(Critical Survey of Literature, Revised Edition)

Few writers since Shakespeare have managed to use the dramatic form with the poetic clarity and tragic force exhibited by the Austrian playwright, Franz Grillparzer. Usually the form is too much for the content or the content overburdens the play, giving to exposition the prominence that the expression of passion should have. Grillparzer avoids these faults, and contributes new psychological and moral perspectives which give his work its distinctive quality. THE JEWESS OF TOLEDO tells of a monarch’s lapse from duty because of his sudden passionate affection for a beautiful but vain young Jewess. With a simplicity of effect that defies analysis, Grillparzer makes the king’s discovery of his own foolish bondage credible, without in the least detracting from the impression that Rachel, the Jewess, for all her faults, was undeniably charming and even to be pitied.