was Beethoven mean?  

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jmstrande | Middle School Teacher | (Level 1) eNoter

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Aside from being an incredible musician who overcame exceptional personal challenges, Ludwig van Beethoven was sometimes known to have a fiery temper and an unpleasant personality.  There are multiple reasons why Beethoven may have occasionally been a bitter and angry character.

Beethoven began playing piano at a very early age, and was only seven years old when he first performed publicly.  However, he began to lose his hearing when he was twenty six years old.  You can imagine how devastating this was to someone whose life was music.  It so depressed him that he even contemplated suicide.

Women also provided difficulties for Beethoven throughout his life.  In 1801 he met a young countess named Julie (Giulietta) Guicciardi while he gave piano lessons to a woman named Josephine Brunsvik.  However, he could not pursue his love for Julie because of their disparate social classes.  Later he and Josephine developed a more personal relationship after her first husband died, but her family forced her to pull away.  In 1810 he may have unsuccessfully proposed marriage to yet another woman after Josephine remarried.

In 1813 Beethoven went through yet another emotionally difficult period when took over care of his family and his brother Johann who was dying of tuberculosis.  The cost of doing so may have left Beethoven penniless.  His second brother Carl died of consumption in 1815 and he became entwined in a custody battle for his brother’s son, Karl against Karl’s mother.  He eventually won, but Karl cost Beethoven extra emotional and personal strife.  Karl attempted suicide but survived, and was eventually reconciled with Beethoven before leaving to join the army in 1827.


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