How would you describe the dramatic impact of the opening scene in Amadeus? The opening scene has a dramatic effect but how can you determine this effect and to what extent it is affecting all the...

How would you describe the dramatic impact of the opening scene in Amadeus? The opening scene has a dramatic effect but how can you determine this effect and to what extent it is affecting all the first act? 

Expert Answers
parkerlee eNotes educator| Certified Educator

Everybody knows how first impressions count the most. Before Salieri (protagonist? antagonist?) is even seen, the audience hears the 'hissing' of his name, crescendoing and drowning out the more subtle alliteration of the word "assassin!" Then the stage lights up, first upon a 19th century scene in Vienna, then upon the character of Salieri in center stage - old, crippled, effaced in his wheelchair. Backstage, the players are only silhouettes; fragments of overhead gossip debate the nature of the death of Beethovan thirty-two years beforehand. Salieri eavesdrops their accusations and addresses the audience at the same time. He solicits the spectators' sympathy, but what comes through is the certitude of Salieri's hysteria and his obsession with his rival Beethovan. The onlooker also wonders if Salieri is guilty of murdering Beethovan or not.

Now that the spectators' curiosity heightens, the actual story of the conflict between Beethovan and Salieri unfolds. Thus the dramatic effects (light, sound, alliteration, repetition) employed in the opening scene literally set the stage for the rest.

Also, the multiple role of Salieri as spectator, player and narrator enhances the ambivalence of his character and also that of the spectators' attitude towards him. 

hopkinsk | Student
the conflict was catually between Salieri and MOZART (not Beethoven)!
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Amadeus

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