Die Mohrinn zu Hamburg (The Mooress of Hamburg), set in one of the principle German ports through which captive Africans entered Germany, was written by Ernst Lorenz Rathlef 1 (1742–91), a lawyer who lived in Göttingen and Bremen. Similar to Friedrich Wilhelm Ziegler's Die Mohrinn, the conflict in Die Mohrinn zu Hamburg centers on an inappropriate marital match and the familial and social consequences of such a match. Written in 1775, Die Mohrinn zu Hamburg debuted on the Berlin stage on November 20, 1775. One theater critic of the performance summarized the plot, revealing complex love relationships among the characters:
Ein Mohr wird von einer Weiβen geliebt, ein Weiβer liebt eine Mohrinn, eine Mohrinn liebt gleich stark einen Schwarzen und einen Weiβen, und in der Kollision ersticht sie sich. 2
[A white woman loves a Moor, a white man loves a Mooress, a Mooress loves a black man and a white man equally and in the collision she stabs herself.]178As the 1775 review of the play indicates, Die Mohrinn zu Hamburg is fundamentally about mismatched couples and the tragedy that ensues when socially and racially inappropriate matches are made. From the onset of the plot, we learn of the death of Amanda, the daughter of the Dutch innkeeper Van der Twylen. Amanda apparently died of unrequited love for the African Zaduc, who in turns loves the black Cadige. Cadige loves both the black Zaduc and the white Gorden, and like Gorden, who must choose between the white Emilia and the black Cadige, Cadige cannot decide between the two men. When forced to choose, Cadige commits suicide. At the end, Gorden clearly has one choice, Emilia as a wife, and a new friend in Zaduc. Similar to the beginning of the action, which is marked by a death motivated by unrequited love, Cadige's suicide also serves to frame the action, which is completed by the soliloquy of Amanda's ghost, who receives Cadige's ghost.