A revolutionary himself, George Büchner was 21 when he wrote the play in 1835, while hiding from the police. With its hair-raising on-rush of scenes and vivid dramatization of complex, visionary characters, Danton's Death has a claim to be the greatest political tragedy ever written. In his newly-revised translation, Howard Brenton captures Büchner's exhilarating energy as Danton struggles to avoid his inexorable fall.
In 1794 the French Revolution reaches its climax. After a series of bloody purges the life-loving, volatile Danton is tormented by his part in the killing. His political rival, the driven, ascetic Robespierre, decides Danton's fate. A titanic struggle begins. Once friends who wanted to change the world, now one stands for compromise the other for ideological purity as the guillotine awaits.
This is your rhetoric translated. These wretches, these executioners, the guillotine are your speeches come to life. You have built your doctrines out of human heads... Why should an event that transforms the whole of humanity not advance through blood?
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