Goethe - Frankfort - Gotz Von Berlichingen
( Originally Published 1913 )
AUGUST, 1771-DECEMBER, 1771
GOETHE returned to Frankfort at the end of August, 1771, and, with the exception of two memorable intervals, he remained there till November, 1775, when he left it, never again to make it his permanent home. This period of four years and two months is in creative productiveness unparalleled in his own career, and is probably without a parallel in literary history. During these years he produced Gotz von Berlichingen and Werther, both of which works, whatever their merits or demerits, are at least landmarks, not only in the history of German, but of European literature. To the same period belong the original scenes of Faust, in which he displayed a richness of imagination with a spontaneity of passion, of thought and of feeling, to which he never attained in the subsequent additions he made to the poem. In these scenes are already clearly defined the two figures, Faust and Mephistopheles, which have their place in the world's gallery of imaginative creations beside Ulysses and Don Quixote, Hamlet and Falstaff ; and there, too, in all her essential lineaments, we have Gretchen, the most moving of all the births of a poet's mind and heart. And, besides these three works of universal interest, there belong to the same period a series of productions--plays, lyrics, essays—which, though at a lower level of inspiration, were sufficient to mark their author as an original genius with a compass of thought and imagination hitherto unexampled in the literature of his country. Had Goethe died at the age of twenty-six, he would have left behind him a legacy which would have assured him a place with the great creative minds of all time.
This extraordinary productiveness of itself implies an intellectual and spiritual ferment which receives further illustration from the poet's letters. written during the same period. In these letters we have the expression of a mind distracted by contending emotions and conflicting aims, now in sanguine hope, now paralysed with a sense of impotence to adjust itself to the inexorable conditions under which life had to be lived. Moods of thinking and feeling follow each other with a rapidity of contrast which are bewildering to the reader and hardly permit him to draw any certain inference as to the real import of what is written. In one effusion we have lachrymose sentiment which suggests morbid self-relaxation ; ire another, a bitter cynicism equally suggestive of ill-regulated emotions. We have moods of piety and moods in which the mental attitude towards all human aspirations can only be described as Mephistophelian.
Goethe • himself was well aware of a congenital morbid strain in him which all through his life demanded careful control if he were to avert bodily and mental collapse. And at no period of his life did external conditions and inward experiences combine to put his self-control to a severer test than during these last years in Frankfort. Frankfort itself, as we shall see, had become more distasteful to him than ever, and his abiding feeling towards it, now as subsequently, was that he could not breathe freely in its atmosphere. On his return from Strassburg his father received him with greater cordiality than on his return from Leipzig, but the lack of real sympathy between them remained, and was undoubtedly one of the permanent sources of Goethe's discontent with his native town. With no interest in his nominal profession, he had at the same time no clear conception of the function to which his genius called him. Throughout these years in Frankfort he continued uncertain whether Nature meant him for a poet or an artist, and we receive the impression that his ambition was to be artist rather than poet. From the varied literary forms in which he expressed himself, also, we are led to infer that in the domain of literature he was still only feeling hic way.
If the diversity of his gifts thus distracted him, his emotional experiences, it will appear, were not more favourable to a settled aim and purpose. One paroxysm of passion succeeded another, with the result that he was eventually, in self-preservation, driven to make a complete breach with his past, and to seek deliverance in a new set of conditions under which he might attain the self-control after which he had hitherto vainly striven. This prolonged conflict with himself was doubtless primarily due to his own inherited temperament, but it was also in large measure owing to the character of the society and of the time in which the period of his youth was passed. Had he been born half a century earlier—that is to say, in a time when the current speculation was bound up with a mechanical philosophy, and when the limits of emotion were conditioned by strict conventional standards—he might have been a youth of eccentric humours, but the morbid fancies and wandering affections that consumed him could not have come within his experience. But by the time when he began to think and feel, Rousseau had written and opened the flood-gates of the emotions, and Sterne had shown how accepted conventions might appear in the light of a capricious wit and fancy which probed the surface of things. In Goethe's letters. which are the most direct revelation of his mental and moral condition during the period. the influence of Rousseau and Sterne is visible on every page, and the fact has to be remembered in drawing any conclusions as to the real state of his mind from his language to his various correspondents. The fashion of giving exaggerated expression to every emotion was, in fact, the convention of the day, and we find it in all the correspondence, both of the men and women of the time. That it was in large degree forced and artificial and must be interpreted with due reserves, will appear in the case of Goethe himself.
There are three critical epochs during these Frankfort years, each marked by a central event which resulted in new developments of Goethe's character and genius. In the period between his return to Frankfort in August, 1771, and May, 1772, was written the first draft of Gotz von Berlichingen, the eventual publication of which made him the most famous author in Germany. During these months the memories of Strassburg are fresh in his mind, and the recollection of Friederike and the teaching of Herder are his chief sources of inspiration. In May, 1772, he went to Wetzlar, where, during a residence of three months, he passed through another emotional experience which, two years later, found expression in Werther, of still more resounding notoriety than Gotz. The opening of 1775 saw him entangled in a new affair of the heart of another nature than those which had preceded it, and resulting in a mental turmoil that drove him to seek deliverance in a new field of life and action. There were other incidents and other experiences that moved him less or more during this period of his career, but it is in connection with these three central events that his character and his genius are presented in their fullest light, and are best known to the world.
We have it on Goethe's own testimony that, on his return from Strassburg to Frankfort, he was healthier in body and more composed in mind than on his return from Leipzig two years before. Still, he adds, he was conscious of a sense of tension in his nature which implied that his mind had not completely recovered its normal balance. So he writes in his Autobiography, and his contemporary letters fully bear out his memories of the period. He certainly returned from Strassburg with a more satisfactory record than from Leipzig. He had actually completed the necessary 1gal studies, and was now Licentiate of Laws. His Disputation had won the approval of his father, who was even prepared to go to the expense of publishing it. In his son's purely literary efforts during his Strassburg sojourn, also, he showed an undisguised pleasure, and he would evidently have been quite content to have seen him combine eminence in his profession Kith distinction in literature. When Goethe, therefore, immediately on his arrival in the paternal home, took the necessary steps to qualify himself for legal practice, it seemed that the father's ambition for his wayward son was at length about to be realised. But the apparent reconciliation of their respective aims was based on no cordial understanding, and the son, it is evident, made no special effort to adapt himself to his father's idiosyncrasies. An incident he himself relates curiously illustrates his careless disregard of the conventions of the family home. On his way from Strassburg he picked up a boy-harper who had interested him, and seriously thought of making him a member of the household. The reconciling mother realised the absurdity of lodging in the mansion of an Imperial Rath a strolling musician, who would have to earn his_ living by daily visits to the taverns of the town, and she met her son's good-humoured whim by finding a home for the boy in more fitting quarters. These noble Bohemian humours of his son, which, as we shall see, displayed themselves in other unconventional habits, were not likely to propitiate a father who, as we are told, " leading a contented life amid his ancient hobbies and pursuits, was comfortably at ease, like one who has carried out his plans in spite of all hindrances and delays." In point of fact, as during Goethe's former sojourn at home, his estrangement from his father increased from year to year, and he came to speak of him with a bitterness which proves that, for a time at least, any kindly feeling that existed between them was effaced.
Again, as after his return from Leipzig, it was his sister Cornelia who made home in any degree tolerable for the brother whom she alone of the family was sufficiently sympathetic and sufficiently instructed fully to understand. She had gathered round her a circle of attractive and educated women, of whom she was the dominating spirit, and in whose company her brother, always appreciative of feminine society, now found a congenial atmosphere. Associated with the circle were certain men with kindred interests, among whom Goethe specially names the two brothers Schlosser as esteemed counsellors.' Both were accomplished men of the world, the one a jurist, the other engaged in the public service ; and both were keenly interested in literature. It was a peculiarity of Goethe, even into advanced life, that he seems always to have required a mentor, whose counsels, however, he might or might not choose to follow. At this time it was the elder of these two brothers who played this part, and Goethe testifies that he received from him the sagest of advice, which, however, he was prevented from following by " a thousand varying distractions, moods, and passions."
What these distractions were is vividly revealed in his correspondence of the time. First, his whole being was in disaccord with the social, religious, and intellectual atmosphere of Frankfort ; he felt himself cribbed, cabined, and confined in all the aspirations of his nature ; and the future seemed to offer no prospect of more favouring conditions. Two months after his return he communicates to his friend Salzmann in Strassburg his sense of oppression in his present surroundings. Arduous intellectual effort is necessary to him, he writes, " for it is dreary to live in a place where one's whole activity must simmer within itself. . For the rest, everything around me is dead. . . . Frankfort remains the nest it was—nidus, if you will. Good enough for hatching birds ; to use another figure, spelunca, a wretched hole. God help us out of this misery. Amen."
In himself, also, there was a turmoil of thoughts and emotions which, apart from depressing surroundings, was sufficient to occasion alternating moods of exaltation and despair. The upbraiding memory of Friederike pursued him, and we may take it that in his Autobiography he faithfully records his continued self-reproach for his abrupt desertion of her. " Friederike's reply to a written adieu lacerated my heart. It was the same hand, the same mind, the same feeling that had been educed in her to me and through me. For the first time I now realised the loss she suffered, and saw no way of redressing or even of alleviating it. Her whole being was before me ; I continually felt the want of her ; and, which is worse, I could not forgive myself my own unhappiness." We may ascribe it either to delicacy of feeling or to the consideration that their further intercourse was undesirable, that he ceased to communicate directly with her. A drawing by his own hand, which he thought would give her pleasure, he sends to her through Salzmann, who is requested to accompany it with or without a note, as he thinks best. Through the same hands he sends to her a play (Gotz von Berliehingen), in which a lover plays a sorry part, and adds the comment that " Frederike will find herself to some extent consoled if the faithless one is poisoned."
But the profoundest source of his unrest was neither the distastefulness of Frankfort society nor his remorse for his conduct to Friederike. It was his concern with his own life and what he was to make of it. It is this concern that gives interest to his letters of the period which otherwise possess little intrinsic value, either in substance or form. What we find in them, and what is hardly to be found elsewhere, is a mirror of one of the world's greatest spirits in the process of attaining self-knowledge and self-mastery in the direction of powers which are not yet fully revealed to him. At times, it appears to him as if the task were hopeless of establishing any harmony between his own nature and the nature of things. Now he is filled with an exhilarating confidence in his own gifts and in his destiny to bring them to full fruition ; now he seems to be paralysed with a sense of impotence in which we see all the perils attending his peculiar temperament. In his letters to his Strassburg friend Salzmann we have the frankest communications regarding his alternating moods of depression and hopefulness. " What I am doing," he writes immediately after his settlement in Frankfort, " is of no account. So much the worse. As usual, more planned than done, and for that very reason nothing much will come of me." To a different purport are his words in a later note (November 28th) to the same correspondent : " In searching for your letter of October 5th, I came upon a multitude of others requiring answers. Dear man, my friends must pardon me, my nisus forwards is so strong that I can seldom force myself to take breath, and cast a look backwards. " In the opening of the year, 1772 (February 3rd), he is in the same sanguine temper : " Prospects daily widen out before me, and obstacles give way, so that I may confidently lay the blame on my own feet if I do not move on."
The " nisus forwards," of which he speaks, had no connection with the worldly ambition for success in his profession. What was consuming him was the double desire of mastering himself and at the same time of giving expression to the seething ideas and emotions which rendered that self-mastery so hard of attainment. From the moment of his return to Frankfort we see all the seeds fructifying which had taken root in him during his residence in Strassburg. He sends to Herder the ballads he had collected in Alsace, and sends him, also, translations from what he considered the original of the adored Ossian. But the overmastering influence in him at this time was the genius of Shakespeare, as it had been interpreted for him by Herder. Goethe's unbounded admiration for Shakespeare bad already found expression in the rhapsody composed in Strassburg to which reference has been made, and to the circle of men and women who had gathered round his sister, he communicated his enthusiasm. Their enthusiasm took a form perfectly in keeping with the spirit of the time. Shakespeare's birthday occurred on October 14th, and it was resolved that, at once as a tribute to their divinity and a challenge to all his gainsayers, the auspicious day should be celebrated with due rites. At Cornelia's instance, Herder, as high-priest of the object of their worship, was invited to honour the occasion. If he could not be present in body, he was at least to be present in spirit, and he was to send his essay on Shakespeare that it might form part of the day's liturgy. So under the roof of the precise Imperial Rath, to whom Klopstock's use of unrhymed verse in his Messias was an unpardonable innovation in German literature, the memory of the " drunken barbarian," as with Voltaire he must have regarded him, was celebrated—whether in his presence or not, his son does not record.
But Goethe was about to pay more serious homage to the Master, as he then understood him. On November 28th, he informed Salzmann that he was engaged on a work which was absorbing him to the forgetfulness of Homer, Shakespeare, and everything else. He was dramatising the history of " one of the noblest of Germans," rescuing from oblivion the memory of " an honest man." The " noblest of Germans " was Gottfried von Berlichingen (1482-1562), one of those " knights of the cows," whose predatory propensities were the terror of Germany throughout the Middle Ages, and who appears to have been neither better nor worse than the rest of his class. While still in Strassburg, Goethe had noted Gottfried as an appropriate subject for dramatic treatment, but, as he records in his Autobiography, it was immediately after his return to Frankfort that he first put his hand to the work. Stimulated to his task by his sister Cornelia, in the course of six weeks he had completed the play which, on its publication two years later, was to make him the most famous author in Germany.
I The toast of the evening--" The Will of all Wills "—was given by Goethe, who thereupon delivered the panegyric on Shakespeare which he had composed in Strassburg. This toast was followed by one to the health of Herder.
Goethe's choice of Gotz as a theme on which to try his powers is a revelation of the motives that were now compelling him. Of the nature of these motives he has himself given somewhat conflicting accounts. He tells his contemporary correspondents that the play was written to relieve his own bosom of its perilous stuff ; to enable him " to forget the sun, moon, and dear stars," and, again, that its primary object was to do justice to the memory of a great man. Writing in old age, he assigns still another motive as mainly prompting him to the production of the play : it was written, he says, with the express object of improving the German stage, of rescuing it from the pitiful condition into which it had fallen during the first half of the eighteenth century. What is entirely obvious, however, is that Shakespeare is the beginning and end of the inspiration of the Geschichte Gottfriedens von Berlichingen mit der eisernen Hand, as the play in its original form was entitled. In its conception and in its details Shakespeare is everywhere suggested, though it may be noted that the comic element with which Shakespeare flavours his tragedies is absent from Gotz. But for Shakespeare the play could not have taken the shape in which we have it. Given the model, however, Goethe bad to infuse it with motives which would have a living interest for his own time. One of these motives was the admiration of great men which Goethe shared with the generation to which he belonged.
During this Frankfort period he was successively attracted by such contrasted types of heroes as Julius Caesar, Socrates, and Mahomet as appropriate central figures for dramatic representation. "It is a pleasure to behold a great man," one of the characters in Gotz is made to say ; and, if Goethe had any determinate aim when he took his theme in hand, it was to present the spectacle of a hero for admiration and inspiration. As it was, deeper instincts of his nature asserted themselves as he proceeded with his work, and Gotz is overshadowed by other characters in the drama in whom the poet himself, by his own admission, came to find a more congenial interest.
The play exists in three forms—the first draft being recast for publication in 1773, which second version was adapted for the Weimar theatre in collaboration with Schiller in 1804. It is generally admitted that in its first form we have the fullest manifestation of its author's genius, and equally the fullest expression of the original inspiration that led to its production. Like Shakespeare he had a book for his text --the Memoirs of Gottfried, written by himself ; and like Shakespeare he took large liberties with his original-no fewer than six characters in the play, two of whom are of the first importance, being of Goethe's own invention. The plot may be briefly told. Adelbert von Weislingen, a Knight of the Empire, had been the early friend of Gottfried, but under the influence of the Bishop of Bamberg and others he had taken a line which led him into direct conflict with Gottfried. While the latter, identifying himself with the lesser German nobles, was for supporting the power of the Emperor, Weislingen had identified himself with the princes whose object was to cripple it. Gottfried seizes Weislingen while on his way to the Bishop of Bamberg, and bears him off to his castle at Jaxthausen. The contrasted characters of the two chief personages in the play are now brought before us--Gottfried the rough soldier, honest, resolute, and Weislingen, more of a courtier than a soldier, weak and unstable. Overborne by the stronger nature of Gottfried, Weislingen agrees to break his alliance with the Bishop, and, as a pledge for his future conduct, betroths himself to Gottfried's sister Marie, who, weakly devout, is a counterpart to Gottfried's wife Elizabeth, who is depicted as a Spartan mother.' To square accounts with the Bishop, Weislingen finds it necessary to proceed to Bamberg, and the second act tells the tale of his second apostacy. At Bamberg he comes under the spell of an enchantress in the shape of a beautiful woman, Adelheid Walldorf, a widow, whose physical charms are represented as irresistible. Weislingen becomes her creature, forswears his bond with Gottfried, and rejoins the ranks of his enemies—news which Gottfried is reluctantly brought to credit. In the third act we find Gottfried in a coil of troubles. He has robbed a band of merchants on their way from the Frankfort Fair, and, at the prompting of Weislingen, the Emperor puts him under the ban of the Empire, and dispatches an armed force against him. Beaten in the field and besieged in his own castle, he is at length forced to surrender. In the fourth act he is a prisoner in Heilbronn, but is rescued by Franz von Sickingen, a knight of the same stamp and with the same political sympathies as himself. Sickingen, who is on friendly terms with the Emperor, does him the still further service of securing his relief from the ban, whereupon Gottfried settles down to a peaceful life in his own castle, and to relieve its monotony betakes himself to the uncongenial task of writing his own memoirs. In the fifth act we sup with horrors. The peasants rise in rebellion and wreak frightful vengeance on their oppressors. In the hope of controlling them, Gottfried, at their own request, puts himself at their head, but finds himself powerless to check their excesses, and on their defeat he is again taken prisoner. But the main interest of the last act is concentrated in Adelheid, who now reveals all the depths of her sensual nature and her unscrupulous ambition. Weislingen she has discovered to be a despicable creature, and she attaches herself to Sickingen, in whom she finds a man after her own heart, able to satisfy all the cravings of her nature. She poisons Weislingen, who dies as he has lived, the victim of weakness rather than of wickedness. Her crimes are known to the judges of the Vehmgericht, who in their mysterious tribunal adjudge her to death, which is effected in a curious scene by one of their agents. The drama closes with the death of Gottfried in prison, baffled in his dearest schemes, blasted in reputation, and with gloomy forebodings for the future of his country.
Such is an outline of the production in which Goethe made his first appeal to his countrymen at large,' and which is in such singular contrast to the ideals of his maturity. That it was not the inevitable birth of his whole heart and mind is proved by the fact that he never repeated the experiment. Neither the incidents nor the hero of the piece, indeed, were of a nature to elicit the full play of his genius. Goethe had not, like Scott, an inborn interest in the scenes of the camp and the field, and could not, like Scott, take a special delight in describing them for their own sake. To the portrayal of a character like Gottfried Scott could give his whole heart, but Goethe required characters of a subtler type to enlist his full sympathies and to give scope to his full powers. Goethe himself has told us how, as he proceeded in the writing of the play, his interest in his hero gradually flagged. In depicting the charms of Adelheid, he says, he fell in love with her himself, and his interest in her fate gradually overmastered him. In truth, it is in scenes where Gottfried is not the principal actor that any originality in the play is to be found, for in these scenes Goethe was drawing from his own experience and recording emotions that had distracted himself. In the unstable Weislingen he represents a weakness of his own nature of which he was himself well aware. " You are a chameleon," Adelheid tells Weislingen ; and, as we have seen, Goethe so described himself. It is, therefore, in the relations of Weislingen to Marie and Adelheid that we must look for the spontaneous expression of the poet's genius, working on material drawn from self-introspection. In Weislingen's hasty wooing and equally hasty desertion of Marie we have an exaggerated presentment of Goethe's own conduct to Friederike, to which objection may be taken on the score of delicacy, though he himself suggests that it is to be regarded as a public confession of his self-reproach. In depicting Marie and Weislingen he had Friederike and himself before him to restrain his imagination within the limits of nature and truth. In the case of Adelheid he had no model before him, and the result is that, with youthful exaggeration, he has made her a beautiful monster with no redeeming touch, and, therefore, of little human interest. Such a character was essentially alien to Goethe's own nature, and so are the melodramatic scenes which depict her desperate attempts to escape from her toils and the proceedings of the avenging tribunal that had marked her for judgment.
As in the case of all Goethe's longer productions, critical opinion has been divided from the beginning regarding the intrinsic merits of Gotz. In the opinion of critics like Edmond Scherer it is a crude imitation of Shakespeare with little promise of its author's future achievement, while other critics, like Lewes, regard it as a " work of daring power, of vigour, of originality." On one point Goethe himself and all his critics are agreed : the play as a whole is only a succession of scenes, loosely strung together, with no inner development leading up to a determinate end. In his later life Goethe characterised Shakespeare's plays as " highly interesting tales, only told by more persons than one." Whatever truth there may be in this judgment in the case of Shakespeare, it exactly describes Gotz. It is as a tale, a narrative, and not as a drama, that it is to be read if it is to be enjoyed without the sense of artistic failure. The anachronisms with which the piece abounds, and which Hegel caustically noted, have been a further stumbling-block to the critics. In the second scene of the first Act, Luther is introduced for no other purpose than to expound ideas which come strangely from his mouth, but which were effervescing in the minds of Goethe and his contemporaries—the ideas which they had learned from Rousseau regarding the excellence of the natural man. Similarly, in the scene following, educational problems are discussed which sound oddly in the castle of a medieval baron, but which were awakening interest in Goethe's own day. In the supreme moments of his career—on the occasion of the surrender of his castle and in his last hour—Gottfried is made to utter the word freedom as the watchword of his aspirations, but in so doing he is expressing Goethe's own passionate protest against the conventions of his age in religion, in philosophy, and art, and not a sentiment in keeping with the class of which he is a type.
These blemishes in the play as a work of art are apparent, yet it may be said that it was mainly owing to these very blemishes that the "beautiful monster," as Wieland called it, took contemporaries by storm and retains its freshness of interest after the lapse of a century and a half. The successive scenes are, indeed, without organic connection, but each scene by itself has the vivacity and directness of improvisation. Nor do the anachronisms to which criticism may object really mar the interest of the work. Rather they constitute its most characteristic elements, proceeding as they do from the poet's own deepest intellectual interests, and, therefore, from his most spontaneous inspiration.
But the most conclusive testimony to the essential power of the play is the effect it produced not only in German but in European literature. Its publication in its altered form in 1773 had the effect of a bomb on the literary public of Germany. It sent a shudder of horror through the sticklers for the rules of the classical drama which it ignored with such contemptuous indifference ; a shudder of delight through the band of effervescing youths who shared Goethe's revolutionary ideals, and to whom Gotz was a manifesto and a challenge to all traditional conventions in literature and life. It was the immediate parent of that truly German growth—the literature of Sturm und Drang, whose exponents, says Kant, thought that they could not more effectively show that they were budding geniuses than by flinging all rules to the winds, and that one appears to better advantage on a spavined hack than on a trained steed. The literature of Sturm und Drang was a passing phenomenon, but the influence of Gotz did not end with its abortive life. But for Gotz Schiller's early productions would have been differently inspired ; and to Gotz also was due much of the inspiration of the subsequent German Romantic School, though many of its developments were abhorrent to Goethe's nature both in youth and maturity. It emancipated the drama from conventional shackles, but it did more : it extended the range of national thought, sentiment, and emotion, and for good and evil introduced new elements into German literature which have maintained their place there since its first portentous appearance. And German critics are unanimous in assigning another result to the publication of Giitz : in its style as in its form it set convention at naught, and thus marks an epoch in the development of German literary language. Not since Luther, " whose words were battles," had German been written so direct from the heart and with such elemental force as makes words living things.
It has been a commonplace remark that 1773, the year of the publication of Gotz, corresponds in European literature to 1789 in European political history. The remark may be exaggerated, but, if a work is to be named which marks the advent of what is covered by the vague name of romanticism, Gotz may fairly claim the honour. It had precursors of more or less importance in other countries, but, by the nature of its subject, by its audacious disregard of reigning models, and by its resounding notoriety, it gave the signal for a fresh reconstruction of art and life. It gave the decisive impulse to the writer who is the European representative of the romantic movement, and whose genius specifically fitted him to work the vein which was opened in Gotz—a task to which Goethe himself was not called. In 1799 Scott published his translation of Gotz, and followed it up by his series of romantic poems in which the influence of Goethe's work was the main inspiration. But it was in his prose romances, dealing with the Middle Ages, that he found the appropriate form for his inspiration—a form which ensured a popular appeal, impossible in the case of the severer form of the drama. In the enchanter's sway which Scott exercised over Europe during the greater part of the nineteenth century, the memories of Gotz were not the least potent of his spells.
Two of the scenes in Gotz were imitated by Scott in his own work the Vehmgericht scene in Anne of Geeerstein and the description of the siege of Torquilstone by Rebecca to the wounded Ivanhoe. Scott also borrowed from Egmont.