Peter Shaffer Writing Styles in Amadeus

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The play is structured like a deathbed confession, similar to Monticello's in Edgar Allan Poe's short story "The Cask of Amontillado." The play opens after the main events have occurred and with one of the main characters, Antonio Salieri, speaking to the audience as an old man. Salieri frequently addresses the audience directly, sometimes in an aside, during the course of the play to gain support and understanding. This self-conscious, expressionistic device not only provides the audience with useful information; it also allows them a glimpse of Salieri's inner thoughts and emotions. When Salieri speaks to the audience, the other characters often "freeze" and the soundtrack stops. The venticelli, or the "Little Winds," sometimes speak directly to the audience as they relate important information about the events surrounding Salieri's relationship with Mozart. The venticelli also provide Salieri with useful information about Mozart's activities and the public's response to...

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This section contains 701 words
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Buy the Amadeus Study Guide
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