"Mozart and Salieri", probably the best known of Pushkin's `Little Tragedies', was written in 1830 during the peak of the poet's creative powers. Like the other Little Tragedies it is a `closet drama' which concentrates on the devastating effects of an all-consuming human passion, in this case envy. Mozart and Salieri typifies Pushkin's implicational technique of character construction: the salient points of a fictional psyche are highlighted sufficiently to suggest inner depth while stopping short of precise concretication; this allows full play to lectorial inference on a plurality of connotational levels - thematic, psychological and sociological.
The present work isolates two major thematic dominants in the play - envy and music - and these form the focus for its aesthetic and psychological preoccupations respectively.
Photograph by Alastair Muir