetrable 
walls, while the peak itself is in some places a bare, rocky surface 
and in others a meadowland. 

In addition to mountain scenery Silesia presents various 

. other types of landscape. Green plateaus and the rolling or hilly 

surface of the coal regions extend to the east of the Oder, while 

toward the north and northwest lie the fertile plains of Lower 


The beauties of this country were not lost on the boy Haupt- 
mann. Schlenther tells, for example, that the village school- 
master took his boys out for long walks through meadow, forest, 
and field, over mountains and valley calling the attention of the 
boys to the songs of the birds, to the flowers and the grains, to 


10 Nature Background in Dramas of Gerhart Hauptmann 

the insects and the butterflies.^*' When the zealous teacher tried 
to make use of such opportunities for drill in Latin forms, Gerhart 
expressed his horror that such intrusion should be made on "God's 
free nature", — an incident which may argue as much for his 
appreciation of the beauties of the country as for his antipathy 
to Latin. When he had to leave his home to attend school in 
Breslau, "Der kleine, freie Prinz aus dem Quellenland"^^ felt 
as if he were shut up in prison, and when it became necessary 
to leave the city to go live with his uncle in the country he was 
the only one who was pleased. "Hinter ihm Staub und Stuben- 
dunst, vor ihm Luft, Licht, Leben."^^ Here, to be sure, Haupt- 
mann experienced a less delightful association with nature. "Das 
Werk des Landsmanns, der nachste Verkehr des kultivierenden 
Menschen mit der Natur war ihm in heisser Arbeit nahgetre- 
ten.-'^^ Evidence that it was none the less valuable can be 
found in the treatment of the background in "Rose Bemd".** And 
years afterward he himself wrote in his aunt's album : 

"Ick kam vom Pflug der Erde 
Zum Plug ins weite All — 
Und vom Gebriill der Herde a 

Zum Sang der Nachtigall."'^^ 

In general it is the charm of the Riesengebirge that has brought 
Hauptmann back again and again to his homeland. For years 
he had a home in the region, first at Schreiberhau and later in 
Agnetendorf where, in full view of the Riesengebirge, he spent 
at least his summers. 

In addition, Hauptmann has also had opportunity to view 
much of the more widely famed scenery of the world. In 1883 
he took his first Mediterranean trip. Sailing from Hamburg, 
he followed the coast to Spain, went by train along .the Riviera 
to Genoa, sailing from there for Naples, and later going on to 

"Paul Schlenther — Gerhart Hauptmann (Berlin, 1912), p. 6. 

" Paul Schlenther — Gerhart Hauptmann, p. 9. ' 

"Paul Schlenther — Gerhart Hauptmann, p. 11. 

*^ Paul Schlenther — Gerhart Hauptmann, p. 15. 

" Cf . page 48. 

" Paul Schlenther — Gerhart Hauptmann, p. 15. 

Nature Background in Dramas of Gerhart Hauptmann 1 1 

Rome. Driven home by illness, he returned the next summer 
and since then has spent many winters there. It was on 
the return from this second trip that he stopped at Hohenhaus 
near Zitzschewig in the Lossnitz valley. Here at the home of 
Marie Thienemann he enjoyed the splendid old garden with its 
linden and chestnut trees. In 1885 Hauptmann and his wife 
went to Berlin to live, but, because Hauptmann could not endure 
the city, they spent the summer in Riigen. Later he went with 
his second wife for several summers to Hiddensoe, an island 
which, as Schlenther puts it, "wie ein langer, diirrer Hecht etwas 
gekriimmt langs der Kiiste sich ins Wasser streckt".^® When in 
the fall of the year 1885 Hauptmann moved to Erkner, a suburb 
of Berlin, he lived in a house back of which, as his friend 
Bolsche says, "sich der Wald dehnte, ab tmd zu gebrochen vom 
blanken weissen Spiegel eines flachen Schilfsees, zu dem der 
Ufersand gelb wie Dukatengeld nieder quoll und aus dessen 
Moorboden die Ruderstange das Sumpfgas wie Selterwasserper- 
len stiess. Wachholder und Heidelbeeren und diirres Famkraut, 
Libellen und Schmetterlinge. Ein Spechtruf und sich jagende 
Eichkatzchen. Das war keine berauschende Landschaft, die man 
sehen musste, ehe man starb, aber immer doch eine Land- 
shaft."^'^ Schlenther speaks of Erkner situated by the lake and the 
pine forests as "das echte markisch-melancholische Idyll". ^^ This 
remained Hauptmann's home for four years, though he spent 
a few months in the summer of 1888 in Zurich, and in the 
fall went to Frankfort am Main. Toward Christmas he moved 
to Bergedorf near Hamburg and then in the spring of 1889 to 
Berlin. Since then he has revisited much of the country men- 
tioned. In 191 7 he went to Greece. Taking the steamer in 
Triest, he sailed along the Dalmatian coast to Brindisi, stopped 
for some time in Corfu and then continued on his way to Par- 
thos, Olympia, and Athens. This trip was followed immediately 
by one to America. 

" Paul Schlenther — Gerhart Hauptmann, p. 222. 

"Kummer — Geschichte der deutschen Literatur (Dresden, 1909), p. 628. 

" Schlenther — Gerhart Hauptmann, p. 30. 

12 Nature Background in Dramas of Gcrhart Hauptmann 

Evidence of Hauptmann's susceptibility to the various types 
of landscape is found in those writings which give best oppor- 
tunity for descriptions of nature. The little collection of poems, 
Das Bunte Buck ( 1888) has, like Promethidenlos, been kept from 
the public. Schlenther, however, to whom a copy was entrusted, 
tells us, "Eindriicke der ausseren Natur finden in kurzen, knap- 
pen, oft nur gestammelten, oft nur hingehauchten Lauten einen 
Widerhall im Gemiite des Dichters, der still seufzend beim Blat- 
terfall durch die Herbstnacht wandelt oder in Dammerlicht des 
Fohrenwaldes vor einem Jtinglingsgrabe weilt, Der Dichter 
vertieft sich in die Stimmungen der Selbstmorder, deren Geister- 
chor an den Grunenwald gegen die nahe Riesenstadt, ihre Verder- 
berin, flucht. Nacht, Nebel, Herbstwind, ein Schmetterling im 
Schnee, eine singende Lerche im Mondschein, schwache Hoff- 
nungen auf Licht and Lenz, das alles will zusammen stimmen in 
einen einzigen Sterbelaut."^® 

Again the finest nuances of the fir forest of Brandenburg in 
the radiance of the morning, in the glow of the setting sun, and 
the subdued light of the moon are reflected in various descriptive 
passages of Bahnwdrter Thiel.^^^ Der Apostel, in turn, gives 
repeated and enthusiastic expression to his love for Swiss scen- 
ery,^^ while in the longer novels there are constant allusions to 
the nature background. 

But the most convincing evidence of a genuine delight in all 
phases of outdoor nature is to be found in Griechischer Fruh- 
ling. Here in the spontaneous and sincere manner of a diary 
Hauptmann records his impressions of the richness of southern 
color, of the music of the birds and the breezes, of the fragrance 
of spring flowers and newly ploughed fields, of the beauty of 
little idyllic valleys and wide extended plains, of fine old 
gardens and groves, and of splendid Alplike mountains. Now 
he responds to the serious mood of the landscape, now to its 
wild, majestic appeal, and again and again he delights in the 
air of fantasy that seems to hover over the land. 

'* Schlenther — Gerhart Hauptmann, p. 38. 

*" Cf ., for example, Gesammelte Werke, Bd. 5, pp. 25, 29, 35, 42, 45. 

" Cf., Gesammelte Werke, Bd. 5, pp. 53 ff. 


Dramas With Outdoor Settings. 

The dramas of Gerhart Hauptmann have been divided for 
the purpose of this investigation into the following groups: 

(i) Dramas in which at least one act has an outdoor set- 
ting or an indoor setting that affords a view of landscape. 

(2) Dramas with indoor settings, which, while affording 
no actual view of landscape, show in a definite manner the effect 
of outdoor conditions. 

(3) Dramas in which the settings ificlude no definite out- 
door touch. 

To the first group belong : ( i ) Vor Sonnenaiifgang, (2 ) 
Einsame Menschen,. (3) Die versimkene Glocke, (4) Schluck 
und Jau, (5) Der arme Heinrich, (6) Rose Bernd, (7) Die 
Jung fern vom Bischofsherg, (8) Kaiser Karls Geisel, (9) 
Griselda, (10) Gabriel Schillings Flucht, (11) Der Bogen des 

The second division includes : ( i ) Das Friedensfest, 
(2) Die Weber, (3) Der Biberpelz, (4) Hannele, (5) Elga, (6) 
Fuhrmann Henschel, (7) Michael Kramer, (8) Der rote Hahn, 
(9) Und Pippa Tanzt, (10) Die Ratten. 

For the third group remain only three plays: (i) Kollege 
Crampton, (2) Florian Geyer, (3) Das Festspiel. 

A detailed study will be made of the nature element in the 
background of each play of the first and second groups in its 
chronological order and of the relation between this background 
and the action. Concerning the technique it is important to 
determine how far the exact, detailed stage direction character- 
istic of the naturalistic method is used, and how far the broadly 
suggestive direction which leaves the details to be revealed more 
or less vaguely by the dialogue or to be supplied by the producer. 
The degree of subjectivity revealed in the description will also 
be considered with the object of determining whether it is a 
photographic reproduction lacking all personal element, as 
demanded by the Holz theory, or a representation of a piece of 
nature "seen through a temperament," or a consciously subjective 
interpretation betrayed by direct comment upon the scene. This 


14 Nature Background in Dramas of Gerhart Hauptmann 

will involve a discussion of the aesthetic and emotional values 
and the relation of any emotional features discovered to the 
action or situation of the play. Finally, note will be made of 
changes in the background to accompany the action with the 
purpose of determining whether they are realistic changes de- 
manded by the lapse of time or mere artificial changes intro- 
duced for dramatic effect. 

Attention will also be paid to the reaction of the individuals 
to the nature background. This is expressed, sometimes in a 
permanent and definite influence upon the whole character, or, 
more often, in allusions to particular phases of the nature set- 
ting as a means of supplementing the stage directions, of indi- 
cating emotional temperament in general or a passing mood of 
the individual, or it may give expression to reflections upon the 
inner meaning of nature. 

The first play to be considered is Vor Sonnenaufgang in 
which Acts II and IV present outdoor scenes. In this drama 
written under the direct influence of Holz is to be found, as 
might be expected, the closest adherence to the naturalistic stage 
direction which leaves no details to be added by the persons in 
the play. A detailed description is given of the Krause farm- 
yard in Silesia. The exact arrangement of all the buildings, 
the garden, the arbor, the gateway and all the trees is prescribed 
in a diagram. To this Hauptmann adds the further information 
that it is four o'clock in the morning and that a pallid grey 
light is coming in through the gateway. Against the grey sky 
one sees the silhouette of Beipst sitting on the ground sharp- 
ening his scythe, the monotonous sound of which is all that is 
heard for a few minutes. When this stops, there follows an 
interval of "solemn morning silence," which is soon broken by 
the shouts of persons leaving the inn, the barking of dogs in 
the distance, and a loud, confused crowing of cocks. 

Certainly in relentlessly realistic detail of form, color, and 
sound this description leaves nothing to be desired. The ques- 
tion of the subjectivity disclosed yields interesting results. The 
first part of the description, given in diagram form, is necessarily 
objective in character. The phrase "feierliche Morgenstille" in 

Nature Background in Dramas of Gerhart Hauptmann 15 

the additional description gives the only suggestion of an ex- 
pression of interpretation and judgment. The purposed effect 
of the background, however, and its relation to the play leave 
little doubt concerning the play of "temperament." The ugly 
details depicted in the gloomy light of the hour before sunrise 
combine to produce a picture which matches in its sickly grey- 
ness the moral conditions of the Krause family as they are to 
be revealed in the act, where the father appears as a drunken 
beast and the stepmother a coarse and brutal woman, living in 
adultery with the man who is to marry her daughter. 

The change, indicated by stage directions, that takes place 
in this background during the course of the action is in itself a 
perfectly realistic one, namely the gradual change from the 
grey light of dawn into a deep red and finally into the full light 
of day. It is used, however, in a way that indicates a conscious 
effort to produce dramatic effect. At the moment when Loth, 
the idealist of the group, giving up as hopeless his attempt to 
interest old Beipst in the Utopian aims of the "Icarians" in 
America, looks out into the distance, the beauties of the awaken 
ing morning become visible. Through large fields of clover a 
brook winds its course, marked by alders and willows. A single 
mountain peak looms on the horizon. The larks appearing on 
all sides begin to trill, first in the distance and then in the yard 
itself. No one speaks during this interval, until Loth rises with 
the remark that one ought to go walking on such a beautiful 
morning. This is obviously an arrangement of the scene to 
emphasize the contrast between the ugly physical details of the 
Krause home and the nature scenes beyond, and, further, to 
symbolize the contrast between the ugliness of the Krause stand- 
ards and the beauty of the ideals of the young reformer Loth. 

In Act IV the same background is used in much the same 
way. The realistic details of the farmyard scene, including the 
activity of the farm workers are carefully depicted in the accom- 
panying stage directions. 22 The love scene naturally takes place 
in the most attractive spot — the arbor. 

Vor Sonnenaufgang, pp. 77, 78, 79. 

1 6 Nature Background in Dramas of Gcrhart Hauptmann 

In regard to the second phase of the problem, the reaction 
of the characters to the nature background, it is significant that 
only the ideaHsts of the group, Loth and Helene, express a 
delight in the beauties of nature One little remark in Act I 
betrays Loth's aesthetic appreciation of landscape in general. 
In telling of the suicide of a friend he mentions that it hap- 
pened in the Grunewald "an sehr schoner Stelle der Havel- 
seeufer. Ich war dort — ^man hat den Blick auf Spandau!"^^ 
In the second act his first words as he steps out of the door are: 
*'H! . . . h! . . . Morgenluf t !" -^ In this exclamation, along 
with the dreamy contemplation of the distant scene already noted 
and the rather gushing remarks about the beauty and the freedom 
of the country,^" Hauptmann cleverly reveals the temperament 
of the visionary young reformer. And a subtle indication of 
similar tendencies in Helene is given in her love for nature. 
When she first. appears in Act II she stops to gaze silently at 
the distant scene in which Loth had delighted, inhales the fra- 
grance of the herbs hung upon the fence and, bending down the 
bough of the tree before her, admires the low-hanging, red- 
cheeked apples. ^^ 

While Einsame Menschen has an indoor setting, the garden 
and lake are fully visible in the background. The detailed 
description of the room in a country house at Friedrichshagen 
in Berlin includes the general statement that two bay windows 
and a glass door in the rear wall afford a view of the veranda, 
the garden, the lake which joins it, and the Miiggel hills beyond. 
No mention is made, either in the stage directions or in the text, 
of the time of day or season of the year. In the second act the 
time of day, the season of the year, and the atmosphere are 
more sharply defined in the stage directions. In Act III the 
time of day is given in the directions, but the condition of the 
weather is left to be disclosed in the dialogue. In the fourth 

" Vor S onnenaufgang , p. 15. 
" Vor Sonneaufgang, p. 42. 
" Vor Sonmnaufgang, p. 49. 
" Vor S onnenaufgang, p. 47. 

Nature Background in Dramas of Gerhart Hauptmann ly 

and fifth acts merely the time of day is defined in the directions 
at the beginning, though with the progress of the acts changes 
in the nature of background are definitely stated in accompany- 
ing directions. 

In none of the stage directions is there any subjective com- 
ment upon the nature element. The description in Act I is, of 
course, merely broadly suggestive and objective, presenting a 
scene which might be considered to have aesthetic value only. 
But with the progress of the action the element of "tempera- 
ment" becomes manifest, for in each case the background is 
made to reflect the changing moods of the characters. In Act 
II the exuberance of Anna Mahr and the newly awakened spirit 
of Johannes Vockerat as a result of the new companionship find 
an appropriate background in the bright autumnal tones of the 
scene, which are emphasized by such details as the basket of 
grapes carried by Anna and the cluster of brilliant leaves that 
she wears as she stands looking out over the lake into the dis- 
tance, while men's voices sing: 

"Went Gott will rechte Gunst erweisen, 
Den Schick t er in die weite Welt." 

That it is the waning brilliancy of autumn, however, rather 
than the budding brightness of spring is significant. Frau 
Kathe's expression of grief, near the close of the act, over the 
fact that the new friendship between her husband and Anna 
Mahr has made her superfluous is a preparation for the gloom 
of the third act in which the thick fog of the morning robs the 
scene of its brilliancy, substituting the dull, grey tones of tragedy. 
In the fourth and fifth acts the lake appears in the subdued 
light of the late afternoon. When Vockerat sinks into a chair 
on the veranda at the sound of the whistle of the train that is 
to take Anna Mahr away, the exaggerated sentimental pathos 
of the scene is enhanced by the pale moonlight which just at 
that moment becomes visible.-^ Then, when Johannes is about 

" Einsatne Menschen, p. 237. 

1 8 Nature Background in Dramas of Gerhart Hauptmann 

to end his life in the lake that has been his confidant in both 
his joys and his sorrows, wild geese fly like messengers of trag- 
edy over the water.^® These are again all natural phenomena 
which are arranged with the definite intention of heightening the 
dramatic effects. 

In this play Hauptmann skillfully shows the different sorts 
of response made by three different types of persons to the 
charm of the Brandenburg landscape. Frau Vockerat, mother 
of Johannes, accustomed to the green, hilly scenery of Silesia, 
cannot enjoy the sandy region, though she naively finds the 
lake itself "wirklich hiibsch," but at the same time an object of 
dread to her nervous, motherly soul. "WundervoU" ^® is the 
adjective which Johannes uses to express his more aesthetic and 
more emotional appreciation of the lake. And his sensitive, even 
morbid, temperament finds a sympathetic note in the melancholy 
idyll of the Brandenburg landscape. His longing for the free- 
dom that solitude brings is revealed in the remark: "Mein 
Ideal ist ein weiter Park mit einer hohen Mauer rings herum. 
Da kann man so ganz ungestort seinen Zielen leben." ^" On 
the other hand, Anna's glowing delight in the frosty beauty of 
the morning ^^ is expressive not only of her momentary exuber- 
ance in the joy of a new and congenial companionship but also 
of the general vigor and buoyancy of her nature. 

It is a platitude that in Die versunkene Glocke, Hauptmann 
succumbs entirely to his romantic tendencies. The problem of 
the play, the conflict between the inevitable conditions of en- 
vironment and idealistic aims, is the same modern problem as 
that of Einsame Menschen and Gabriel Schillings Flucht, but 
the form of a "deutsches Marchendrama," in which it is pre- 
sented, allows Hauptmann to use all the imagination that is 
characteristic of the writers of the old romantic school in cre- 
ating a Tieck-like world of enchanted woods and meadow 
peopled with elves and sprites. 

"* Einsame Menschen, p. 289. 
* Einsame Menschen, p. 205. 
'^Einsame Menschen, p. 209. 
** Einsame Menschen, p. 214. 

Nature Background in Dramas of Gerhart Hauptmann 19 

The first point to be noticed in connection with the nature 
technique is the absence of a definite and detailed description of 
the landscape. Prominent as the nature element is throughout 
the scene, the stage directions simply suggest a fir-clad glade in 
the mountains, a hut in the background beneath an over-hanging 
rock, and an old well. There is no mention of the time of day 
or the season of the year, but just as in a Shakespearean play, 
for example, it is necessary to turn to the dialogue for further 
description. Rautendelein's words to the bee in the opening 
scene hint that it is springtime: 

"Flieg auf den Waldrain, Bienchen, iibern Bach, 
dort gibt es Krokus, Veilchen, Himmelschliissel :" ^^ 

And to the Nickelmann's "Brekekekex" she replies: 

"Brekekekex, jawohl, 
es riecht nach Friihling, und das wundert dich. 
Das weiss der letzte Molch im Mauerloch, 
weiss Laus und Maulwurf, Bachforell' und Wachtel, 
Fischotter, Massermaus und Flieg' und Halm, 
der Bussard in der Luf t, der Has' im Klee ! 
Wie weisst derm du es nicht ?" *^ 

The Waldschrat confirms all this with his remarks. 

"Hier unten riecht es warm, bei Euch ist's mollig. 
Bei uns dort oben pfeift und fegt der Wind." ^* 


"Gestern ass ich den ersten Rapunzelsalat. 

" 35 

And, finally, from Heinrich one gets an impression of the 
whole effect of the background which matches in its wild beauty 
and its fairy fantasy the spirit of the play: 

"Es ist hier schon. Es rauscht so fremd and voll 
Der Tannen dunkle Arme regen sich 

" Die wrsunkene Glocke, p. 257. 
"DiV versunkene Glocke, p. 259. 
''* Die versunkene Glocke, p. 261. 
'^ Die versunkene Glocke, p. 261. 

20 Nature Background in Dramas of Gcrhart Hauptmann 

so ratselhaft. Sie wiegen ihre Haupter 

so feierlich. Das Marchen! ja, das Marchen 

weht durch den Wald. Es raunt, es fliistert heimlich. 

Es raschelt, hebt ein Blattlein, singt durchs Waldgras, 

und sieh: in ziehend neblichtem Gewand, 

weiss hergedehnt, es naht — es streckt den Arm, 

mit weissem Finger deutet es auf mich — 

kommt naher, — riihrt mich an ... . mein Ohr .... die 

Zunge .... 
die Augen — nun ist's fort — und du hist da. 
Du bist das Marchen !" ^^ 

In such a world as this it is to be expected that changes 
in the nature setting will accompany the action. First to be 
noted are phenomena which are simply the normal indications 
of the passing of time, but which are so used as to heighten the 
dramatic effect at particular moments. For example, the Wald- 
schrat's account. of his attack upon the mortals, in which he 
finally sends their bell over the cliff to be lost forever in the 
lake, is the more impressive because of the gradually increasing 
darkness of evening. And there are other changes, more arbi- 
trary, which seem like more definite cases of "pathetic fallacy." 
The appearance of heavy dark purple clouds over the hills and 
the sudden rising of the wind and flashing of lightning at Hein- 
rich's appearance indicate the lively resentment of nature at 
the intrusion of a human being upon the fairy ground. ^'^ When 
Heinrich is carried away again the restored calm of the land- 
scape is revealed in the bright moonlight.^* Again, the coming 
of the cruel woodsprite is herald by lightning and distant thunder 
which increases when he actually appears. When he makes his 
threatening speech beginning: 

"Masslieb und Vergissnichtmein 
stampf ich in den Grund hinein," 

and at the end of which He carries off one of the elves, nature 

Die versunkene Glocke, p. 269. 
Die versunkene Glocke, p. 264. 
'Die versunkene Glocke, p. 280. 

Nature Background in Dramas of Gerhart Hauptmann 2 1 

shows its fury in a raging storm of hail and thunder, which 
subsides when the sprite has gone.^^ 

Act II offers less opportunity for nature touches, since it 
takes us away from the fairy home on the mountain top to the 
house of Heinrich in a village of the valley. The stage direc- 
tions indicate simply that it is early morning and that the light 
grows brighter as the action advances. As in Act II, in accord- 
ance with the technique of the romantic drama, we get most 
of the description of nature from the characters themselves. 
Heinrich's wife, Magda, tells of the fields of cowslips beyond 
the garden,^ ^ and Rautendelein says as she opens the window 
in Heinrich's room: 

"Schon ist's. Doch morgen wird as windig sein, 
Eine lange Wolke, wie ein Riesenfisch 
Liegt auf den Bergen; morgen birst sie auf, 
und tolle Geister fahren sausend nieder, 
durch Tannenwald und Kluft, ins Menschental. 
Kuckuck! Kuckuck! der Kuckuck ruft auch hier, 
und Schwalbchen schiessen, schweifen durch die Luft, 
durch die der Tag mit Leuchten kommt gedrungen." ^^ 

From Heinrich we hear that the nightingale is at play out- 
side his window and that sweet scents of jasmine and elder 
blossoms are floating in.'*^ These are all details which are sug- 
gestive of the sensual element of the scene. 

Ijn Act III the setting is again the mountain top. Through 
the open door of a deserted glassworks can be seen a landscape 
of peaks, moors, and dense fir woods. Here again the directions 
are broadly suggestive rather than definite and detailed. Rau- 
tendelein tells us that it is warm and sultry,^ ^ a condition which 
emphasizes her own weariness and sadness. Beyond this there 
is no definite allusion to the background. 

^* Die versunkene Glocke, p. 283. 
*" Die versunkene Glocke, p. 200. 
*^ Die versunkene Glocke, p. 304. 
*^ Die versunkene Glocke, p. 305. 
** Die versunkene Glocke, pp. 314, 316. 

2.2 Nature Background in Dramas of Gerhart Hauptmann 

Act IV repeats the interior scene of the third act. No men- 
tion is made in the stage directions of the time of day, but Hein- 
rich says that it is the sad twihght hour and that the setting 
sun is veiled in purple,^ ^ again producing an effect which matches 
Heinrich's mood of doubt and sense of approaching disaster. 

In Act V the fir-clad glade of the first act again appears. 
No further details are given in the stage direction beyond the 
fact that it is after midnight. An elf tells that the wind of 
sacrifice, a red, red wind, is blowing from all the mountain tops 
into the valley, that dark smoke is streaming down from all the 
mountain peaks into the glade and that white clouds lie thick 
in the valley. This forms a fitting background for the meeting 
of the elves who come to tell of their grief over the death of 
Balder.** Changes necessitated by the passing of time as well 
as by dramatic requirements are recorded. As the elves disap- 
pear a fog drifts over the glade.^^ Dawn is heralded by the 
crowing of a cock,*^ but the moon still shines to add pathos to 
the picture as Rautendelein, weary and sad, sits upon the edge 
of the well, combing her long, flowing locks. Then as Heinrich 
in his death struggle finally clasps his ideal, crying "Die Sonne — 
Sonne kommt!" the red glow of the morning appears in the 
sky, and the dawn breaks. Thus natural phenomena which have 
been intimately associated throughout the play with the moods 
and actions of the various characters also produce the final cli- 
mactic effect. 

Certain forces of nature which are a part of the fairy 
mountain top, the nature background of the play, are visualized 
by Hauptmann in the characters of Rautendelein, Wittichen, 
Wickelmann, the Waldschrat, and the elves. So much has been 
written concerning them and Heinrich himself that it is neces- 
sary here simply to repeat that Hauptmann has made use, not 
only of his own rich imagination, but also of Germanic folklore 

**Die versunkene Glocke, p. 334. 
*^ Die versunkene Glocke, p. 353. 
** Die versunkene Glocke, p. .^58. 
*' Die versunkene Glocke, p. 365. 

Nature Background in Dramas of Gerhart Hauptmann 23 

and of dramatic forerunners in presenting an interpretation of 
nature that is throughout romantic and symboHc.^^ 

The Shakespearean influence which is generally conceded 
to be evident in the comedy Schluck und Jau shows its first trace 
in that play in the use of a prologue which gives the setting of 
the piece in poetic style. The hunt, the joy of the season, is 
over. The dogs are back in the kennels, and the animals that 
the huntsmen have slain hang corded in the cellars. 

"und morgen mit dem Friihsten wird dies Haus 
von Gasten leer. Dann wird's verlassen liegen 
und seine roten Turmchen einsam heben 
iiber das Wipfelmeer, das endlos weite; 
und diese Raume werden nichts vernehmen, 
als Waldesrauschen — nachts des Uhus Wimmem — 
den Schrei des Bussards und das Fliigelklatschen 
der Tauben unsres alten Kastellans. — " ^® 

As a last bit of joy, therefore, before the party separates, 
the curtain is to disclose a piece which is no more than "einer 
unbesorgten Laune Kind." 

The first scene of the play, accordingly, presents a level, 
green space in the forest, through the high iron gateway of 
which the courtyard is visible. The radiant sun of an autumn 
morning that one might expect to find mentioned has been omit- 
ted from the description, and no definite locality is indicated by 
anything but the Silesian dialect of Schluck and Jau. The stage 
directions are hardly more definite than those of a Shakespearean 
play. From Jon Rand we incidentally learn more of the beauties 
of the place, as he remonstrates with Schluck and Jau: 

"miisst ihr denn 
zu meinen Tulpenbeeten schleppen euem Rausch 

* For interpretation of the symbolism and for discussion of the sources, 
cf. especially 

H. Ramiew — Die Symbolik in Gerhart Hauptmanns Mdrchendrama Die 
versunkem Glocke (Mainz, 1897). 

M. Schneidewin — Das R'dtsel des G. Hauptmannschen Mdrchendramas 
Die versunkene Glocke (Leipzig, 1897). 

Martin Schiitze — Hauptmanns Die versunkene Glocke — Americana Ger- 
manica, Til (1899), pp. 60-95. 

*• Schluck und Jau, p. 13. 

24 Nature Background in Dramas of Gerhart Hauptmann 

und cure wusten, vollen Leiber werfen 

in Sidselills Garten, die so lieblich bliihn?"^** 

Toward the end of the scene Jon tells of the bracing air 
of the beautiful autumn morning and of the music of the herds' 
bells in the fields. ^^ The second and third scenes are interiors. 
Sidselill's room in the third scene has a door opening upon a 
terrace, which, however, is not described and which is included 
less for aesthetic reasons than for the practical one of providing 
a place where Jau, in the new role of prince, may try his skill 
at mounting a horse. Another terrace is visible from the ban- 
queting hall in Scene IV. Again, the fifth scene in the castle 
park is not described, but is given a pleasing touch bj- the men- 
tion of the fine old nut trees. In the sixth scene the green lawn 
in front of the castle gate that appeared in Scene I reveals Schluck 
and Jau, now the same poor wretches they were in Scene I 
before the trick was played upon them. It is possible that the 
old beech tree half stripped of its leaves, under which Jau 
sleeps in the half moonlight, is meant to add a touch of that 
humor mixed with pathos that is noted in the fate of the poor 
wretch. But on the whole this piece, avowedly light in char- 
acter, containing no element of great emotion or even change 
of mood, presents only the most general suggestions concern- 
ing the nature background, and these indicate no change of tone. 

The character in the play who is most responsive to the 
autumnal brightness of the setting is Jon Rand. Both the vigor 
of the huntsman-prince and the fantasy of the moon-gazing 
dreamer, who speaks of love and writes songs, find their reflec- 
tion in his nature feeling: 

"Verschlaf'ne Walder! bald erweck ich euch 
mit klaren Homesruf. Und deinen Trank, 
harzduf tiger Morgen, spiir ich schon im Blut: 
der taglich — meinem grauen Haar zum Trotz — 
mit Jugend mich erfiillt. In jedem Morgen 

■* Schluck und Jau, p. 19. 
" Schluck und Jau, p. 24. 
** Schluck und Jau, p. 109. 

Nature Background in Dramas of Gerhart Hauptmann 25 

ist Jugend; und in seine jungen Stunden 
drangt sich der Nachklang jeder seligen Zeit 
ans neue Hoffnungsgliick: und eng verschwistert 
zu einem triumphierenden Hall des Lebens, 
singt, was da war — und ist — und sein wird, Karl, 
in uns und um uns her und zu uns wieder, 
im Echo. Meinst du nicht?"^^ 

Again the merry exuberance of autunwi and the sober quiet 
of winter make equal appeal to this two-fold personality : 

"Schwingt Eure Beine, tanzt! Es tanzt sich gut 
libers braungold'ne Fliess gefall'ner Blatter, 
das unser alter Nussbaum abgelegt. 
Wirbelt den Kehraus! Most und Wein herbei! 
Herbstf riichte ! jeder nehme, was er mag 
von den gehauften Schalen. Bunte Ranken 
der wilden Rebe kranzt um Eure Schlafe! 
Bacchantisch sei die Lust, die bald erstirbt. 
Der hermelingeschmiickte Totengraber 
steht vor der Tiir: ein weisses Leichenhemde 
bereit in seiner Hand. Er sei willkommen. 
wenn diese letzte Sommerlust verrauscht! 
Ja, mich verlangt nach seinem weissen Kleide. — 
In diesem Meer von Faschingstollheit schwimmend — 
und zwar mit Lust, Karl — drangt doch meine Brust 
dem Ufer zu, der tiefen Winterruh." ^^ 

Though Hauptmann calls his metrical drama Der arme/ 
Heinrich a German legend in five acts, he keeps fairly close to 
the naturalistic technique in his careful portrayal of the back- 
ground. In Act I the scene, as described in the stage directions, 
is the little garden about the house of the farmer Gottfried in 
the region of the Black Forest. From a fine old elm, beneath 
which stand a stone table and a bench of turf, one looks out 
upon great green plateaus. Harvested fields are seen in the 
foreground and a line of wooded hills against the horizon. Iso- 
lated groups of fir trees are scattered here and there. While 
the season of the year is suggested by the harvested fields, the 

** Schluck und Jau, p. 85. 

26 Nature Background in Dramas of Gerhart Hauptmann 

fact that it is a clear, cold morning is left for the dialogue.^* 
There is also no mention in the stage directions of the "Erlen- 
weg" referred to in the text.^^ 

While there is no evidence of subjective comment in this 
description, there is also no trace of the impressionism that 
merely recounts single, uncoordinated details. The composition 
of the picture with its distinct centre of interest, its strong fore- 
ground, and its interesting background indicates definite artistic 
intent. The evident purpose is to present the beauty of a country 
scene, the peacefulness of which is contrasted with the hopeless 
unrest of Heinrich, who knows himself to be a victim of leprosy. 
There is no attempt throughout the act to depict any changes 
in this background to accompany the action. 

The stage directions of Act III present a rocky wilderness, 
mighty firs, and trees with autumn foliage. In the background 
beyond a stretch of level ground is a cave, at the entrance to 
which lie withered leaves, cooking utensils, an axe, and a cross- 
bow. It is a 'fall evening. This picture, perhaps even more 
than the preceding one, is decidedly artistic in conception and 
effect. The mighty firs, themselves expressive of splendid isola- 
tion, the other trees suggestive in their foliage of the sadness 
of autumn, encompassing the lonely cave to which one's eye is 
directed over the stretch of level earth, present, especially in the 
autumn twilight, a scene which is most expressive of loneliness. 
And this forms a fitting background for Heinrich, who, wild, 
ragged, and unkempt, is digging a pit for his own grave. There 
are no changes in the background during the act. 

Act IV takes place within Benedict's chapel in the forest. 
A suggestive little touch of autumn is found in the wreath of 
leaves upon the altar and the crucifix. The gathering darkness 
adds solemnity to the scene in which Ottegebe dedicates herself 
to the service of Christ. 

In Act V the joyousness that comes from Heinrich's mirac- 
ulous recovery from leprosy through the victory over himself 

^ Der arme Heinrich, p. 272. 
" Der arme Heinrich, p. 271. 

Nature Background in Dramas of Gerhart Hauptmann 27 

and the consequent release of Ottegebe from her sacrifice, and 
the vigor of the new life in store for both of them are antici- 
pated in the stage directions by the radiance of the spring morn- 
ing that fills the richly adorned hall of the castle of Aue. 

The attitude of Heinrich toward the nature background is 
distinctly subjective. In the beginning of the play the landscape 
before Gottfried's house speaks to him of the peace and resigna- 
tion for which, in his physical torment, he passionately longs: 

"Noch ganz in Blattern steht die Ulme, und 
gleich wie aus Erz erhebt sie regungslos 
sich in des klaren Morgens kalte Luft: 
des nahen Frostes scharfer Silberhauch, 
vielleicht schon morgen, macht sie nackt und bloss — : 
sie regt sich nicht! — Ringsum ist gottergeben 
worauf das Auge fallt, nur nicht der Mensch, 
nur ich nicht — Friede! kehre her zu mir!"^® 

The calm of nature in contrast with the tumult of his own 
mind is again expressed in the following lines: 

"Hier ist es still, 
doch in der Stille wird mein Inneres laut, 
und wahrend draussen iiber Moor and Wiesen 
der Mond sein totes Licht ergiesst und etwa 
am Feldrain eine Grille mit ihm wacht, 
gibt's ein Getose hier in meinem Haupt 
von Reigentanzen, ritterlichen Spielen, 
Schlachtrufen, fremden Sprachen, Fliisterstimmen, 
die ich nicht kann beschwichtigen." ^'^ 

Heinrich's susceptibility, under happier conditions, to the 
voluptuous charm of lavish color, delicate fragrance, and soft 
sounds in southern lands finds expression in the glowing lines 
that follow: 

"Vor zween Jahren — Kind — 
lag dieser arme Gast, den du hier siehst 
am mag'ren Ranft hausback'nen Brotes zehrend, 
in Marmorhallen, wo die Brunnen klangen, 

" Der arme Heinrich, p. 272. 
"^ Der arme Heinrich, p. 273. 

28 Nature Background in Dram<is of Gcrlmrt Hauptmann 

wo goldene Fische in den Becken flossen, 

und wenn er schweifen liess den trunk'nen Blick, 

so war's dorthin, woher der Weihrauch quoll, 

war's in die Zaubergarten Azzahras. 

O, liebes Kind, von solchen Paradiesen 

hast du wohl nie getraunit ! wo siiss und schwer 

Pracht auf uns lastet, Wonne uns berriickt . . . 

der Bambus zittert am verschwiegenen Platz, 

von Zedem liberdacht und iiberdunkelt, 

die Azaleenbiische breiten sich 

wie bliihende Kissen. Blaues Bliitenblut 

scheint dir das Meer, . . . 

. . . Und du horst 

Gesang . . . 

. . . fremde Worte, 

in heisser Flut der Seele aufgelost, 

umwehen dich. Du trinkst sie in dich ein 

mit alien Diiften, die der sanfte West 

dir zutragt, immer liebreich dich bedrangend. — " ^* 

And the new joy he feels in the radiance of Ottegebe's 
glance, which brings a healthy stirring in his sluggish blood and 
new strength of re-arisen powers, he reads also in nature about 

"Und in der Flut des lichten Elements 
entziindeten die Hiigel sich zur Freude, 
die Meere zur Wonne und die Himmelsweiten 
zum Gliicke wiederum." ^^ 

In Hartmann's account of his trip through the snow to the 
house of Gottfried appear the healthy vigor that finds joy in 
the struggle with the wind and snow, and at the same time a 
happy element of fantasy: 

"Auf dem Klepper 
sinnierend hangen in der Winterstille 
und langsam aufwarts dringen ins Gebirg 
durch Wettertannicht, hoch verschneit und dick 
beschwert and iiberglast die Aste, wo 
es je zuweilen sprode klirrt und klingelt 

"Der arme Heinrich, p. 281. 
** Der arme Heinrich, p. 363. 

Nature Background in Dramas of Gcrhart Hauptmann 29 

und sonst kein Laut sich riihrt, ist meine Lust. 
Und sind die kleinen Voglein auch verstummt: 
es zwitschert unterm Rosseshuf der Schnee 
bei jedem Tritt, so dass ich lausch und spitze 
und horch und mich versinn und fast verliere, 
wie Petrus Forschegrund, als ihm das Voglein 
des Paradieses sang und tausend Jahre 
gleichen einer fliichtigen Stunde ihm verrannen."®") 

In Rose Bernd, Act I, Hauptmann uses all the minuteness 
of detail that belongs to naturalistic technique in the description 
of a level, fertile landscape. On each side of a path leading 
diagonally from the middle of the scene to the foreground extend 
large fields, through which runs a shallow ditch covered with 
field flowers. A small potato patch in which the young vines 
are just breaking through the earth lies in the immediate fore- 
ground. To the left of the path on a slope about six feet high 
stands an old cherry tree, and to the right hazel nuts and white- 
thorn bushes. The course of a brook running parallel to the 
path is outlined by willows and elders. Isolated groups of old 
trees add a parklike appearance to the landscape. In the back- 
ground to the left rising above bushes and treetops appear the 
roof and the steeple of a village church. 

One of the chief features of this picture is the effective 
use of the proper notes of emphasis. Hauptmann has avoided 
the monotony of what he designates as a level landscape by 
introducing the vertical element of trees in a regular succession 
which produces rhythm in the landscape — first the old 
cherry tree on the left, balanced by the hazelnut and white- 
thorn bushes, then, farther back, the willows and alders which 
mark the course of the brook, and still farther in the back- 
ground the trees and bushes surrounding the church. Altogether 
it furnishes an excellent example of naturalistic description that 
presents not merely a catalogue of the various details of the 
landscape but rather an arrangement of many details into a 
whole composition which, without the use of any subjective com- 
ment, except perhaps the one phrase "parklike appearance," 

'"Der arme Heinrich, p. 294. , 

30 Nature Background in Dramas of Gerhart Hauptmann 

carries to the reader or spectator a definite message of the beauty 
and radiance of the landscape, brightened as it is by the warm 
sun of a May morning. This does not change during the act. 
And the sunny brightness of the picture blends well with the 
spirit of the peasant girl, Rose Bernd, who sits upon the bank 
beneath the cherry tree, laughing with her secret lover, Flamm, 
over their stolen meeting, while he in turn sings loudly and 


"Im Wald und auf der Heide 
Da such ich meine Freude! 
Ich bin ein Jagersmann !" ®^ 

That Flamm does actually seek much of his pleasure in hunt- 
ing is indicated by many details in the minutely described living 
room of the house in Act 11. Here, for example, are various 
glass cases containing stuffed birds and collections of butterflies. 
A love for flowers, too, on the part of some one is suggested by 
a large bowl of forget-me-nots on the desk, by the wreath of 
fresh flowers about the photograph of a little boy, and also by 
the pots of blooming plants in the windows that are open to 
admit the sunlight of a magnificent spring morning. The sunny 
brightness of the picture reflects the cheer in the simple home 
of the Flamms before the shadows of unhappiness fall upon it. 

Act III has a fertile stretch of land as a background, depicted 
in the same detailed manner as that of the first act. In the right 
foreground in a triangular level green space slightly below the 
level of the surrounding fields stands an old pear tree. At its 
foot a clear spring empties into a primitive stone basin. The 
middle ground consists of meadow land. In the background, 
within a grove of alder trees and bushes of hazelnut, willow and 
beech, lies a pool bordered by reeds and dotted by waterplants. 
The meadows on each side are encircled by ancient oaks, elms, 
beeches and birch trees. Through the foliage of the trees and 
bushes the roofs and spires of distant villages are visible. To the 
left behind the bushes arise the thatched roofs of the barns. It 
is a hot afternoon in early August. 

Rose Bernd, p. 377. 

Nature Background in Dramas of Gerhart Hauptmann 31 

This picture furnishes another example of the evident use 
of recognized principles of composition in landscape painting. 
The importance of the foreground is expressed by the detail ; the 
middle distance, the meadow land, is less distinct; the elevation 
produced by the trees in the distance forms the necessary back- 
ground. Another noteworthy feature is the sense of balance, 
here so strong as to produce almost a somnolent effect. The 
scene therefore lends itself well to the mood which Hauptmann 
manifestly wishes to express. The intense heat of the August 
afternoon, the hum of a threshing machine in the distance, the 
expression of exhaustion in the faces of the workingmen, who, 
returning from the fields, hurry to the spring where sounds of 
swallowing and of deep, relieved ' breathing are clearly audible, 
all produce an effect of oppression and tenseness as different from 
the fresh vigor of the springtime scene of Act I as the fore- 
boding distress of Rose Bernd, about whom the chains of fate 
are now being more tightly drawn, is different from the happy, 
laughing mood of the girl in the opening scene. 

Act IV repeats the interior scene of Act III with merely 
the change of time from spring to fall which is demanded by the 
development of the plot. In Act V the gloomy dusk that fills 
the room in the Bernd cottage increases the tragic effect of the 
scene in which Rose Bernd, finally hunted down by her pursuers, 
confesses that she is the murderer of her child. 

In this play there is little direct expression on the part of the 
individuals concerning their reaction to the beauty of the country 
in which they live. Nor would one expect to hear from these 
peasants any but the naive and casual remarks usually made in 
connection with some other matter. Streckmann, for example, 
makes the beautiful weather an excuse for refusing to stay in 
church.^2 Various references are made to the extreme heat in 
Act III.^^ Old Bernd, desiring to preach a little sermon on the 
need of preparing for the darkness of the judgment day,^^ in Act 
V, calls attention to the great cloud that has come over the moun- 

'^Rose Bernd, p. 382. 
•* Rose Bernd, p. 408. 
"* Rose Bernd, p. 450. 

32 Nature Background in Dramas of Gcrhart Hauptmann 

tain. But the real reaction is found in what is essentially an em- 
bodiment of the outdoor world expressed in the whole personality 
of Rose Bernd and Christopher Flamm. Rose is the strong 
peasant girl; in the first scene she hoes the patch as vigorously 
as a man, and she lifts a sack of wheat with ease and carries it 
to the barn. "Das Madel hat Saft und Kraft dohie."**^ The 
natural mate for her is "der kernige, frische lebenslustige 
breitschultrige imponierende Mann, durchaus Natur und jauch- 
zende Bejahung des Lebenstriebs/' and the tragedy is due in the 
first instance to the fate that insists upon Rose's marrying the 
physically inferior August.^^ 

The midsummer night's dream idea that Hauptmann con- 
ceived in connection with Hohenhaus takes the form of a fall 
idyll in Die Jungfern vom Bischofsberg. The first three acts 
take place within an old-fashioned country house situated amid 
gardens on the river Saale. In the first act the towers and roofs 
of an ancient city situated on the opposite slope of a hill are 
visible through a broad window. The room depicted in Acts 
II and III has a glass door which opens upon a terrace in the 
garden. Act I defines the time as toward noon of a day in the 
beginning of October. No definite statement as to whether the 
sun is shining or not is given either in the stage directions or in 
the dialogue. The stage directions of Act II state that it is fore- 
noon as in the previous act and that the sun is shining in at 
the windows. In Act III, which takes place the next afternoon, 
no mention is made of the light. 

The stage directions of Act IV describe in full the park of 
the Bishop's Mount on the slope above the vineyard. The valley 
of the Saale River lies in the background with Naumburg visible 
in the distance. To the left are the ruins of an old watch tower, 
to the right, an old cistern. The foreground toward the cistern 
is enclosed by an old, crumbled wall, above which the poles of 
the vines are seen. To the left, somewhat elevated and accessible 
by steps, is a small hermitage with a bell-tower of unhewn logs. 
In the centre is a large grass plot surrounded by bushes, from 

Rose Bernd, p. 412. 
'Rose Bernd, p. 377. 

Nature Background in Dramas of Gerhart Hauptmann 33 

which there is a view to the horizon over the valley and the hills 
on the opposite side. Bright autumnal coloring, occasional re- 
ports of a pistol, the cries of the vintners and the sound of the 
whetting of scythes are all suggestive of the season of the year. 
In addition to this the time is definitely stated as near noon of 
a clear autumn day. 

Here the details of form, atmosphere, color, and sound are 
given in a stage direction which is quite as minute as that of the 
naturalistic plays Vor Sonnenaufgang or Rose Bernd. Again 
there is no subjective comment upon the scene, but again there 
is much more than a mere catalogue of details. Again the artistic 
temperament is displayed in the composition of the picture. A 
sense of depth is produced by the proper arrangement of dis- 
tances: first the foreground; then the stone wall; then, in the 
middle distance, the vineyard; and finally the elevation of the 
hills for the background. The picture as a whole, like an old 
tapestry, is full of interest, with a single spot, the greensward, 
where the eye can rest. The message of the play, that the dream 
of life is its best part, is subtly suggested in the lovely, but 
passing, autumn beauty of the secluded old garden, where, as 
Kozakiewicz says, an anachronistic sweetness is present in the 
air, — something still and unspoiled and magic that is separated 
by the moss-covered stones of the wall from the shrill noise of 
the paroxysm of European culture.®^ There is no reference to 
any change in the background during the scene. 

In Act V the setting sun and later the moon lend a still 
softer touch to the scene which is in harmony with the romantic 
conclusion of the play. 

The two persons in the play who are most responsive to 
the atmosphere of the romantic old garden are Dr. Griinwald 
and Dr. Kozakiewicz. The latter's question, "Hast du denn 
wieder im Heidekraut gelegen und Verse gemacht?"^^ gives a 
little suggestion of the sentimental temperament of Dr. Griin- 
wald. The extreme to which he can go in sentimental utterance 
is illustrated by his outburst of joy when he realizes that Agatha 

*'' Die Jung fern vom Bischofsherg, p. 68. 
** Die Jungfern vom Bischofsherg, p. 49. 

34 Nature Background in Dramas of Gerhart Hauptmann 

still loves him: "Oh, Liebste, das ist solch eine Last von Gliick! 
Verzeih mir: mich widerts' wenn Manner weinen! doch ich 
vveine! Mir schwindelt; ich fasse es nicht! , . . O tiefe, 
schmerzliche Bangigkeit! Oh Angst! Oh du Angst des hochsten 
Besitzes ! — Ewig ! Ewig ! — Oh Ewigkeit !" ^^ 

Quite in keeping, then, with this sentimentality is Griin- 
wald's extravagant praise of nature and his interpretation of 
its beauties as but an offering to his loved one: "Wie stark auf 
einmal der Thymian duftet! . . . Oh kostliche, siisse, 
berauschende Wiirze ! Sieh mal, wie eine gliihende Raucherschale 
der Mond! Betaubende, kostliche Dampfe wirbeln herauf! Sieh 
mal, wie unten die Saale fliesst. Schlangelnder Nebel wie Op- 
ferdampf ! Und die alte gespenstische Stadt und der Dom. Du 
Nixe! Du Mondfrau! Du Saaleweibchen ! es ist alles ringsum nur 
ein Opfer fiir dich, Und ich bin dir auf Leben und Tod ver- 
faUen." ^« 

When in the' closing scene of the play Sabine remarks that 
soon everything will have vanished — "Von den Baumen ist schon 
das Laub fast herunter, und verodet steht unser Bi- 
schofsberg. Dann ist er nur noch ein Marchen, sonst nichts." 
Ludowike replies "Das Marchen ist doch das beste, Sabine!" 
and Kozakiewicz adds: "So lasst uns den Reigen weiter taiizen 
ins Blaue, ins Dunkle, ins Weite hinein, ins Ungewisse der Hini- 
mel und Meere," and the scene closes with the singing of Heine's 

"Kleiner Vogel Kolibri, 
FUhre uns fiach Bimini, . . ." '^^ 

And thus the people in the play finally express the symbolism 
ot nature upon which the whole play rests. 

The setting of the first act of Kaiser Karls Geisel is an 
interior scene at the hour before sunrise on a day in the "month 
of wine." The stage directions of Act II sketch with a few but 
definite strokes an outdoor scene at the country seat of the 
Emperor Karl in the neighborhood of Aix-la-Chapelle. From 

"Die Jungfem vom Bischofsberg, p. 91. 
""^ Die Jungfem vom Bischofsberg, p. ge. 
" Die Jungfem vom Bischofsberg, p. 991 

Nature Background in Dramas of Gerhart Hauptmann 35 

an open colonnade broad stairs lead down to the garden, where 
the ancient hills are brilliant with the yellow of the autumnal 
foliage. The background of the scene is formed by a sunny 
slope planted with vines. It is a clear morning in autumn. No 
further details are added by the characters. 

Once more the method is objective, but the result is a picture 
which, first of all, appeals to the aesthetic sense, and secondly, 
in its message of autumnal radiance, is suggestive of the proud 
vigor of the Emperor, rejuvenated by his love for the young 
Gersuind. Acts III and IV have indoor settings. In Act III 
a door leads into the garden, but this is not described. Nor is 
there any mention of the light. In Act IV the warm autumnal 
sun shines through the loggia of the cloister upon the sick girl 
Gersuind as she reclines in her armchair. There are no refer- 
ances to changes in the background during the scenes. 

Nature has a second use in this drama in furnishing an 
interpretation of the character of Gersuind. Various characters 
reveal their opinion of her, favorable or unfavorable, by figures 
drawn from nature. The unfriendly Ercambald maintains : 

"sie ist 
das, was . . . ja, etwas, was man so . . . nun ja: 
kein guter Apf el ! eher was man so 
wurmstichig . . . Obst, das man wurmstichig nennt,"'^* 

Bennit, on the other hand, says : 

"Sie ist ein Pyrol ! ist 
kein Rabe ! dient dem Rabengotte nicht. 
Was Wunder, wenn si^ mit den Fliigeln schlagt, 
da sie schuldlos im engen Kafig schmachtet. 
Sie spiirt die Buchenwipfel ! spiirt den Wald, 
den goldnen Himmelshirsch, mit klingenden 
Geweihen morgens schreitend durch den Hag. 
Sie will zu mir! will heim! will ihre Briider 
und Spiessgesellen wiedersehn. Will vom 
Gehoft, geklammert auf der Stute Riicken, 
hinbrausen durch die Niederung zur Jagd : 
fliegenden Haars, in reiner Gottesluft! 
dann wieder halten wir die heiligen Tage 

" Kaiser Karls Geisel, p. 260. 

36 Nature Background in Dramas of Gerhart Hauptmann 

und Karl und Jesu, glaubt mir, sind wir treu. 
Ihr aber : zahmt ein Tier, ihr Frauen, das, 
geboren in Gefangenschaft, nichts kennt 
als Knechtschaf t ! Freigebornes zahmt sich nicht!"'^^ 

Karl's first remark upon seeing her is : 

"Rein wie der Mond, das Antlitz einer Heiligen."^* 


". . . . Frei soil sie sein ! 
den Kafig will ich offnen. Off'n ich ihn, 
ein Taubenhabicht stosst vielleicht herab 
und schlagt sie — also dies darf nicht geschehn!"^^ 

And when Gersuind herself asks for freedom to live as she 
pleases, undisturbed by others, Karl answers : 

"Die Luft ist voll Gefahren. Fliegt ein Ding, 
ein gelber Buttervogel, so wie du, 
nur einmal, zweimal iiber eine Pfiitze — 
und nun gar hier zu Aachen, in der Pfalz ! — 
schon hat ein Rotschwanz, Blauschwanz ihn verschluckt."'* 

When Karl asks Rorico, after she has escaped, 

"Wie lebt sie ? wo ? 
Gerupft? zerzaust? wie? eingeschiichtert P"''^ 

Rorico explains how she pursued him 

"leichtfiissiger als ein Schmaltier vor der Meute, 
flink, unbegreiflich, federleicht im Lauf. — "''^ 

and how she laughed at him, 

"sie schlug eine wilde Lache auf, 
durchdringend, wie ein Specht lacht."'^® 

" Kaiser Karls Geisel, p. 266. 
'* Kaiser Karls Geisel, p. 268. 
" Kaiser Karls Geisel, p. 271. 
" Kaiser Karls Geisel, p. 275, 
" Kaiser Karls Geisel, p. 284. 
" Kaiser Karls Geisel, p. 287. 
" Kaiser Karls Geisel, p. 288. 

Nature Background in Dramas of Gerhart Hauptmann 37 

Then Karl upbraids Rorico : 

". . . Vogelsteller ! gab 
ich deshalb diesem Vogelchen die Freihei't, 
damit dein Bolz ein flaumig Bette trifft?"^*' 

When Gersuind herself appears before Karl he begs her to remain 
in the castle under his care: 

"In diesem Garten sollst du wurzeln, du 

Entwurzelte! sollst langsam wachsen, bliihn, 

Friichte zur Reife treiben, wohlgepflegt 

von Gartnerhanden ;"®^ 

and again : 

"Eile! deine Seele 
entsiihne, bade sie von Flecken rein ! 
denn, warst du gleich mit Makeln iibersat 
so will ich eines Tags doch zu dir sagen — 
wenn du dich meinem reinen Willen f iigst — : 
geh' hin und zeige dich den Priestem ! und 
an jenem Tag sollst du vor aller Welt 
rein wie die keusche Himmelsblume, wie 
die Lilie in Mariens Handen sein."^^ 

To Alcuin, who is also favorably impressed by her, Karl confides : 

"Mein Flaccus! manches Tierlien fing ick schon, 
mit Hamen, Bolz und Netz, 
wie du wohl weisst : 

doch ging mir noch kein Wild ins Garn wie dieses ! 
und darum heg' ich's, pfleg' ich's, halt' ich's wert. 
Natiirlich : 's ist kein Tier ! und also auch 
ein hoherer Beruf, den ich erfiille, 
als der des Bandigers : fast vaterlich, 
im Sinne der Seelsorge frommer Vater."^^ 

The persistent use of such figures to describe Gersuind emphasizes 
not only the fact that she is a wild child of nature herself, but 
also the effect of environment upon those who use the figures. 
This in turn is carried out logically in the description of Karl. 

^"Kaiser Karls Geisel, p. 289. 
" Kaiser Karls Geisel, p. 296. 
" Kaiser Karls Geisel, p. 297. 
" Kaiser Karls Geisel, p. 310. 

38 Nature Background in Dramas of Gerhart Hauptmann 

In Act II the stage directions describe Karl as he steps forward 
from the leafy garden paths, clothed in country garb, with the 
words: "Er hat etwas an sich von einem grossen und edlen 
Wild, das sichert."^* He likens the re-awakening of his nature 
to new sap in an old tree : 

"ein alter Baum seit langem diirr und von 
Schmarotzerpflanzen ausgesogen, denen 
er noch den trock 'nen Stamm als Stiitze leiht, 
damit sie, wie bisher, aufrecht ins Licht 
der Sonne geilen, ist er selbst gleich tot . . . 
ein solcher Stamm f angt an f risch auszuschlagen ! 
da gibt's ein Wispem in den Blatterchen 
des Schlingkrautnetzes : ei der alte Karl, 
der alte Obstbaum will noch leben !"^^ 

It is characteristic of his huntsman temperament to seek solace in 
time of depression in playing with the dogs or feeding the deer 
or catching lizards,** and so when he knows he has overcome his 
passion for Gersuind he rejoices in the prospect of another hunt 
in the fresh, invigorating air : 

"Die Luft ist neu, die Brust befreit ! wir haben 
urireine Geister langer nicht zu Gast! 
Des Weines Blume macht uns fiirderhin 
nicht widerlich der Atem der Verwesung. 
Rico! die Klepper! Habichte; erst lasst 
uns schmausen, unsere Frankenbauche stopfen, 
wacker, wie Drescher, mit gesunder Kost!"*^ 

And with his final triumph over himself he cries : 

". . . der Greis sehnt sich ins freie Feld! 
ins Blachfeld ! unter f reien Himmel ! wo 
der Wolkenauf ruhr iiber ihm, der Aufruhr 
des Kriegszugs um ihn her die Welt erfullt. 
Auf seines Streithengsts Riicken sehnt er sich 
und nachts zu ruhn im sausenden Gezelte! 
und kurz, der alte Kriegsknecht : Kaiser Karl ! 

** Kaiser Karls Geisel, p. 270. 
•' Kaiser Karls Geisel, p. 303. 
** Kaiser Karls Geisel, p. 277. 
*' Kaiser Karls Geisel, p. 325. 

Nature Background in Dramas of Gerhart Hauptmann 39 

schreit, wie ein Hirsch nach Wasser, nach den Sturmen, 

darin er frisch geatmet lebenslang: 

nach Waflfenlarm ! nach Mannerkampf! nach Krieg!"®* 

The mediaeval legend of the patient Griselda has received 
some pleasing outdoor settings in the ten scenes of Hauptmann's 
piece called Griselda. The yard of farmer Helmrecht that forms 
the background for the first, third, and ninth scenes is minutely 
described in the stage directions according to the naturalistic 
method. The house, divided into stable and dwelling, stands to 
the left. Opposite is a stall with a woodshed. The yard is 
separated from the road in the background by a picket fence, the 
gate of which is open. Near it is a woodpile. Over the gate 
curves a beautiful apple tree loaded with red apples. The back- 
ground is formed by mountain meadows, forests, and a chain 
of hills lightly streaked with snow. Not far from the door 
of the house water from a spring splashes into a stone trough. 
The sunlight of an autumn morning shines upon the scene. There 
is no evidence of consciously expressed subjectivity, but the effect 
as a whole reveals the interpretation of an artistic temperament. 
The eye is taken from the homely details of the farmyard to the 
beautiful apple tree and then to the trees and mountains beyond. 
No changes are recorded during the scene. 

The settings of the remaining scenes are for the most part 
simply suggested in the most general manner. In the second 
scene a window in the gallery of the Marquis affords a view of 
a North Italian lake and its shore, but no description is given 
of it. The fourth scene presents the garden of the Margrave's 
palace with an adjoining terrace, on a magnificent day in autumn, 
as an appropriate background for the wedding of Griselda and 
Ulrich. In the fifth scene the fact is mentioned that the North 
Italian spring has come. The stage directions for the fifth scene 
tell that Griselda is sitting by the window of the palace, looking 
out into the open, but no description is given of the view before 
her. In scenes 7 and 8 is shown a room with a door opening 

*• Kaiser Karls Geisel, p. 351. 

40 Nature Background in Dramas of Gerhart Hauptmann 

on the garden. Scene lo presents a hall in the Margrave's castle, 
with a glass door opening on the park. In general, then, there is 
little indication in Griselda of an attempt to do more with the 
nature background than give the piece an aesthetic setting. No 
changes of tone are to be noted. 

In this play, as in Rose Bernd and Kaiser Karls Geisel, 
Hauptmann presents individuals who are directly and vitally 
influenced by their contact with nature. Griselda is a real child 
of nature, and her counterpart is Markgraf Ulrich, the genuine 
"Naturmensch" to whom all culture and refinement are dis- 
tasteful. Ulrich does not care for the food prepared by the 
cooks but roasts chestnuts for himself. When the nights are 
mild he sleeps in the forest or in a barn. When summoned to 
the family council he appears in the garb of a peasant with a 
pitchfork on his shoulder. He announces that he would not 
return to the city for the kerchiefs and garters of the twelve 
fairest ladies in Lombardy, and if he must marry, his wife must 
be a peasant girl, a wench who can endure a sound thrashing. ^^ 
It is natural then that he should be attracted by Griselda, the 
"cow princess" as he calls her, the "lovely lass of the rye", with 
the Valkyrie-like figure, so strong that she is her father's best 
help with the heavy farm work, and so beautiful that even 
Count Eberhard, who had scorned the thought of her as a wife 
for Ulrich, can not keep his eyes from her as she stands among 
the branches of the apple tree.^^ It is natural too that Ulrich 
should at once long to make this splendid coimterpart of his own 
strength yield to him. He is the old Adam, he explains to his 
uncle,®^ and nothing less than the old nobility of Eve can satisfy 
him. He desires a strong companion with her original weapons, 
the sickle, the spade, and the mattock. At the wedding Ulrich 
devises the test of the grains and the scythe to prove that, gentle 
and sweet as Griselda has been made by her love for him, she 
is still possessed of this ancient nobility. That she does not lose 

** Griselda, pp. 362 flf. 
*• Griselda, pp. 355 ff . 
•* For the following, cf Griselda, pp. 380 ff. 

Nature Background in Dramas of Gerhart Hauptmann 41 

her interest in the old home even after a long period of luxurious 
life as a margravine is shown in the scene of the visit from her 
father.®^ Again in her wish that she might bear her child in 
the forest upon a couch of leaves rather than in the castle,^^ her 
primitive nature asserts itself. And all the original defiance of 
the former peasant girl returns when she discovers that Ulrich, 
with the mad instinct, as she says, of the wild boars who devour 
their young, has had their newly born child hidden away from 

In Gabriel Schillings Flucht the nature background is per- 
haps more inseparably linked with the action than in any other 
play. Schlenther says that, as the problems of Johannes Vockerat 
in Einsame Menschen return in more intense form in the case 
of Gabriel Schilling, so the little island lake of the former play 
expands into the open sea in Gabriel Schillings Flucht. But 
while in Einsame Menschen the lake was used chiefly for aesthetic 
and emotional effects, in Gabriel Schillings Flucht the cleansing 
and invigorating salt sea becomes the symbol of the idea on 
which the whole play is based. 

The scene of action is an island in the Baltic. This is, in the 
first place, significant as the spot to which the individuals have 
been driven by their own nervous temperaments that demand 
relief from the tension of city life. The stage directions, though 
rather long, fail to include many definite details of the real 
nature element. They state that the scene is the shore of the 
island, that it is a clear August day, and that the sea in the 
background gleams in the afternoon light. Other features men- 
tioned are suggestive of the darker and wilder aspects of the 
sea. To the left is a signal pole with rope ladders, and to 
the right the shed of a life-saving station. To the wall of this 
building is fastened a figurehead from a wrecked vessel. It is 
of painted wood and represents a woman with wind-blown gar- 
ments. Her head is thrown back so that she seems to oppose 

** Griselda, pp. 391 ff. 
* Griselda, pp. 394 ff. 
** Griselda, pp. 401 ff. 

42 Nature Background in Dramas of Gerhart Hauptmann 

her pale face with its somnambulistic stare to the winds of 
heaven. The effect of the scene in detail and as a whole is 
brought out largely by the characters themselves. First, the 
season of the year, already suggested in the stage directions, is 
emphasized by Kiihn's greeting to Lucy in the opening of the 
act : "Sie kommen immer, wenn die Zugvogel abreisen ! Wenn 
die vielen Zugvogel bei uns Station machen, kommen Sie 
auch."*^ Another reference to the birds is made by Maurer : 
"Hast du die tausend und abertausend Stare und Schwalben auf 
den Strohmiitzen der Fischerkaten druben in Vitte gesehn ? Diese 
Aufregung, dieser Eifer, diese entziickende Reiselust !"^® While 
in Vor Sonnenaufgang, Rose Bernd, and Die Jungfern vom 
Bischofsherg nature sounds are described in the stage directions, 
in this play there is no mention of the roaring thunder of the 
ocean until it is referred to by Maurer.*"^ A device similar to 
that of the silent scene noted in Vor Sonnenaufgang Act P* is 
used when Maurer and Schilling become absorbed in contem- 
plation of the sea and the blood-red glow of the evening sky. 
The latter is the only change noted in the background during 
the act and is of course to be included among those demanded 
by the passing of time. It may also be interpreted symbolically, 
as in Vor Sonnenaufgang. Act II plays in a room of the island 
inn. The only suggestion of the outdoor surroundings is the 
stuffed seamew. 

Act III presents again a picture of the shore described in 
somewhat more detail than in Act I. Between two sand dunes 
a broad path extends toward the background, disappyearing among 
the sand hills. In the angle formed by the more distant hills the 
sea appears like a deep blue wall. Above it is the deeper blue 
of the cloudless sky. In the foreground to the right of the path 
and slightly raised lies a graveyard ; a part of the low wall which 
encloses it is visible and above this wall is the little old house 

•• Gabriel Schillings Flucht, p. 171. 
•• Gabriel Schillings Flucht, p. 176. 
" Gabriel Schillings Flucht, p. 174. 
" Cf . page 34. 

Nature Background in Dramas of Gerhart Hauptmann 43 

for the dead covered with shingles. With the exception of a 
windblown juniper bush beside the wall there is no vegetation. 
Near the bush is an old weatherbeaten bench. To the left of 
the path stands an old monastery which is almost in ruins except 
for an arch of brownish red brickwork. Behind the ruins rise 
several ancient poplars and ash trees. 

Here Hauptmann has achieved the desired effect by a monot- 
ony of color and contour. The cold blue of the sea and the sky, 
the gray of the stones and of the sand dunes are relieved by 
only one note of warmth, the brownish red of the brick wall. 
Then the low sand dunes, the level expanse of the sea, the low 
walls, the one windblown juniper bush, — to this picture is added 
but one note of emphasis, the ancient poplars and ash trees 
standing forth as lonely sentinels. These elements combine 
objectively to produce the effect which Hauptmann comments 
upon in the sentence: "Etwas romantisch Diisteres liegt auf 
diesem Gebiet". And it is all in harmony with the sense of 
impending disaster which develops during the act. This is 
emphasized throughout the act by such things as the flight of a 
seamew over the valley of the dunes®^ and the cry of a crow^"" 
just before Schilling's collapse. A gruesome effect is also pro- 
duced by Schilling's imitation of the call of the cuckoo, with the 
returning echo.^®^ 

The scene of the fourth act is a room on the first floor of 
the inn. Through the windows the sea is visible, which like a 
blue wall so completely fills the frame of one's vision that only a 
small bit of sky can be seen. It is once more a radiantly clear 
autumn day. 

Act V repeats the scene of the first act. But now the sun 
has set, leaving the sky suffused with a vivid afterglow which 
casts a magical light over the scene. This magic effect is the 
keynote of the nature element in the whole scene. It reveals an 
extreme subjectivity which makes nature take direct interest in 

Gabriel Schillings Flucht, p. 208 (cf. Einsame Menschen, p. 287). 
" Gabriel Schillings Flucht, p. 218. 
* Gabriel Schillings Flucht, p. 213 ff . 

44 Nature Background in Dramas of Gerhart Hauptmann 

the fate of the wretched, tormented Schilling, for whom there is 
no relief except in the depths of the sea. The tension of the 
whole situation is felt in the atmosphere. From Miss Lucy and 
Miss Majakin one hears that there is : "etwas so Verhaltenes, was 
so formlich beangstigt, in der Luft."^'^^ The dead calm makes 
the water so clear that every boat is mirrored on its glassy sur- 
face. At the close of the drama the fresh, invigorating wind 
rises, bringing with it a refreshing storm. The sea begins to 
roar with constantly increasing loudness and grows black as coal 
with strange streaks of yellow foam that cast yellow reflections, 
bordered by a purplish red, upon the wet sand,^*^^ — a magic efifect 
which nature assumes as a sign that Gabriel Schilling has at 
last found a "refuge safe and eternal".^*'* 

The importance of the nature element in this drama is 
greatly emphasized by the constant reference to it that the 
various characters make. 

In Gabriel Schilling we have one of the most notable exam- 
ples of expression of temperament through reaction to nature. 
This high-strung artist is a "problematische Natur" of the most 
exaggerated type, physically and spiritually sick, "tortured by the 
beak and clawlike nervous energy of two women who pursue him 
in a passion for possession and absorption."^^^ In this condition 
the sea and the fresh salt air are for Schilling not only the means 
of physical invigoration, but the embodiment also of spiritual 
purity and freedom. This, then, explains his exclamation of 
exaggerated exaltation at the sight of the sea and the prospect 
of bathing in its waves: 

"Es ist verflucht, wie unsereiner nervos auf dem Hunde 
ist. Man merkt das vor so einem plotzlichen Ein- 
druck. . . . Du kannst dir nicht denken, Ottfried, wie 
sehr ich diesmal nach dem Anblick gelechzt habe. . . . 

"^ Gabriel Schillings Flucht, p. 237. 
^'" Gabriel Schillings Flucht, p. 239. 
^" Gabriel Schillings Flucht, p. 246. 
"° Ludwig Lewisohn, Dramatic Works of Gerhart Hauptmann, Vol. VI, 

p. X. 

Nature Background in Dramas of Gerhart Haiiptmann 45 

Ich habe mitten im Larm und Asphaltgestank der Fried- 
richstrasse schon immer das Meer vor Augen gesehen, tat- 
sachlich, als richtige Luftspiegelung. Ich bin wie ein See- 
hund! Ich mochte gleich Hals iiber Kopf mitten 
hinein. . . . Und nu June, Reinheit, Freiheit! Luft! 
Gott sei Dank, ja, man kann hier wieder mal atmen! Hof- 
fentHch kommt bald'n Sturm! So was Wildes, Frisches, 
Tolles, Brausendes, Salzhaltiges branch ich! — ein Bad! — 
Kein Weibergeplarr ! Kein Zungengedresch in Nacht- 
cafes! In Freiheit zugrunde gehn, meinethalb — nur nicht 
vergurgeln in einem Abraumkanale !" ^^® 

That the sea has come to have a supersensual significance 
for Schilling appears definitely in the following remark: 

"Ich glotze diesmal die See mit Augen an — wovon ihr 
keine Ahnung habt, Kinder. Als wenn einem der Starr 
gestochen worden ist. Dort stammen wir her, dort gehoren 
wir hin." ^"^^ 

And this feature is emphasized, when, still more nervously 
excited as a result of the visit from Hanna Elias, listening to 
the sea in motionless delirium, he raises his arms ecstatically 
as if he had caught a supernatural vision, and cries — "Oh!!! 
Oh!!! Oh!!! das Element, das Element!" And then, as if 
blinded by the supernatural splendor into which he would dis- 
solve, he totters and falls. ^^^ Finally, when, fatally ill, he steals 
from his bed to find in the sea the relief he so passionately 
craves, he leaves this message for his friends: "Der Maler 
Schilling hat hier auf Fischmeisters Oye die beste Idee seines 
Lebens gehabt . . . oder sagen Sie lieber bloss, ich bin baden 
gegangen." ^^^ 

Schilling's friends, the sculptor Maurer and the violinist 
Lucie Heil, also evince a love for the sea that is only less pas- 
sionate as their need for the relief it offers is the less desperate. 
In Maurer's first exclamation are mingled both his aesthetic and 

^'^ Gabriel Schillinp' Flucht, pp. 180, 181, 185. 
"' Gabriel Schillings Flucht, p. 181. 
^°* Gabriel Schillings Flucht, p. 218. 
*•* Gabriel Schillings Flucht, p. 241. 

46 Nature Background in Dramas of Gerhart Hauptmann 

his emotional delight: "Diese Klarheit! Dieses stumme und 
machtige Stromen des Lichtes! Dazu die Freiheit im Wandern 
iiber die pfadlose Grastafel. Dazu der Salzgeschmack auf den 
Lippen. Das geradezu bis zu Tranen erschiitternde Brausen der 
See, — siehst du, hier hinter der Brille ist noch ein Tropfen! — 
Dieses satte, strahlende Maestoso, womit sie ihre Brandungen 
ausrollen lasst. Kostlich !" "<* 

Lucy largely echoes this feeling in her words: "Die See! 
Die See ! Die See ! Wenn ihr wollt, dass ich wieder lebendig und 
fuchsfidel munter werde, wenn ich mal sollte gestorben sein, so 
braucht ihr mich bloss in Seewasser zu tunken!"^^^ 

To both Maurer and Lucie there is a supersensual, an eter- 
nal meaning in it all — "Das klare Gefiihl, das sich hier ununter- 
brochen meldet, dass hinter dieser sichtbaren Welt eine andere 
verborgen ist. Nahe bis zum anklopfen."^^- 

The wild rocky nature of the island of Ithaca becomes very 
real in the play Der Bogen des Odysseus, but the effect is pro- 
duced by general stage directions, supplemented by information 
given by the characters in the play, rather, than by strictly nat- 
uralistic technique. The directions of the first act simply sug- 
gest a high, rocky land, partly covered with forests of ancient 
oaks. The time is given as noon, but no mention is made of 
the season or the weather or the light. It is Odysseus, returned 
after years of wandering, who, by identifying certain landmarks 
of his passionately loved home, gives the further details which 
complete the picture of the landscape: 

"Walder, ihr umgriint 

Des Felsens Flanke wie ein Vlies! zur Bucht 
Ergiesst ein Strom sich! Weiden stehen dort 
und Pappeln! Fischer liegen auf dem Fang 
und draussen kreuzen Segel! — Schliess ich nun 
Mein Auge oder tu ich's auf: es ist 
Das gleiche Bild! dem innren Sinne und 
Dem aussern die gleiche Wohltat! . . ." "^ 

'^'Gabriel Schillings Flucht, p. I74- 
"' Gabriel Schillings Flucht, p. 189. 
"' Gabriel Schillings Flucht, p. 206. 
"* Der Bogen des Odysseus, p. 28. 

Nature Background in Dramas of Gerhart Hauptmann 47 

and again: 

"Liegt hinter jenen sanften Hiigeln dort, 
Die vom Gevvolk des Olbaums grau umschattet, 
Den Strom verbergend, nach der Kiiste streben, . . . ? 
Liegt hinter ihnen. . . . ? zwar verborgen . . .?nein?" 

In another place he mentions that it is cold on the island.^^* 

From Leukone's reply to Melanto's complaint about carry- 
ing water we discover that there is a drought in the land: 

"... Duklagst 
und klagst, und doch kann ich die wasserlose Zeit, 
Die Vater Kroion liber uns verhangt, 
Nicht wandeln. Kann die heiligen Wasserquellen, 
Die trockenen, nicht wieder springen machen." **^ 

This remark gives the keynote to the nature treatment 
throughout thej drama, Hauptmann has made it reflect the 
nature feeling of the Homeric period in which it is laid. Just 
as the drought is due to Kronos, so all the phenomena are re- 
garded with delight or alarm as manifestations of the favor or 
disfavor of the gods. It is a land, as Lewisohn says, where 
"The thunder is the very voice of Zeus ; Pan plays his pipes in 
the shaggy hills and over the windless sea hovers the malignity 
of Poseidon." ^^^ Since this is typical of the nature element 
throughout the play it has not been considered necessary to 
present the details of the following acts.""^ 

"*Z)<?r Bogen des Odysseus, p. 32. 
^^^ Der Bogen des Odysseus, p. 10. 
"* Gerhart Hauptmann — Dramatic Works, VII, p. 13. 
"' For further examples cf. Der Bogen des Odysseus, pp. 107, 108, 112, 
114, lis. 

Dramas With Indoor Settings. 

In considering the plays of the second group there will, of 
course, be little question of actual landscape description. In most 
cases the nature element in the background takes the form of 
suggestions concerning effects of atmosphere and light. Indi- 
viduals make correspondingly little reference to nature. The 
task will, therefore, usually consist in determining the relation 
between these nature touches and the play itself. 

The action of Das Friedensfest takes place in a lonely coun- 
try house on the Schiitzenhiigel near Erkner, in the late afternoon 
and evening of the day before Christmas. In the detailed de- 
scription of the room is included the fact that the windows are 
frozen and partly banked with snow. This realistic touch adds 
dreariness to the situation in which the members of a family, 
hopelessly divided by their individual hereditary characteristics, 
meet for an attempted reconciliation. There is no other refer- 
ence to nature in the play. 

Die Weber gives no decription of outdoor surroundings be- 
yond a mention of the setting in Kaschbach in the Eulengebirge, 
in Peterswaldau and in Langenbielau at the foot of the Eulenge- 
birge, but in two of the acts skillful use is made of the atmos- 
pheric and light effects to help define the mood. A sultry noon- 
day toward the end of May is the fitting time chosen to present 
the mob of waiting weavers in Act I, standing as if before the 
bar of justice in torturing expectation of a decision that may 
mean life or death to them. In Act II the pathos of the scene in 
the dilapidated little room of the weaver Ansorge is accentuated 
by the faint ray of rosy evening light which shines upon the 
shrivelled face of the old woman at the spinning wheel. Other- 
wise there is no use of nature in the play. 

In the "dream poem" Hannele, the nature element in the mil- 
lieu of the child's life plays an important part in shaping her 


Nature Background in Dramas of Gerhart Hauptmann 49 

visions of heaven. The stage directions define the scene as a 
stormy December evening in a room of an almshouse. Frequent 
allusions on the part of the characters and the accompanying 
stage directions continue to attract attention to the howHng wind 
and drizzling snow.^^^ This, however, ceases during the act, so 
that as Dr. Gottwald and Dr. Wachler watch at Hannele's bed- 
side the moonlight streams in upon them.^^® From this point on, 
Hauptmann makes constant use of various phenomena of light 
for dramatic purposes. It is almost dark when Mattern, drunk 
and unkempt, appears at the foot of Hannele's bed and threatens 
her with punishment,'^*' but the moonlight shines clearly upon 
her head as she fancies she hears the voice of Jesus calling her 
to Him. '2' Again, twilight fills the room as the pale and ghostly 
form of Hannele's mother appears at the bedside where Han- 
nele is now sleeping. Then as the children's voices are heard 
singing : 

"Schlaf, Kindchen, schlaf," 

the room gradually grows quite dark.'^^ Finally, as a closing 
effect, a gold-green light suddenly floods the room, while angels 
appear and take up the song.'^^ 

The scene of the second act is the same as it was before the 
appearance of the angels. Again various effects of light accom- 
pany the action. A supernatural, white light fills the room when 
the Angel of Death appears.'^* At this point, too, the storm out- 
side begins to gain in strength. '^^ As Hannele lies in death a 
pale light shines upon her body.'^® When Mattern, accused of 
cruelty toward Hannele, swears his innocence, faint blue flashes 
of lightning and rumbling of thunder register nature's protest to 
his perjury. '2^ A mystic, greenish-yellow light streams from 
the "Himmelsschliissel" in Hannele's hand when Mattern, in 
turn, accuses Hannele of having cheated him.'^^ Then a golden- 

^ Hannele s Himmelfahrt, pp. 13, 14, 15, 16. 

"^ Hannele s Himmelfahrt, p. 24. ^Hanneles Himmelfahrt, p. 37; 

"° Hanmles Himmelfahrt, p. 28. >» Hanneles Himmelfahrt, p. 40. 

^ Hanneles Himmelfahrt, p. 31.1 ^Hanneles Himmelfahrt, p. 44J 

"" Hanneles Himmelfahrt, p. 32. ^ Hanneles Himmelfahrt, p. 48; 

^Hanneles Himmelfahrt, p. 34. ^Hanneles Himmelfahrt, p. 49. 

50 Nature Background in Dramas of Gerhart Hauptmann 

green light steals into the room as the stranger advances to the 
coffin and calls to Hannele to arise. At the close, as the angels 
sing, the room gradually grows light again, revealing the alms- 
house as it was in the original scene. ^-^ 

The child Hannele herself frequently gives expression to 
her "Weltweh," her "Himmelssehnsucht' and her idea of "Him- 
melslicht" very largely in terms of nature. On earth she has 
seen mostly the cold, cruel side of nature. The memory of the 
many nights she has been compelled to spend out in the snow 
until she could beg enough money to satisfy her brutal step- 
father lends real terror to her cry: "Horch, wie der Wald 
rauscht! Heute morgen hat ein Windbaum auf den Bergen ge- 
legen. . . . Horch! es stiirmt!"^^® And her last desperate 
act, to which she has been driven in the hope of finding relief 
from her misery, has simply brought her the new horror of con- 
tact with the black, icy depths of the pool. The heaven of her 
imagination, therefore, is naturally one of sunny warmth and 
beauty and plenty, and the words of the old slumber song with 
which Martha induces her to sleep are, in turn, suggestive of the 
joys she craves: 

"Schlaf, Kindchen, Schlaf ! 
Im Garten geht ein Schaf, 
Im Garten geht ein Lammelein, 
Schlaf, Kindchen, Schlaf." 

That the vision of a beautiful and kindly outdoor world is 
before her as she sleeps, is evident from her remark to her mother : 
"In deinem Gaumen wachsen Maiglockchen," and from her ques- 
tion : "1st es schon, wo du bist?" And the mother's answer again 
emphasizes the point: "Weite, weite Auen, bewahrt vor dem 
Winde, geborgen vor Sturm und Hagel wetter, in Gottes Hut." 
Hannele's childish longing for flowers is also anticipated in the 
assurance that roses and lilies will cool her fever-parched heart. 
The pledge of these joys that are to come is given her in the 
form of the "Himmelsschliissel."^^^ Finally, the whole concep- 

^ Hannele s Himmelfahrt, p. 53. 
^ Hanneles Himmelfahrt, p. 24. 
^Hanneles Himmelfahrt, p. 33. 

Nature Background in Dramas of Gerhart Hauptmann 51 

tion that nature is to grant her in heaven the deHghts denied her 
upon earth is expressed in the angels' song, each stanza of which 
emphasizes its particular form of joy. Although so often quoted 
elsewhere, these lines may be included here as of particular in- 
terest for the present investigation : 

"Auf jenen Hiigeln die Sonne, 
Sie hat dir ihr Gold nicht gegeben; 
Das wehende Griin in den Talern, 
Es hat sich fiir dich nicht gebrcitet. 

Das goldene Bret auf den Ackern, 
Dir wollt es den Hunger nicht stillen; 
Die Milch der weidenden Kinder, 
Dir schaumte sie nicht in den Krugj 

Die Blumen und Bliiten der Erde, 
Gesogen voll Duft und voll Susse, 
Voll Purpur und himmlischer Blaue, 
Dir saumten sie nicht deinen Weg. 

Wir bringen ein erstes Grtissen 
Durch Finsternisse getragen; 
Wir haben auf unsern Fedem 
Ein erstes Hauchen von Gluck. 

Wir fuhren am Saum unsrer Kleider 
Ein erstes Duften des Fruhlings; 
Es bliihet von unsern Lippen 
Die erste Rote des Tages. 

Es leuchtet von unsern Fussen 
Der griine Schein unsrer Heimat : 
Es blitzen im Grund unsrer Augen 
Die Zinnen der ewigen Stadt." "* 

Again, in the last scene, the chief delights of Hanriele's 
heaven are described in nature symbols. Her eyes are to be filled 
with everlasting light; her soul is to be all sunshine; eternal 
brightness is to be hers from dawn to eve and then until dawn 
again. She is to feast her eyes upon all the glories of the deep 
blue sea and azure sky and fair green trees. In the famous clos* 
ing lines Hauptmann lets his own fancy run riot in depicting the 
extravagant wonders of Hannele's paradise. There roses and 
lilies grow in the streets, beautiful butterflies flutter around, and 
swans soft as snow circle about in the sky. Hannele is to be 

"'Hanneles Himmelfahrt, p. 34. 

52 Nature Background in Dramas of Gerhart Hatiptmann 

warm and comfortable, as she is borne to this paradise above 
waving grasses and beyond shimmering wastes of moonlit space. 
While she rests there she is to be refreshed by antelope's milk and 
water from the mountain brook. The dews and moisture of the 
budding sprays of lilac and jasmine will drip gently upon her 
like the showers of May. Humming birds of iris hues, flashing 
gold and green from walls of malachite, daffodils and tulips, 
swaying palms and glorious red poppies are all to delight the 
senses of a child who upon earth has known nothing but cold and 
gloom and ugliness. 

The little touch of nature introduced into the drama Der 
rote Hahn can claim neither aesthetic nor symbolic effect, for the 
windy weather that prevails is merely a condition necessary to 
the success of the incendiaries. The wind is first mentioned in 
the stage directions of Act II and subsequently emphasized 
throughout the act.'^^ 

Thejiature background in the fantastically symbolic drama 
Und Pippa tanzt shows an interesting combination of naturalis- 
tic technique and symbolic application. Though all the acts have 
indoor settings they all include some suggestion of their Silesian 
Mountain surroundings. In i\ct I a public room in old Wende's 
tavern in Redbrook Gorge is so scantily lighted that the moon- 
light which steals in through the windows is noticeable in the 
smoky atmosphere. It is after midnight, and rigorous winter 
weather prevails outside. These details all emphasize the unsuit- 
ableness of this forbidding place for Pippa, the lovely embodi- 
ment of the Ideal of Beauty, who has come from her home in 
Venice to "dem verreisten Barbarenland." 

The second act depicts a worse scene in the interior of a soli- 
tary cabin in the mountains, where smoke, age and neglect have 
had their full effect. Windows are stopped with straw, moss, 
leaves and boards. The floor is covered with leaves, and the 
bed of boards covered with birch, beech and oak leaves. A single 
bright ray of moonlight makes its way through a window in the 
room. The first gusts of a rising storm are heard, and snow blows 

' Der rote Hahn, pp. 314, 218, 234. 

Nature Background in Dramas of Gerhart Hauptmann 53 

into the house. One furious blast after another heightens the 
dramatic effect of this part of the act in which Pippa crouches in 
desperate terror before her captor, Huhn. This, in itself natur- 
alistic, phenomenon is followed by a more artificial, symbolic 
touch just before Hellriegel, who has come to rescue Pippa, ap- 
pears in the door. "Nun ist es, als ob etwas wie ein klingendcr 
Luftzug durch den finsteren Raum hauchte." And, as he comes 
in, we are told that "Die Musik noch immer zunehmend ebbt und 
flutet."^^^ At the close of the act when Pippa and Hellriegel, 
rapturously happy in their love for each other, plan to leave the 
cold, bare mountains for the warm, sunny south, the first gleam 
of the morning sun is seen on Hellriegel's finger as a symbol of 
the joys in store for them in the southlands. Then, as the curtain 
falls, music which had begun with the appearance of the sun con- 
tinues, representing the mighty spectacle. ^^^ This melodramatic 
effect (in the literal sense of the term) is an interesting departure 
from Hauptmann's usual treatment of nature. 

Act III takes us to a snow-bound hut on the ridge of the 
mountains. The mountain top itself is symbolic of the spiritual 
heights upon which the worthy old man Wann dwells, whose 
face is, as it were, covered with runes and whose age seems 
strength, beauty and youth raised to a high power. The peculiar 
objects in the room of this mythical person, such as collections 
of excavated implements, glass globes, a telescope and a model 
of a Venetian gondola are brought out sharply and fantastically 
by the glow of the setting sun. 

In Act IV, which is simply a continuation of the third act, 
nature shows by subterranean rumbling its disturbance at Huhn's 
invitation to Pippa to dance with him, and when Pippa yields and 
grants him the dance that causes her death, muffled sounds of 
rumbling thunder again come from the depths of the earth. ^^'^ 
As a closing dramatic effect, Hellriegel's joy in the belief that 

Und Pippa tanst, p. 122, 123. 

Und Pippa tanst, pj 131. 

Und Pippa tanst, pp. 159, 161. 

54 Nature Background in Dramas of Gerhart Hauptmann 

he has at last been wedded to his Ideal, Pippa, is reflected in the 
new light of the morning. ^^^ 

In this play Hauptmann once more makes sensitiveness to 
the background vary with the temperaments of the individuals. 
The director, the dashing gentleman of the world, whose chief 
delight is the enjoyment of Parisian cafes, considers the two 
hours' ride through the forest on a cold January day simply a 
necessary evil to be endured in the hope of finding some enter- 
tainment in the Redbrook Gorge Inn. When he is disappointed 
in this he resents the very clearness of the January night. — "Acht- 
zehn Grad!" he says; "klar! hell wie am lichten Tag! zum wahn- 
sinnig werden der Sternenhimmel ! blau, alles blau!"*** 

With Michael Hellriegel, however, it is different. This 
young man whose pale face shows unusual, almost noble, feat- 
ures, and in whose whole appearance there is a touch of the fan- 
tastic, is an idealist who pursues "einem fliegenden Spinnge- 
webe hundert Meilen und weiter nach." He gladly braves the 
cold and the snow because he is on the search for the unusual, 
which proves to be Pippa, the embodiment of the ideal of love- 
liness. The feeling for nature that one expects to find in such a 
temperament shows itself first of all in the question he asks 
Pippa about Venice, her home. Her report of the springtime 
beauty of her land attracts him at once, and in his rapture over 
the fact that Pippa will entrust herself to him on the journey 
thither, he eagerly greets the first ray of sun that shines on the 
cold mountain top as a promise of the delights of the south. — 
"Es kriecht schon ein bischen Sonne dran. Die kann man essen ! 
Die muss man ablecken! da steht man nicht ab und behalt heiss 
Blut! — Horst du auch Vogel singen, Pippa ?"^^* And his ecstasy 
grows as he contemplates the rising sun: "Ziep, Ziep! das kann 
eine Maus, eine Goldammer oder eine Tiirangel sein ! — Einerlei : 
alle merken was ! das alte Haus knistert durch und durch ! manch- 

Und Pippa tanst. p. i66. 
Und Pippa tanzt, p. 105. 
Und Pippa tanst, pj 130. 

Nature Background in Dramas of Gerhart Hauptmann 55 

mal wird mir gerade ganz erhaben zumut! wenn das ungeheure 
Ereignis kommt . . . !^'**^ And he seems to ride above 
the mountain tops and over the seas of hyacinths, and 
then to sink down among marble gardens and meadows blue 
with flowers and into emerald valleys. Hellriegel's intense 
desire for the beauty of the southern lands reaches a 
climax when he fancies that through the death of his rival Huhn 
the last obstacle in the way of taking Pippa with him to the land 
of his dreams has been removed. Blind as he is, and, therefore, 
unaware that Pippa has been crushed to death by the brutal force 
of Huhn, he believes he gets a vision of splendid mountains flam- 
ing in the light of morning, of peninsulas and bays and gardens 
and valleys, of the sea, and beyond it another sea which reflects 
the twinkling lights of millions of little stars, among which he 
and Pippa are floating to their golden palace. 

With Fuhrmann Henschel Hauptmann returns to the purely 
naturalistic technique. The minute description of the peasant 
room in the basement of a hotel in a Silesian watering place be- 
gins with the statement that the gloomy light of a late winter 
afternoon is coming in through two windows set high in the 
wall. The concluding sentence of the description defines the time 
as the middle of February and states that the weather is stormy. 
Both stage directions and dialogue indicate that the storm be- 
comes wilder as the act progresses. ^^^ The setting again ac- 
cords with the dreariness of the scene in which Frau Henschel 
approaches her death with the conviction that her husband is no 
longer true to her in his thought. 

Act n plays in the same room as Act I. The bed in which 
Frau Henschel died has been removed and the window which it 
covered is wide open. Through it shines the sun of a beautiful 
morning in May. The springtime cheer is suggestive of the 
mood of the Henschel household, where the success of Hanna's 
scheme to marry Henschel becomes assured. 

Acts ni and IV make no use of the nature element. 

Und Pippa tanst, p. 130. 

Fuhrmann Henschel, pp. 377. 378, 380. 

56 Nature Background in Dramas of Gerhart Hauptmann 

In Act V the moon which shines into the little room of the 
first three acts not only lends a soft light to a pathetic scene, but 
it assumes also a mystical, supersensual significance, which is as 
unmistakable as that of the ocean in Gabriel Schillings Flucht. 
In this play the naive and undemonstrative drayman gives ex- 
pression to his belief in the simple statement "Da oben sein 
gjg"i42 — ^j^g .^^ife and child whom he thinks he has killed. And 
the calm and peace suggested by the moon is as different from 
the roaring, tumbling ocean as the quiet life of the Henschels is 
different from the nervous excitement of Schilling's experience. 

In the naturalistic play Michael Kramer, the room in the 
apartment of the artist Kramer in a provincial capital is seen on 
a dark winter morning toward nine o'clock. This is in accord 
with the dismal tone of a scene which depicts misunderstanding 
and consequent antagonism between members of the same family. 

In Act II Hauptmann fails to include in the extremely min- 
ute description of Michael Kramer's studio any mention of the 
light or of the view of beautiful poplars mentioned by the land- 
scape painter Lachmann during a visit with Kramer. This is a 
striking lapse in the naturalistic technique. 

Twilight lends a subdued effect to the restaurant which is 
to be the unhappy scene of the quarrel in Act III, which ends in 
Arnold Kramer's going out to drown himself. 

Kramer's studio, where in Act IV the dead body of Arnold 
lies, is made more somber by the dull light of late afternoon. 
A faint afterglow of the sun that has already set comes through 
the windows as the curtains are pushed aside to reveal the dead 
body. This is in itself a realistic effect, but it is probably used 
for symbolic purposes. 

Although the dream technique is used again in Elga, there is 
much less of the supernatural and artificial and symbolic in the 
nature element than in Hannele. The changes in the background 
are chiefly realistic ones, so used as to increase the dramatic 
effect. The stage directions of the first scene fail to define the 
place beyond the mention of an "emster, hoher Raum in einem 
Kloster," From the conversation between the knight and the 

' Fuhrmarm Henschel, p. 436. 

Nature Background in Dramas of Gerhart Hauptmann 57 

monk we discover that the monastery is situated in the beautiful 
valley of the Woidwodschaft Sendomir, a blessed land of splen- 
did forests and hills and ravines and of fruitful fields and flow- 
ers.*^* The mystery and the uncanniness of the room, which, the 
servant says, is haunted and in which the bed resembles a coffin, 
is increased by the dimness of twilight. As the knight meditates 
alone the moonlight shines more and more clearly and brightly 
upon him. After the visit of the monk who hints at strange and 
gloomy things about Count Starschenski, who has become a re- 
cluse in the cloister, the moonlight disappears and leaves the 
room absolutely dark as a transition to the dream. In the first 
scene of this dream, representing Count Starschenski in the ful- 
ness of his joy with wife and child, the beautiful room is flooded 
with the sunlight. From the text we discover that it is the sun- 
light of springtime. ^*^ The directions of the next scene, in whicli 
Elga is waiting for her secret lover Oginski, state simply that it 
is night, but Elga adds "Es ist heute so hell. . . . Der Mond 
scheint so furchtbar hell. Fast tagehell ist es."^^^ But here the 
obvious intention is not to call attention to the beauty or to the 
romantic eflfect of the moonlight, but rather to emphasize the 
added danger to Oginski. In Scene 4, where Starschenski sits in 
his armchair brooding over the thought of his wife's disloyalty to 
him, the stage directions indicate that it is the hour before sun- 
rise. The beauty of the sun as it gradually rises beyond the 
fields, and the music of the birds in the garden are described by 
Starschenski 's mother. Hauptmann makes use of the joyousness 
of this nature scene to emphasize by contrast the gloomy dejec- 
tion of Starschenski. 

Scene 6 brings us back to witness those horrors which have 
left their peculiarly gruesome effect upon the room as noted in 
Scene i. This is emphasized by the mention of the chill of the 
spring night in which a heavy frost has come and left the ground 

*" This general description corresponds to that in the opening paragraphs 
of Grillparzer's Das Kloster bet Sendomir, the story upon which the play is 
based; cf. Grillparzer, Sdmtliche Werke, Vol. 13, pp. 195 flF. 

^'* Elga, p. 211. 

**• Elga, pj 223. . / 

58 Nature Background in Dramas of Gerhart Hauptmann 

strewn with the blossoms of the trees. ^** Again the room itself 
is dark, except for the faint light of the moon, until a candle is 
lighted in order that Elga may see the body of her lover, whom 
her husband has murdered. Then, as Elga turns away from her 
husband in hatred and horror and disgust, a profound darkness 
falls upon the room. Soon a glimmer of morning light steals 
through the window, until gradually the silhouette of the Knight 
becomes visible against the slowly reddening sky, and the dream 
is ended. ^^'^ 

The reaction of Starschenski to nature about him depends 
entirely upon his passionate love for Elga, Until he knew Elga, 
he says, the world was nothing more than a musty prison. He 
could not comprehend others when they spoke of flowers and 
green fields and golden harvests, when they heard a jubilee in 
the song of birds and saw a smile in the blue of the sky.^^* It 
is Elga's love, he says, that has made him sensible of all these 
things. And when Elga proves false to him, not only do the 
beauties of springtime lose their charm for him again, but they 
become a source of actual torment. "Es ist ein Jubel," he says 
of the songs of the birds, "der einem zum Hollenhohn werden 

Elga gives expression to her own restless longings in the 
words of the song : 

"Ich bin ein wilder Vogel 
Und fahre daher.i 
Ich bin ein weisser Falke, 
Ein schwanenweisser Sperber! 
Ich segle unter der Sonne 
und iiber meinem Schatten : 
Tief unter mein Schatten, 
mein Schatten zieht mit mir.'"^ 

A subtle expression of her passionate mood as she waits 
for Oginski is found in the remark : "Wie siiss der Geruch des 
Flieders ist! Ach, Dortka! Dortka!"^^' 

'Elga. p. 250. 
Elga, pp. 352 flF. 
'Elga, p. 21 1 J 
'Elga, p. 331. 
'Elga, p. 221. 
' Elga, pj 223. 

Nature Background in Dramas of Gcrhart Hauptmann 59 

The minutely described milieu of Der Biherpels includes a 
slight touch of nature in the first and second acts. In Act I it 
is winter and moonlight; in Act II, a bright forenoon in winter. 
his suggestion of the clear cold winter weather is, first of all, 
in accord with the spirit of the play, as indicated by the sub- 
title Diebskombdie, and, in the second place, takes a definite part 
in the plans of the thieves, as indicated in the dialogue. ^^- 

Although the naturalistic drama Die Ratten is located in the 
city of Berlin, nature plays a definite part both in the aspect of 
the actual physical environment and in the symbolic application. 
The attic, and still more, the loft above it, which form the scene 
of Acts I and III, are examples of the mustiness and gloom that 
follow from the lack of sunshine and fresh air, and the whole 
situation is one which is well described by John's words : 

"Aliens is hier morsch! Aliens faule Holz! Aliens unter- 
miniert, von Unjeziefer, von Ratten und Mause zerfressen!"^^* 
This condition of affairs is emphasized by the dialogue.^^* 

The only bit of brightness is seen in Act II, when the warm 
sunlight of a May afternoon shines through the windows of a 
room below the attic, where Frau John sits contentedly by the 
perambulator of the child she has taken as her own. 

The stage directions at the beginning of Act IV include no 
mention of outdoor conditions. With the progress of the act, 
however, the thunderstorm which comes up adds quite subtly 
to the vividness of Bruno's account of the murder, especially 
since it was committed while just such a storm raged. ^^^ In 
Act V there is no mention of outdoor condition^. 

'Der BiberpeLs. pp. 370, 373, 380, 388. 
'Die Ratten, p. 530. 
'Die Ratten, ppj 429, 431, 435, 436, 437. 
*Die Ratten, p. 504, 508, 510, 519. 


The nature element in Hauptmann's dramatic art becomes 
more highly significant when the characteristics discovered in 
the individual plays are brought together and observed in their 
entirety and in the light of comparison with corresponding 
phases of other, contemporary dramas. The present chapter 
contains the general conclusions drawn from such a comparison 
with Ibsen and Strindberg, whose dramatic forms, like Haupt- 
mann's, run the wide gamut from romanticism to ultranatural- 

The first feature to be noted is the extent to which the 
nature-sense has influenced the choice of dramatic settings. Out 
of the twenty-four Hauptmann dramas studied in the foregoing 
chapters, only three^^® are located in large cities. Of those with 
rural surroimdings eleven have outdoor scenes, and in the scenic 
description of all but three of those which have indoor settings 
(including the three in cities), some phase of nature is in- 
cluded. Both Ibsen and Strindberg share Hauptmann's fondness 
for landscape background. Of the twenty-one Ibsen dramas 
studied, all but five ^^'^ include some form of actual landscape 
background, and all but two ^^* some detail of outdoor condi- 
tions. Strindberg includes a view of landscape in twenty-two ^^^ 

^"The striking contrast in this respect with Sudermann may be sug- 
gested incidentally. Out of twenty-four of the latter's plays, ten are placed 
in large cities, and only two of the remaining ones include a description of 
landscape settings 

^ Kronprdtendenten; Puppenheim; Volksfeind; Wildente; Hedda Gab- 

"• Kronprdtendenten; Volksfeind 

"* Meister Olaf ; Gliickspeter; Frdulein Julia; Glduhiger; Paria; Erste 
Warnung; Sanium; Das Band; Mit dem Feuer spielen; Rausch, Totentanz, 
J, II; Gustav Wasa; Advent; Ostern; Mittsomnter; Ein Traumspiel; Die 
Kronbraut; Schwanenweiss; Brandstdtte; Gespenstersonata; Abu Caserns 
Pantoffeln; Die Grosse Landstrasse. 


Nature Background in Dramas of Gerhart Hauptmann 6i 

out of thirty-seven dramas and gives some touch of nature to 
the settings of all but four.^*''^ 

Hauptmann also shares with Ibsen and Strindberg the 
natural tendency to depict the scenery of his own home land. 
Most often it is Silesia, but the Saale Valley, the Black Forest, 
and Brandenburg are also included. In addition, there are re- 
flections of his wider acquaintance with the outdoor world in 
settings in the Italian lake region, in Poland, on the coast of 
the Baltic, and on the island of Ithaca. Ibsen is still more dis- 
tinctly a "Heimatskiinstler" so far as dramatic background is 
concerned. Although he spent much time in other lands, he chose 
as settings almost exclusively the coast of northern, western, 
or southern Norway, or the islands nearby. Exceptions are found 
in the foreign settings of Morocco and Egypt,^®^ and of Con- 
stantinople, Athens, Ephesus, Antioch, Gaul.^®^ Strindberg fre- 
quently fails to state the exact location of his dramas. Those 
mentioned are predominantly Swedish, including the neighbor- 
hood of Stockholm and various sections of Dalecarlia. Foreign lo- 
calities definitely mentioned include Paris,^^^ French Switzer- 
land,^^^ a German landscape,^®^ Algeria ^°® and Bagdad.^^^ 

Concerning the nature technique, the investigation has 
shown that full and detailed descriptions of landscape settings 
are given in Hauptmann's stage directions. This characteristic 
is not confined to the naturalistic plays, although it is here most 
pronounced, but it appears also in poetic, legendary, and roman- 
tic plays. Note has been made of descriptions that were so 
general as to require the addition of supplementary details in 
the dialogue. These descriptions betray on the whole no ten- 

^ Debet und Kredit; Folkungersaga; Der Scheiterhaufen; Die Siarkere. 

"^Peer Gynt, III, IV. - 

"" Kaiser und Galilder. 

*** Rausch. 

*• Vorm Tode. 

^ Erste Warnung. 


^ Abu Caserns Pant off eln. 

62 Nature Background in Dramas of Gerhart Hauptmann 

dency to include subjective comment. Only three instances of 
the slightest approach to it were found. These were in natural- 
istic plays. On the other hand, the descriptions by no means 
leave the impression of mere catalogues of uncoordinated de- 
tails, the chief object of which is the so-called scientific accu- 
racy demanded by consistent naturalistic principles. On the 
contrary, they evince in their entirety definite artistic intent on 
Hauptmann's part. Details pleasing in themselves, such as the 
trees which are pictured again and again in markedly varied 
beauty, — great oaks, stately elms, delicate willows, dark firs and 
blossoming fruit trees; lovely green meadows, through which 
flower-and-tree-bordered brooks wind their way; delightful 
little springs splashing their water into primitive stone basins; 
quiet lakes; the dreamily calm, or the gloriously stormy ocean, 
— all these details might be merely a result of the inevitable, 
almost unconscious, selection of an observing nature-lover who 
had had the good fortune to spend most of his time in a lovely 
and varied outdoor world. A study of these nature settings has, 
however, revealed more than this. Repeated instances have been 
found of a care for arrangement of line, for proper proportion in 
spacing to create depth, for the repetition of significant elements 
in the production of rhythm, for the use of symmetry, and, in 
general, for the proper subordination of all the parts of the pic- 
ture to the centre of interest. Through the knowledge of these 
principles of landscape composition, Hauptmann has produced 
stage settings which are definitely expressive of a particular idea, 
of beauty, for example, or majesty, or joyousness, or loneliness, 
or despair. And these effects are enhanced in most cases by a 
skillful use of light and atmosphere. Indeed in some instances 
this has been the chief element in determining the emotional 
effect of the picture. Proof of the last statement is found in 
the different moods aroused in the same play by the same land- 
scape at different hours of the day, in different conditions of 
weather, or in different seasons of the year. The fact that the 
mood thus aroused by the picture was found always to antici- 

Nature Background in Dramas of Gerhart Hauptmann 63 

pate that of the particular situation in the drama furnishes addi- 
tional evidence of conscious subjective arrangement of the na- 
ture background. It may of course be argued that this is merely 
in accord with the naturalistic theory that every detail of the 
environment is important in determining the character and ac- 
tion of the individuals. This must be admitted to a certain ex- 
tent. Unquestionably there is the closest interaction, in the 
purely naturalistic sense, between the outdoor environment and 
the temperament of such individuals as Rose Bemd, Griselda, or 
Gersuind. In each case the girl is essentially an embodiment 
of nature as presented in the background. And, further, it must 
be admitted that there is in many cases an interaction between 
the passing moods of nature and of man. It is also true, how- 
ever, that in actual life the darkest depths of human experience 
are frequently fathomed at times when nature is brightest and, 
on the other hand, that the heights of happiness are reached in 
spite of nature's depression. Therefore, since Hauptmann 
never defines the mood of nature (in the twenty-one dramas in 
question) as otherwise than accordant with the mood of the 
drama itself (except in two scenes in which he expressly makes 
use of contrast for purposes of emphasis), it can hardly be as- 
suming too much to conclude that he breaks with the naturalis- 
tic principle and definitely and deliberately arranges the nature 
background for theatric effect. 

Still further confirmation of this statement is found in the 
changes which occur in the nature background during an act. 
In most instances these phenomena are, to be sure, in them- 
selves entirely realistic, but they are indicated at such crucial 
moments, even in the naturalistic plays, that they can hardly 
escape the implication of use for dramatic effect, if not for a 
definitely symbolic purpose. 

This method of creating a sympathetic nature background 
finds its prototype in the Ibsen dramas. Even in the earliest, 
romantic period, the naturalistic technique is anticipated in stage 
directions that are fairly definite as to contour and atmosphere. 
The extreme fullness of detail noted in various plays of Haupt- 

64 Nature Background in Dramas of Gerhart Hauptmann 

mann, from his earliest period on, is not to be found in the 
Ibsen dramas until the latest group ^^® is reached. ^^^ 

These descriptions include no subjective comment, but they 
do disclose the painter's dis|)osition in the care for composition 
and the poet's temperament in the harmony that exists between 
the mood of the setting and that of the drama. In practically 
all the dramas this is emphasized by a definition of light or 
atmosphere. ^^° In many instances phenomena of nature, chiefly 
the realistic ones due to the passing of time or changes in 
weather conditions, accompany the action and, in various plays, 
heighten the dramatic effect of the closing scene. ^^^ 

Although Strindberg, like Ibsen and Hauptmann, pays 
great attention to the settings of his plays, his landscajye descrip- 
tions are for the most part simple and suggestive, rather than 
elaborately detailed. ^'^ In plays with interior settings he some- 

"* In referring to the different groups of Ibsen's and Strindberg's dramas, 
the classifications made respectively by Heller in Henrik Ibsen (Houghton 
Mifflin Co., Boston, 1912), and Bjorkman in his articles on Strindberg in 
The Forum of February and March, 1912, have been adhered to. 

"' The following are typical : 

Die Helden auf Helgeland, Act I : A rocky coast which runs precipi- 
tously down to the sea at the back.' To the left, a boat house, to the right, 
rocks and pinewoods. The masts of two warships visible in cove. Far out 
to the right, the sea dotted with reefs and skerries, on which the surf is 
running high: a stormy, snow-grey winter day. 

Die Frau votn Meere, Act IIL A remote part of Dr. Mangel's garden — 
damp, marshy, and overshadowed by large, old trees. The edge of a stag- 
nant pond is seen to the right. The garden is divided from the footpath and 
fjord in the background by a low fence. Far in the distance the mountain 
ranges rise into peaks behind the fjord. 

More detailed descriptions are found in Klein Eyolf, Acts II and III; 
Wenn wir Toten erwachen, I, II, IIIj 

"•Dt> Kronpratendenten and Bin Volksfeind merely state the time as 
"evening" or "morning," without indicating whether the moon or the sun is 

*" See the following plays. The * indicates a special closing effect. 

Die Helden auf Helgeland*; Komodie der Liehe; Brand*; Peer Gynt* ; 
Die Frau vom Meere; Klein Eyolf; Die StUtsen der Gesellschaft* ; Gespen- 
ster*; Die Wildente; Rostnersholm; John Gabriel Borkman; Wenn wir 
Toten erwachen. 

"* The following are typical : 

Gluckspeter, XL— Snow-clad woods; diagonally across stage is an ice- 
covered brook. Dawn. Wind blowing through trees. 

Rausch, IV.— Garden. The wind is stirring up the dead leaves. 
Mit dem Feuer spielen. — Garden. 

Nature Background in Dramas of Gerhart Hauptmann 65 

times merely mentions that there is a view of landscape/^^ with- 
out indicating its aspect; but more frequently he directs the eye 
to one or two features of the outdoor scene. ^^* These details, 
rather than statements concerning the light or atmosphere, serve 
to define the mood. In the latest group of plays there are more 
examples of landscape descriptions which are detailed as to con- 
tour and atmosphere. ^^" These pictures show skilled composi- 
tion and the ability to arouse desired moods. 

When aspects of nature are defined in the beginning they 
usually accompany and, in some cases, take part in the final 
effect. These manifestations of nature may be realistic ones, as 
wind, storm, changes of light, but in some of the symbolic plays 
most extravagantly fantastic phenomena are frequent. ^^^ 

A study of the characteristics just indicated in summary 
brings the conclusion that whether they use the form of a "Mar- 
chendrama" such as Peer Gynt or Gliickspeter or Die versunkene 
Glocke, or the ultranaturalistic technique of Gespenster or Paria 
or Vor Sonnenaufgang, Ibsen, Strindberg, and Hauptmann, all 
gpive a temperamental interpretation and not an objective repro- 
duction of nature. What Biese says of the art with which 
Shakespeare assigns nature a part in the play and makes it form 
not only the appropriate background, dark or light as required, 
but also exert an influence upon human fate,^'" might be applied 

"' Cf . Gl'dubiger. — Parlor-door, through which a landscape is seenj 

Engelhrecht I. — Room in the house of Engelbrecht: a large window in 
the rear which opens upon a landscape 

^* Gliickspeter I. — Room in a church towerj Starlit sky seen through 
windows at back. Snow-covered house-roofs. 

FrauUin Julie. — Large kitchenj Arched doorway, through which are 
seen a fountain with a Cupid, lilac shrubs in bloom, and the tops of Lom- 
bardy poplars. 

Gustav Wasa, III.< — The King's study. Several windows are open, and 
through these may be seen trees in the first green of spring. 

•"See, for sample, Mittsommer, I; Karl XII, I; Die Kronbraut, I; Ein 
Trcmmspiel, I. 

** See, for example, the following playsj A * indicates a special climactic 
tflFect. Paria; Samutn; Advent*; Totentattii*' ; Die Konhraut* ; Traumspiel; 
Gespenstersonata* ; Wetterleuchten*. See especially: Gliickspeter, Advent, 
Schwanenweiss, Traumspiel. 

"* A. Biese — The Development of the Feeling for Nature, London, 1905J 

66 Nature Background in Dramas of Gerhart Hauptmann 

in varied degrees to the nature treatment of these three repre- 
sentative modern dramatists. What Shakespeare suggests to the 
imagination in passages of descriptive poetry, these writers pre- 
sent in stage directions for direct pictorial representation upon 
the stage. In their naturalistic as well as in their romantic plays, 
they give evidence, not only of a keen-eyed observation of the 
phenomena of nature, but also of the poetic instinct that finds 
in them an inner meaning. 

The question, then, arises as to whether there is a particu- 
lar aspect of nature to which these dramatists most characteris- - 
tically respond. Does the modern, naturalistically inclined dra- 
matist reject the landscape that is "charming and fair," as dis- 
cordant with his mood, and seek instead a more "sombre and 
chastened sublimity of scene?" 

With Ibsen in mind, one might be inclined to answer this 
question affirmatively, for certainly the colder, mist-enveiled 
fjords of the north, with their barren, rocky coasts and the bleak, 
icy mountains, overhung with dark, heavy clouds, form a char- 
acteristic Ibsen landscape. And the individuals who would at- 
tain their ideals must seek the mountain tops where life is vigor- 
ous and lonesome and forbidding, but, at the same time, healthy 
and free and exhilarating. Only death brings the consciousness 
of the purifying and gladdening rays of the sun to those whose 
lives have been spent in the mist and gloom of the lowlands. 

But this conception of nature is peculiar to Ibsen rather 
than characteristic of the period. Strindberg's landscape is en- 
tirely diflferent. He does, indeed, depict the frozen lakes and 
snow-covered woods with which he, too, from his life in the 
north, is familiar, but the aspect of the outdoor world that he 
likes best to picture is the colorful, fragrant springtime, made 
melodious with songs of birds and the rustling of the breezes. 
It is significant that flowers, either cut or growing, appear some- 
where in the setting of almost every drama of Strindberg's. 
And the realization of ideals is expressed, not through the ascent 
of rugged mountains, but through the transformation from the 
snowy, bleak landscapes of winter to these flower-filled gardens. 

Nature Background in Dramas of Gerhart Hauptmann 67 

Hauptmann's landscape reflects still another temperament. 
It is true that he presents the vigor and the sublimity of the 
mountain top and the sea. He has the capacity, too, for the en- 
joyment of the voluptuous beauty of southern lands, but the 
favorite aspect of nature with him is the gentler and the simpler 
charm of the stretch of green fields, dotted here and there with 
groups of trees and enclosed by a range of wooded hills along 
the horizon. From the sordidness of human experience, the 
"Weh der Erde," he looks away to such a scene as this and 
catches a glimpse of the "Himmels licht." 

^ u 



Dramas Which Form the Basis of the Foregoing Study. 

Gerhart Hauptmann Gesammelte IVerke. Volksausgabe in sechs 

Banden. S. Fischer, Berlin, 191 2. 
Heinrik Ibsens samtlkhe IVerke in deutscher Sprache. Durch- 

gesehen unci eingeleitet von Georg Brandes, Julius Elias, 

Paul Schlenther. Berlin, 1898-1903. 
Strindhergs Werke. Deutsche Gesamtausgabe unter Mitwir- 

-l^'ang> von Emil Schering als Ubersetzer. Vom Dichter 
; .'seibst t'eranstaltet. Berlin, 1914. 
*Meister Olaf. Translated from the Swedish with an Introduc- 
tion by E. Bjorkman. From the Prose Version of 1872. 

Boston, 191 5. 
* Lucky Pehr (Gliickspeter). Translated by V. S. Howard. 

Cincinnati, 19I3. 

In addition to the German editions listed above, the fol- 
lowing translations and the admirable introductions to the sev- 
eral volumes have been consulted : 
Gerhart Hauptmann. Dramatic Works. Edited by Ludwig 

Lewisohn. Seven volumes. Published by B. W. Huebsch. 

New York, 191 3- 191 7. 
The Collected Works of Henrik Ibsen. Edited by William 

Archer. Twelve volumes. New York. Charles Scribner's 

Sons, 1908-1911. 
Plays by August Strindberg. Translated from the Swedish, 

with an Introduction by Edwin Bjorkman. New York. 

Charles Scribner's Sons. Four Series, 191 2-19 16. 

It has not been considered necessary to reprint a bibliog- 
raphy of bibliographical and critical material, since nothing of 
value to the foregoing study can be added to bibliographies 
already published elsewhere. Those works which have con- 
tained helpful material have been cited in the notes of the sev- 
eral chapters. 

*Not included in the Gesamtausgabe. 





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