ABSTRACT

While George Eliot was on her second journey with Lewes to Germany and writing Adam Bede, she went to the opera and saw Rossini's adaptation of Schiller's Wilhelm Tell which inspired her to write the confrontation scene between Adam and Arthur Donnithorne in the wood. As she later wrote in her journal: the fight [between Adam and Arthur] came to me as a necessity one night at the Munich Opera when I was listening to William Tell'. 1 The connection may at first seem obscure: little in that scene reminds one of Schiller or the plot of Wilhelm Tell, one of his most popular plays at the time. It may, however, serve as a key or paradigm for the indirect, sometimes subtextual quality of Schiller's presence in Eliot's novels.