Tieck’s “Der blonde Eckbert”: A Psychological Reading consciousness split into two personalities” (p. ) and their story as a more or less involuntary. Volume XXXIV MARCH, Number 2. “DER BLONDE ECKBERT” AS A POETIC CONFESSION1. RAYMOND IMMERWAHR. The reduction of Tieck’s status in. Blond Eckbert is an opera by Scottish composer Judith Weir. The composer wrote the English-language libretto herself, basing it on the cryptic supernatural short story Der blonde Eckbert by the German Romantic writer Ludwig Tieck.

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The Importance of Ambiguity in “Der blonde Eckbert”. In Tieck’s hands, however, the combination of these two fairly straightforward forms takes on a cekbert of its own, confronting the reader with an astounding depth and intricacy: Tieck’s “Der blonde Eckbert,” published inis a classic example of this genre in early Romantic writing, incorporating representative philosophical as well as literary tendencies.

Eckbert the Blond – Wikisource, the free online library

Significant, however, is that none of these themes is presented unambiguously; each is portrayed at times as positive, only to prove destructive or impossible in the end. For Tieck, daily life and the fantastic have become inseparable; any attempt to live one without the other is doomed to failure.

Psychology and philosophy, most notably conceptions from both Karl-Philip Moritz and J. Fichte, work together in this complex system: The bourgeois society is condemned, but, as in Germany in the aftermath of the French Revolution, no redemptive paradigm can be found.

Eckbert seeks to end his “entsetzliche Einsamkeit” but finds only dementia; in so doing, he destroys his previous lifestyle but is incapable of creating a new one.

Der blonde Eckbert

As Ribbat writes, the subject in Tieck’s narratives “sucht [ The wckbert idyllic if unfruitful life eckbedt Eckbert and his wife Bertha, both of whom profess to be content in their protected isolation from society, is dealt a severe shock when Eckbert’s only close friend Walther comes to visit.

Eckbert, feeling a compulsion rer reveal any and all secrets to his friend, prompts his wife to recount the odd story of her youth: During the woman’s frequent absences, Bertha learned to take care of the dog and the magic jewel-laying bird. One day, however, at the age of fourteen, Bertha decided to abandon the hut in search of human company and adventure.


Leaving the dog behind but carrying the bird, whose jewels she sold for a fortune, she fled; soon afterwards, however, she was besieged by guilt, and strangled the bird.

Eckbert the Blond

Finally, cer fearing retribution, she settled down and married Eckbert. As she closes her tale, Bertha notes that she cannot remember the name of the old woman’s dog; then, to her surprise, Walther reminds her rather offhandedly of the dog’s name, and takes his leave.

This strange coincidence sends Bertha to her deathbed, wracked by doubts, and drives Eckbert to murder Walther in the woods. Later, having found a new blinde in Hugo, Eckbert is again compelled to confess his story in full. After doing so, however, Eckbert becomes insanely suspicious of his friend; Hugo then proceeds to take on, to Eckbert’s eyes, the features of Walther, and finally, after his journey cekbert the forest and to the secluded hut, the features of the old woman as well.

Approaching insanity, Eckbert reels when the vengeful old woman reveals to him that Bertha was, in fact, his own sister. Bewailing his life of horrific isolation, Eckbert collapses in madness and despair.

Tieck’s narrative raises many questions, none of which can be answered simply, and all of which have provided critics and readers with ever-changing analyses and interpretations. Perhaps the most banal question is at once the farthest-reaching: Another question arises from Tieck’s rather ambivalent placement of natural elements: Some critics accuse Tieck, as the Berlin city-dweller, of sentimentalizing nature, and for evidence point to ecjbert first refrain of the bird’s chorus about the blissful innocence of Waldeinsamkeit.

This view ignores, however, the significant failings of nature for the characters themselves: The ambiguities lbonde necessarily appear upon closer analysis of Tieck’s work have, to my mind, their center in the ethical questions raised by the story. Is Eckbert responsible for eeckbert own undoing? Is the old woman a symbol of judgment or revenge, meting out punishment to the wicked?


What, then, was Eckbert’s sin, and even Bertha’s, for that matter? And finally, does the outcome of the story lead us eckbeft believe that Eckbert had made a choice of free will, or is this simply the fulfillment of his fate?

It is clear that Eckbert and Bertha are punished, even victimized, in the story; the question remains, however, with what justification, and why?

For Bertha, the answer can perhaps be found in her abandoning the dog and her duties in the secluded hut, thus violating the old woman’s trust; if this is true, however, then the figure of the old woman evkbert be seen as having eclbert a trustworthy offer.

Significantly, though, this is not the case.

If Bertha has failed her Probezeit in the forest, so too has the old woman failed: As such, holding Bertha responsible for her actions is at best a questionable endeavor. So too is Eckbert’s punishment rather inexplicable: Here the ambiguities surrounding the woman’s character run deep: Having led his life in a world of his own construction, holding firmly to his belief in free will, Eckbert has prohibited any intrusion of the irrational workings of his subconscious; as a result, he, like Bertha, is unprepared for the “fate” which awaits him in the form of the old woman, and cannot withstand the shock.

For the reader, the disturbance is similarly unsettling, leaving a distinct sense of unease and confusion, yet fulfilling precisely Tieck’s poetic goal. These ethical ambiguities, though, centering around the character of the old woman, remain and give rise to a multitude of other dilemmas and considerations, many of which have yet to be satisfactorily examined.