The Robbers

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Genres: Banned Books
Language: English
Type: Digital

The Robbers (German: Die Räuber) is a play by German playwright Friedrich Schiller, first published in 1781. It was Schiller's first major success and is considered a landmark work of the Sturm und Drang movement, a German literary and philosophical movement that emphasized individualism, emotion, and rebellion against social norms.

Plot Summary

The play revolves around two brothers, Karl and Franz Moor. Karl, the younger brother, is a passionate and idealistic young man who is disgusted with the corruption and injustice of society. He joins a band of robbers and seeks to create a new society based on equality and freedom.

Franz, the elder brother, is a cunning and ambitious man who is jealous of Karl's popularity and seeks to take advantage of his brother's noble ideals for his own gain. He manipulates the situation to turn their father against Karl and frames him for murder.

The play explores the themes of good and evil, loyalty and betrayal, and the struggle between individual idealism and societal norms. It is a complex and challenging work that has been interpreted in many different ways throughout the years.

Critical Reception

The Robbers was a massive success when it was first performed in 1782. It was praised for its emotional intensity, its exploration of complex themes, and its powerful language. The play quickly became a popular favorite and is still considered one of Schiller's most important works.

Key Themes

  • Good vs. Evil: The play explores the struggle between good and evil, and it shows how easily individuals can be corrupted by power and ambition.

  • Loyalty vs. Betrayal: The play also explores the themes of loyalty and betrayal, and it shows how easy it is for trust to be broken in the face of adversity.

  • Individualism vs. Society: The play is a critique of society and it suggests that individuals can only find true happiness by following their own ideals.


The Robbers has had a profound impact on subsequent literature and drama. It has been adapted into numerous operas, films, and television shows, and it continues to be a popular source of inspiration for artists and writers. The play is also a significant work in the history of German literature, and it helped to shape the development of the Sturm und Drang movement.


  • "One must have chaos within oneself to give birth to a dancing star."

  • "True greatness lies in being kind, honest, and brave in the face of adversity."

  • "The path to heaven is paved with good intentions."

  • "I would rather live in a world of chaos and freedom than in a world of order and tyranny."

  • "The only true measure of a man is the size of his heart."


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