Is there a hidden meaning in the contemporary classic Amadeus which teaches us a fundamental dynamic playing out within ourselves as we attempt to progress along the path of awakening and Self-realization?
“We are enemies now, you and I…” – Salieri, Amadeus
Attlas Unearths the Hidden Meaning of a Modern Masterpiece
Without any doubt, Peter Schaffer’s Amadeus is a modern-day masterwork of fiction. Yes, fiction—from the outset it should be noted that neither Peter Schaffer’s stage play nor Milos Foreman’s brilliant film adaptation should be considered historically accurate. Many scholars and critics have gone to great lengths to point out the historical inaccuracies made, and artistic license taken by Shaffer in crafting his near-melodramatic take on an alleged rivalry between the pious and devoted Antonin Salieri and his nemesis, the juvenile, infantile musical prodigy, Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart. We are not here to open the debate as to the historical inaccuracies of the film, or whether it does an injustice to poor old Salieri, whose name has been forever sullied in the minds of the masses. Nor are we here to criticize the film and its source material for making a somewhat unfair and at times one-dimensional caricature out of one of the most prodigious and talented musical geniuses of all time. No, we are here to do what Attlas does best: unearth the esoteric meaning of a contemporary classic, so that you, dear reader, can explore how such discoveries might apply in your own life. And if possible, explore how revealing said discoveries offers us practical directions to take as we grapple with similar themes, dynamics, and/or one-to-one relationships in our own lives.
In other words, we are looking for the timeless universal Truths hidden in Amadeus, Truths which happen to be told via an allegorized and dramatized tale of historical personas which are easily recognizable and who bring with them the necessary gravitas to the actual subject matter at hand: green eyed jealousy, resentment, entitlement, and the lengths to which we will go to claim the prizes we believe are rightfully ours, and block, oppose and even destroy they to whom the accolades rightfully belong.
Seems simple enough. And for most, the story (and this blog) pretty much ends there. For what more is there to say, really? The film speaks for itself (at times the play speaks even louder and more clearly). But amidst the brooding and bombast of brilliant writing, especially the character of Salieri, lurks a secret which completely changes the complexion of the whole narrative. Can you surmise what that is, dear reader? As we have often pointed out in other unveilings of contemporary works of fiction, mythology and/or fairy tale, often we discover multiple characters representing aspects of a single human psyche. We have even gone so far as to plot the characters onto The Tree of Life of Kabbalah to demonstrate which aspect of the human psyche each character(s) represents. In the case of Amadeus, it is more basic; fundamental. In this allegory we are really getting down to brass tacks…
Salieri is our false self. Mozart is our True Self (our Essence, our Innermost Being).
Now the REAL drama begins to unfold. Not only on the stage/screen but in our own heart-mind. Now we begin to comprehend why this made-up story about two musicians captivated the world and why the film adaptation garnered eight Academy Awards. You can argue until you’re blue in the face about all the technical and artistic achievements justifying said awards, but the fact of the matter remains: for all their faults, we cannot help but identify with both Salieri and Mozart. They are us; and we are them. And, because of its fictitious storyline and larger than life characterizations, we can say with confidence that Amadeus is far less about them and much more about us. And that’s why they, the characters, are so compelling, and it, the story, is so meaningful. It is our story…not just the story of humanity in a grand and vague proclamation easily dismissed as cliché, quickly forgotten and utterly ignored, no…the story of each and every one of us—bar none. So let us hear the story told to us again in this light, so that it may shed light on our story and help us arrive at greater, deeper, more profound, and most importantly more practical and actionable self-knowledge.
What’s in a Name?
If you are familiar with our articles of this kind, dear reader, you will know that we often turn to the power of language and reveal significance of the choice of words used. Rarely are those choices accidental or coincidental, and it is no less the case with Amadeus. Why not Mozart? Why would anyone title a story about someone using their middle name alone?
Let’s begin with the obvious literal interpretations. The following comes from (where else?) Wikipedia:
Amadeus is a theophoric given name derived from the Latin words ama – the imperative of the word amare (to love) – and deus (god). As a linguistic compound in the form of a phereoikos, it means “Love god!”. The best-known bearer of the name is the composer Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart.
We must add to this literal interpretation that Amadeus is not only “Love God” but by extension and reciprocation, it is “God’s Love” (Love of God), and by extrapolation, the Love of God is The Lamb of God. Thus Amadeus is not only God but Christ, Gods incarnation and the Omnipresent Ray of Okidanok which descends from the Absolute into all of Creation. Speaking of creation, Ama is also the name of the Divine Mother in many languages, and she is the Mother of all Creation—Divine Mother Nature. In addition to having these ancient languages-derived meaning, it has a strangely pleasing quality about its sound, not least due to its Latin underpinnings (Latin was a very powerful language, energetically speaking). But more than simply ‘sounding holy,’ Amadeus has a magical quality…even more so than the likes of Prospero or Gandalf. But why does it? Amadeus is truly magical because of what it spells…
A made us.
Who or what is ‘A?’ Well, it turns out there are several strong candidates vying for the position of A. First and foremost is Alpha, of course…as in Alpha and Omega. The beginning, the origin, The Source. This certainly dovetails with the literal meaning, already discussed. And that makes perfect sense, when you consider it. Did not God create everything? And certainly, according to Salieri, God absolutely created Mozart; and not just Mozart but his music. This he says many times over in the course of the narrative, beginning with the following description of Mozart’s music upon first hearing it and then looking at the score…
Video: Salieri describes Mozart’s Music in Amadeus
A close second for what ‘A’ stands for—and the title of this blog post as it turns out—is Agony. Now that is interesting, isn’t it? That our first two choices for the meaning of ‘A’ in Amadeus are God (Alpha & Omega) and suffering (agony). If, upon hearing this relationship, one’s mind doesn’t immediately leap to expressions such as suffering for one’s art, the passion of the Christ, or even the agony and the ecstasy, no worries—all will be made clear in time. The relationship between suffering and our making (and/or unmaking as the case may be), that is, our coming into being, is the same relationship between our suffering and our Maker, that is, our Being. This relationship is very much the crux of the film, our lives, and the Path of Self-Realization.
But we get ahead of ourselves (pun very much intended): for in order to suffer (experience agony), we require the third meaning of ‘A’…Antagonism—a word whose very meaning is ‘before suffering;’ much like an antechamber is the room leading to the chamber, antagonism is what leads to agony. Without splitting hairs here, let us add antipathy, aggression, anger, animosity, antithesis, all good A-words which fit the bill and may come into play in our experience of antagonism. And while we can easily recognize the Truth of this as it relates to our relationships and/or conflicts with others, it is often less clear to us when we are locked in a resentment, bitterness, enmity or indeed a rivalry with our Selves. Since that is the case—and the ego very much engineers it to be so—works of art such as Amadeus serve the purpose of allegorizing such internal conflicts for us such that we can see more clearly that which is otherwise obscured and muddied by the veil of our own singular psychology. Through the personification of different aspects of our own psyche, we can witness how independent elements of ourselves act according to various motivations, and what—if anything—influence, alter or outright dictate those motivations. In other words, what makes us?
So we begin our analysis of the name Amadeus as a statement of creation or coming into being (and thus a statement of Being) which incorporates God (Alpha & Omega), suffering (Agony) and conflict (Antagonism, Antipathy, Antithesis et al). Now let us reiterate, dear reader, that the statement is first person, plural. Agony made us. Who, then, is us referring to? Let us for the sake of brevity say it is the multiplicity (the different aspects of our own psyche) which Amadeus is about—you, me, everyone—and also, the elements or individual characters in the allegory personifying different aspects of said multiplicity: Salieri (the false self of personality) and Mozart (the True Self of the Innermost Being). Interesting…God made BOTH the false self AND the True Self? Why? To what end? To create antipathy in antithesis and thus give rise to agony so we can liberate ourselves from the causes of suffering, that we may return to and know the True Nature of the Self (Alpha and Omega). Well if that’s true, then what are these alleged ’causes of suffering’ and is it even conceivable to imagine that they, too, have been somehow encoded / allegorized / contained within the name Amadeus?
Take the ‘A’ from the beginning of the name Amadeus and move it to the end…after the ‘s’…what’s it spell? Madeusa
(Medusa). If the Alpha actually assumes the position of Omega (the end), it effectively spells out (or at the very least reveals Amadeus to be an anagram for) Medusa, the mythical demoness who is the antithesis of Minerva (Athena, the Divine Mother) and allegorizes the psychological “I” of the false self and the inverted sexual force ruled by a legion of egos we carry within us (with a head adorned with a thousand venomous serpents).
“Perseus was the son of Jupiter and Danae. His grandfather Acrisius, alarmed by an oracle which had told him that his daughter’s child would be the instrument of his death, caused the mother and child to be shut up in a chest and set adrift on the sea. The chest floated towards Seriphus, where it was found by a fisherman who conveyed the mother and infant to Polydectes, the king of the country, by whom they were treated with kindness. When Perseus was grown up Polydectes sent him to attempt the conquest of Medusa, a terrible monster who had laid waste the country. She was once a beautiful maiden whose hair was her chief glory but as she dared to vie in beauty with Minerva, the goddess deprived her of her charms and changed her beautiful ringlets into hissing serpents. She became a cruel monster of so frightful an aspect that no living thing could behold her without being turned into stone. All around the cavern where she dwelt might be seen the stony figures of men and animals which had chanced to catch a glimpse of her and had been petrified with the sight. Perseus, favoured by Minerva and Mercury, the former of whom lent him her shield and the latter his winged shoes, approached Medusa while she slept and taking care not to look directly at her, but guided by her image reflected in the bright shield which he bore, he cut off her head and gave it to Minerva, who fixed it in the middle of her AEgis.” —Thomas Bulfinch, The Age of Fable
“Perseus descends in order to cut off the head of Medusa (the psychological “I,” or terrestrial Adam) with his flaming sword; Medusa’s head has many planted serpents which the esoteric student has to deliver to Minerva, the goddess of wisdom… Remember that Medusa is the maiden of evil (the psychological “I”), whose head is covered with hissing vipers.” — Samael Aun Weor, Tarot and Kabbalah Quotes Source: https://gnosticteachings.org/glossary/m/3893-medusa.html
We take the time and make the effort to clarify this distinction such that we are clear, dear reader, that while Salieri represents the false self, and is clearly one half of the ‘us’ in ‘A made us,’ he is himself ruled by a multiplicity, a legion of individual egos, psychological aggregates, or metaphysical malware (to use the terminology we us in The AUM of Life). The “I” as we know it (as we identify with it: “me, myself, and I”) is not an “I” at all…it is a “we.” In Truth, there is no “I” at all. There never was. And yet, there is a self—and not just a self, as we have already pointed out, but selves—the false self and our True Self. Our True Self is likewise not an “I.” It, too, is a multiplicity. And, depending on the level of our Being, not only a multiplicity but a perfect multiple unity. But again, we get ahead of ourselves (once more, pun very much intended).
All that, dear reader, is within the title…a single word…Amadeus. If you have ever questioned the power of spelling and the magical potential of language, question it no more. For surely you have just born witness to how much just one word can be pregnant with power and meaning. And why it is the name Amadeus is so compelling, endearing, and meaningful to us, that even 80’s Austrian techno artist Falco featured it in one of their only chart-topping pop songs.
Video: Rock Me Amadeus by Falco (English version). Watch the original German video here.
In terms of the title of the film/play, and said title happens to be Mozart’s middle name, we can begin to appreciate the gravitas with which Salieri obsesses over the young Mozart. In his own words Mozart is God’s instrument on this earth; His messenger; His vehicle if you will. But why should that fact be so troubling to Salieri?
Let us point out at this time that the entire play/film Amadeus is framed by the conventions of a confession. Salieri is confessing his crimes; specifically, the murder of Mozart. Still, this fact alone doesn’t explain why he did it. Only that he did, and he intends over the course of the performance to explain himself, as best he can, his motivations and actions thereof.
Early in the story, he focuses on his childhood, and the self-styled naïve little boy who dreamt of becoming a great composer, but who secretly envied the famed Mozart who was travelling about Europe playing for royalty—to which Salieri’s father quipped “do you want to be paraded around like some performing monkey?” To which Salieri responded internally, praying secretly and sheepishly to God:
Video: Salieri prays to God as a child to make him a great composer; and God appears to answer his prayers.
And yes, God appears to answer Salieri’s prayers, his father choking and dying, opening the path to him to indeed study music and eventually land the position of court composer to Emperor Joseph II of Austria. Esoterically, the false self longs for fame and fortune and glory and is willing to make a bargain with God, his Father, to achieve its desires. And whereas his actual father would deny him such trifles unbefitting his son, through a kind of black magic spell (an energetic exchange to manifest his desires), his father dies and a NEW “father” emerges to take his place—who happens to be the father of the nation: Emperor Joseph II, that is, a worldly father; a father ‘out there’ as opposed to the father ‘in here.’ And like his own father, Salieri quips how the Emperor really “had a terrible ear, but what did it matter? He loved my music!”
Salieri holds his position as court composer with great personal admiration and esteem, even as he upholds his vows to God in gratitude and his own haughty version of humility—if one can imagine such a thing being possible; Salieri seems to somehow pull it off, which is a clue to how subtle and ‘spiritual’ the false self can make itself out to be. We even see this in a beautiful moment when Salieri finishes composing his little welcome march for Mozart. He looks up at Jesus on the cross and says “Grazie Signore.” Of course, his little plan to upstage Mozart’s introduction to the emperor by blanketing the occasion in his own music backfires on him in a most spectacular and humiliating way…
Video: An edited version of the Mozart ‘March’ Scene from ‘Amadeus’ focusing on the music and Salieri’s resentment;
Watch the complete scene here.
The following comment on the above video made by Alexandros Triantafyllidis sums it up nicely:
Salieri before: Grazie Signore 🙂
Salieri after: Grazie Signore 😦
Here we see Salieri’s character as the ego-personality clearly defined…the false self…for only the false self pivots from ‘ecstasy to agony’ on a dime with the changing winds. Where he begins the scene grateful and humble, he ends it resentful and proud; whereas before, when everything is going his way, he thanks and praises God; afterwards, when everything has gone awry, he curses God. It is critical, dear reader, that we recognize it is our false self whose demeanor changes with the tides of fortune. It is just as critical that we recognize the toxicity and passive aggression emanating from the character of Salieri over the course of the story. For this first encounter with Mozart at court is only the beginning of Salieri’s suffering and humiliation. A series of perceived slights befall the court composer, seemingly already doomed to perpetual mediocrity in the wake of the young prodigy. And, like all mediocrities, Salieri is not impervious to the desires of the flesh, even if he never violates his vow to God to remain pure. Nonetheless, he covets his precious soprano “songbird,” and cannot bear the though of anyone else laying their hands on her, “least of all…the creature.”
Video: Salieri suspects Mozart has had his coveted songbird and most prized possession.
So again, let us approach this scene allegorically and symbolically, understanding that Mozart and Salieri are two aspects of one psyche. What is the feminine aspect within us which the ego covets and craves? It is the same feminine force which the Being works with to express itself through us…the creative force…our sexual energy. So naturally the ego wants our sexual energy for itself, even if it dogmatically pursues its self-imposed vows of chastity! Even though he himself will not indulge in her, he cannot stand the thought of another laying their hands on her, “least of all, the creature.” But Salieri must know for sure, and so he confronts her and investigates the truth…
Video: Salieri’s suspicions are confirmed and his hatred for Mozart grows.
Mozart has Salieri’s most coveted possession. This is yet another way in which he is being humiliated, insulted, cheated and abused not just by Mozart but by God. To the point where he ends up begging and pleading with God to send Mozart away, for both their sakes. Each circumstance Salieri processes as a “micro-aggression” adds to his sense of victimhood; a victim mentality which grows and festers within him like a cancer until he begins to think truly violent thoughts toward the creature.
It is worthwhile noting how Salieri, the animal self, refers to the Being as the creature. Projection is the nature of ego. To twist and corrupt reality is its modus operandi. Certainly, in the film Mozart is depicted as “a vulgar man,” but make no mistake: if Mozart were the utmost of perfect gentlemen, that would also enrage Salieri; give him plenty reason to loathe Mozart and seethe with envy and resentment. Still, that Mozart is a selfish, spoiled, immoral brat in Salieri’s eyes simply adds insult to injury. And Mozart’s obnoxious laugh? Well, Salieri takes his “obscene giggle” most personally, indeed.
Video: “God mocks Salieri” in public with the help of Mozart’s antics at the harpsichord.
“Go on, laugh Signore,” Salieri muses to himself. For here again, the plain Truth is revealed to us that Salieri sees with such crystal clarity: Mozart is the Voice of God. What is the implication of this where we’re concerned? Our egos know our Innermost Being is a conduit / vessel of The Logos. And so for a second time in his life, it seems, Salieri must resolve to pray to God. For a second time he expresses his solemn vows to the Almighty, only this time they are not the vows of an innocent child humble and sheepish before his Creator, no…they are the resentful proclamations of a bruised, battered, and resentful ego, seething with anger and indignation that a lifetime of devotion has been met with frustration, disappointment, and humiliation. The following excerpt is from Peter Shaffer’s stage play, Amadeus, the source material for the film. As you will soon discover, dear reader, it would be a crime were we to not include it in its entirety for you to read here and now (imagine F. Murray Abraham performing it as Salieri for added effect).
SALIERI: Capisco! I know my fate. Now for the first time I feel my emptiness as Adam felt his nakedness… Tonight at an inn somewhere in this city stands a giggling child who can put on paper, without actually setting down his billiard cue, casual notes which turn my most considered ones into lifeless scratches. Grazie, Signore! You gave me the desire to serve you – which most men do not have – then saw to it the service was shameful in the ears of the server. Grazie! You gave me the desire to praise you – which most do not feel – then made me mute. Grazie tante! You put into me perception of the Incomparable – which most men never know! – then ensured that I would know myself forever mediocre. (His voice gains power) Why? … What is my fault? … Until this day I have pursued virtue with rigour. I have laboured long hours to relieve my fellow men. I have worked and worked the talent you allowed me. (Calling up) You know how hard I’ve worked! – solely that in the end, in the practice of the art which alone makes the world comprehensible to me, I might hear Your Voice! And now I do hear it – and it says only one name: MOZART! … Spiteful, sniggering, conceited, infantine Mozart! – who has never worked one minute to help another man! – shit-talking Mozart with his botty-smacking wife! – him you have chosen to be your sole conduct! And my only reward – my sublime privilege – is to be the sole man alive in this time who shall clearly recognize your Incarnation! (Savagely) Grazie e grazie ancora! (Pause) So be it! From this time we are enemies, You and I! I’ll not accept it from You – Do you hear? … They say God is not mocked. I tell you, Man is not mocked! I am not mocked! … They say the spirit bloweth where it listeth: I tell you NO! It must list to virtue or not blow at all! (Yelling) Dio Ingiusto! – You are the Enemy! I name Thee now – Nemico Eterno! And this I swear. To my last breath I shall block you on earth, as far as I am able! (He glares up at God. To audience) What use, after all, is Man, if not to teach God His lessons? – Peter Schaffer, Amadeus, Act I.
All this, dear reader, is just the background of Salieri’s suffering. Mozart hasn’t truly done anything truly terrible to Salieri, beyond a bit of playfulness and fun. But we take ourselves so seriously sometimes, as Salieri does. We often find ourselves taking personally that which was mere circumstance, happenstance. In Truth, it is as Salieri surmises: a test. Can we “brave the slings and arrows of outrageous fortune,” and remain calm, relaxed, light? Or do we become heavy, weighed down by a heavy heart laden with egos which feel slighted, insulted, humiliated? But of course it goes much deeper than that fore Salieri. His agony ultimately stems from not being God’s chosen vessel on earth; and, moreover, to be the sole man alive to recognise God’s chosen vessel…the snivelling, infantile Mozart. It’s sheer agony for a proud, ambitious devotee who has dedicated his life to the service of God to be locked out of the glory and instead relegated to “staring through the cage of [Mozart’s] meticulous ink strokes at an absolute beauty.”
On that note, dear reader, you may be wondering why, of all the video clips we have shown illustrating Salieri’s suffering, we have not yet shown the scene where Salieri is given a chance to stare at the unblemished original scores of his rival and nemesis? Why have we held back that most potent and powerful expression of Salieri’s agony, when we see him finally “staring through the cage of those meticulous ink strokes at an absolute beauty?” Patience, dear reader. We’ll get to it presently, but within the context of that scene in service of the overarching story. There are two tales of suffering to tell, and inasmuch as Salieri is obsessed with Mozart, we mustn’t allow the whole of our consciousness to be hypnotized by Salieri’s agony alone. For it seems Mozart needs Salieri. And in a bid to further his own ambitions in the world, Mozart’s wife Constanze (Divine Feminine), will do anything in her power to strengthen her union with her husband, The Holy Spirit (Divine Masculine), in order that The Innermost Being can bring the music of The Logos (The Christ; Divine Androgen) into the world…and that means gaining the cooperation of an embarrassed and humiliated Salieri (the false self).
Before we proceed, we must try to understand, dear reader, that we are going to be venturing into murky and gray territory…into the very subtle and nuanced levels of our own psychological hell. The subconscious mind is a labyrinth with many levels (forty-nine levels, in fact: 7 x 7), but can also be comprehended and experienced as the 7 hells of Klipoth, the Lunar Astral Plane. As such, we must try to adopt a flexible and nuanced mind, free of biases and subjective limitations—even those previously established in this very article, which seems to have doggedly pursued a simple line of reasoning thus far: Salieri is the false self, ego, and Mozart is the Being. But to even begin to discuss a section entitled “Mozart’s Agony” we must comprehend that ego will play a role; it must play a role since ego is the cause of all suffering. So Salieri may indeed be the false self and is clearly motivated by mostly ego, as we will soon discover, he is not wholly without merit or use. Likewise, Mozart, although he may represent the Being, clearly he isn’t perfect; he is fallible, and he is at times very much a fish out of water. Thus, we encourage you to contemplate the remainder of this discourse with the following symbol in the back of your mind:
That out of the way, we can continue unabated with the knowledge that it is precisely Mozart’s otherworldliness which makes him wholly “unpractical” in the words of his wife, Constanze. And it his inability to manage his finances which drives her to show up at Salieri’s door, with a very special portfolio tucked beneath her arm…
Video: “These are originals?”
So apart from the obvious divulged in this scene, the Truth of Mozart’s position as the voice of God here on earth, comes the practical worldly information that Mozart and his wife are in trouble. They need help. And not just any help, they need his help—Salieri’s help. Constanze shows up with the portfolio so that her husband can be considered for the position as music tutor to the emperor’s niece. Apart from giving Salieri an opportunity to confirm his most dreaded suspicions about Mozart, this scene also offers him a chance to block, hinder and oppose God’s instrument. For as sure as his lies are to Constanze about agreeing to help them, his confession to the priest reveals he did absolutely nothing whatsoever to assist them.
We realize that at every turn Salieri takes advantage of his influence to use all of Mozart’s idiosyncrasies and eccentricities against him, seeing to it that his operas receive the minimum number of viewings, poisoning his image and reputation among the other maestro’s of Joseph’s court (not that they need too much encouragement as their own disdain for Mozart is palpable from the moment he is first mentioned), and even hiring a maid to effectively spy on Mozart for Salieri. All this, even before Salieri unleashes his ‘fiendishly ingenious plot’ to do away with Mozart once and for all.
But Mozart’s suffering cannot solely be blamed on Salieri. In fact, like Salieri, Mozart too suffers at the hands of his father. But whereas Salieri’s suffering stems from a father who sees no value in music, Mozart’s father is exactly the opposite. He sees music as his son’s ticket to prosperity (and by extension, his own). Mozart is spoiled on one hand and rigorously set to task on the other. He surely is denied any sort of reasonable experience of a ‘care-free childhood’ and instead is made to immerse himself in a life consisting solely of music. Both Salieri and Mozart suffer through their early childhood at the hands of their fathers, and ironically, it is Mozart who seems not to be given the choice. Salieri’s strict dedication to God and to music are self-imposed. Read in the context of this didactic, from an early age, Salieri wants to be Mozart. And Mozart? Mozart does his Father’s Will. Both men suffer for their art as children; and both have different relationships with their fathers.
Mozart’s suffering for his art as an adult seems to begin when his first opera receives a rather lukewarm reception from the Emperor and is criticized for having “too many notes.”
Video: “Too many notes.”
Mozart responds with indignation and resentment, two very Salierian qualities. He is resentful because it seems to him at least, he is being chastised for a shortcoming that lies more within the Viennese ear—an inability to keep up with a tempo and note density which is “quite new”—and less within Mozart’s music itself. And yet, it is Mozart’s music which is naturally said to be at fault for deserving that infamous criticism, “too many notes.” But Mozart, like Salieri, know that his music has neither more nor less notes than were required of him by God. And Mozart’s frustration with what he sees as “absurd” is plain. Here we begin to see the shoe on the other foot. Now it is Mozart who is thwarted and resentful at the slow pace of the world and an audience (and royalty, even) too dull to absorb what God has to tell them.
After some time in Vienna, Mozart is joined by his father, Leopold. Leo, the lion; pold as in bold; brave. Now, according to Wikipedia, Leopold is actually “the modern form of the Germanic name Luitbald,” with the first part being related to Old High German liut meaning ‘people.'” (Source: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Leopold_(given_name) ) Be it “brave people” or “brave lion,” the implication here is obvious: Leopold represents a kind of ruler; an authority figure—be it the king of beasts or the will of the people. On an esoteric level, of course, he is Mozart’s father…The Being of the Being…the bravest lion of them all; and indeed, the king of kings…see our article on The Lion King to explore this facet in more depth. And indeed, when Mozart arrives in Vienna, he very much shows up to let Mozart know (as Mufasa appears to Simba in The Lion King) that he has forgotten who he his—his duty; his responsibility; etc. His father is not pleased, not by any account. And it is during the masquerade ball, with Mozart desperately wanting his “Papa” to have fun, play the game, and “give him his penalty” that we are introduced to the iconic dreaded death shroud costume which has adorned stage productions, the official movie poster, and the intro graphic to this article as well. We say “death shroud” because of the expression we first heard in Gladiator, “death smiles on us all, all a man can do is smile back.” But of course, most do not smile at the thought of death, let alone its arrival at their door. Just as Mozart is at first taken aback by the frowning mask, then taken in by the smiling mask, but then realizes the true demeanor of his Father beneath the façade.
Video: Amadeus Masquerade Scene – Fun, games, and penalties.
Suffice it to say, Mozart’s Father is not amused. And one can only imagine the pressure one might feel from such an overbearing father, who devoted his life so that one might achieve never-before-reached heights of musical talent and success. One can only imagine the pressure The Innermost Being might feel with the knowledge that he is meant to be the vessel for His Father in heaven, who has devoted His Existence to orchestrating the necessary life of suffering and sacrifice for humanity, such that the Being might Self-Realize and incarnate The Logos. Is the Being’s Father in heaven overbearing and demanding? The Being of our Being, The Logos, The Cosmic Christ, is Love. And Love, as we know, is severity and mercy in equal measure. No genuine Father-Mother leaves their children wholly to their own devices; and none forsakes them; none denies them what they need in order to become what they are capable of becoming…indeed, what they are destined to become. So meditate on that, dear reader, and arrive at your own insights as to the nature of our Innermost Being’s journey and what ‘pressures’ may be impressing on them from above/within.
The ultimate reason why Mozart’s father’s costume is “the death shroud” is revealed once Salieri hatches his plot to bring about Mozart’s downfall. Following Leopold’s death Mozart writes Don Giovanni, which is not only “Mozart’s blackest opera” according to Salieri, but a scathing indictment of the son by the father, “whose ghost comes back from the grave to torment Mozart” Salieri adds.
Video: Don Giovanni Scene from Amadeus.
Having born witness to this artistic expression of a kind of shame and self-loathing on the part of Mozart, Salieri discovers Mozart’s weakness—his shame and guilt related to his father—and decides he will exploit this weakness in Mozart to bring about his demise while reaping (pun intended) much glory for himself in the process. In Salieri’s words, he sees a way he can “triumph over God.” He will don the iconic death shroud costume worn by Leopold at the masquerade and appear at Mozart’s door with money and a commission for the now legendary Requiem Mass. Knowing Mozart is destitute, desperate, and in need of money, Salieri will become the apparition from Don Giovanni—the ego will seek to possess The Being through practical need, fear, shame, guilt, and the haunting presence of His Father’s Will.
Video: Salieri’s Plan to Triumph over God.
So here we see what the false self ultimately desires: to kill God’s instrument on earth, steal his gifts, pass them off as his own, make God powerless to stop it, and force God to listen as he, our “I,” laughs and mocks Him. And we see how fiendishly clever, and yet terrifyingly simple the false self’s plan is. It gives credence to G.I. Gurdieff’s famous proclamation announcing “the terror of the situation” of humanity. But how does the “I” achieve the ultimate fulfillment of its sinister plot? Salieri asks this of himself: “how does one kill a man?” How does the ego “kill” the Being?
Well of course the ego cannot actually accomplish that goal, not even through suicide, just as Salieri himself never does ‘murder’ Mozart in the strictest sense. However, he does conspire to ensure Mozart falls out of favor with the court, that he cannot get any pupils, falls deeper into shame, guilt, self-loathing and alcoholism, until finally his wife takes their child leaves him. In her wake the wrathful aspect of The Divine Feminine—Divine Mother Kali, Destroyer of Worlds—remains behind in the form of his mother-in-law to chastise him for his shortcomings, and we see him relegated to having his next and final opera, The Magic Flute performed at the popular operetta house for the lower classes instead of the grand opera house for royalty and gentry.
Video: Mozart conducts the Magic Flute, Queen of the Night Aria.
Specifically in this scene, one of the greatest of all arias in opera, the Queen of the Night—Kali, Durgha, the divine destructive force in the cosmos, Divine Mother Death—commands her daughter to murder Sorastro (The Being). Both symbolically and serendipitously, we see this aria slowly killing Mozart onscreen. Here is what theatre, opera and film can do which no work of non-fiction can. The multilayered symbols and meanings come together to achieve what Salieri alone could not. It takes the dark aspect of Mozart’s own Divine Feminine force to bring about the Being’s demise, which we see happen mere moments later as Mozart collapses…
Video: Mozart collapses while playing Papagino’s song during The Magic Flute.
Of course Salieri seizes upon this opportunity to take Mozart home and ‘nurse him back to health,’ if for no other reason than to continue with his plan to have Mozart complete the Requiem before he dies which Salieri will pass off as his own. So here we come to the climax of the film and the very crux of the matter at hand…
The Agony and the Ecstasy
We have arrived at what is unquestionably the climax of Amadeus wherein we discover the hard truth: The Being and the false self are ONE. Mozart and Salieri need one another. One cannot exist, here and now, without the other. They are bound by fate and are effectively joined at the hip, ’til death do they part. And like any squabbling couple, there is much antagonism between them leading to agony (as we have already shown); but it is through that drama that each comes into his own, and the two come together to work as one through a glorious collaboration whereby together they bring the Glorian of the Cosmic Christ into the world through music…
Video: Salieri assists Mozart in the writing of Requiem – Confutatis
The Being NEEDS the false self. Who else can take inspirations and insights and compose them into comprehensible words and notes but the mind? What else can feel the beauty and majesty of the inspiration and insights being conveyed but the heart? What else but the body can record the notes on the physical page? And yet we see how slow, inadequate, and dull the false self can be. Salieri can barely keep up with Mozart. And anyone who has ever experienced any kind of divine inspiration or insight knows how True this is—the false self is wholly inadequate and unqualified to be deemed the originator of any work of genuine value; it is barely capable of recording and transcribing such works of divine inspiration. And only the most disciplined, practised, and blessed vessels/messengers have the capacity to keep up as Mozart did; those personas who make being God’s voice seem easy—effortlessly bringing forth into the world the Light of Truth which shines within them and through them. Such individuals have existed throughout time, Mozart being one, Shakespeare (Sir Francis Bacon) another, and countless others, including the many messengers, masters and avatars whose words and works resonate within us even today.
And of course, we already know that the false self NEEDS the True Self. Who else can provide the inspiration and insights which the false self claims for itself and passes off as its own? Salieri is incapable of composing anything close to Mozart’s music, so the false self must collaborate with the Being even as it conspires to co-opt the Being’s gifts, message, music, et al.
It is only because of EGO (resentment, envy, lust, anger, fear including desire for comfort and security, shame, pride, narcissism, et al) that the false self (Salieri) conspires against the True Self (Mozart); and it is only by EGO that the True Self falls into the false self’s trap. Where there is no more ego between them, antagonizing them, keeping them apart and opposed to each other, there is no more agony; what remains is ecstasy.
Death and the Fate of the False Self
Shortly after the above scene, Constanze returns the following morning. She is upset to find Salieri in the house and snatches the score away from him, locking it in a cabinet, proclaiming that he is not to work on it anymore. Moments later, the Being departs.
Video: Mozart’s Death.
So where does that leave the false self? With glory? With fame? Fortune? Legacy? Does Salieri have the last laugh? In no uncertain terms, when through death they do part, the Higher Self, if it has indeed earned the right to do so, moves on…to eternity. And it is made clear from the start that Mozart does achieve a kind of immortality, by being God’s voice in the world and by suffering for the sake of fulfilling his work as that voice. And the personality (the false self, Salieri)? It lingers…to be dissolved slowly over many years…rotting away in a kind of asylum…a champion of mediocrity…believing whatever it wants to continue believing about itself.
Video: Final Scene from Amadeus – Salieri, Patron Saint of Mediocrity.
You see, dear reader, the false self has no future. It is owed no glory and ultimately can have no glory. It has but one purpose and one purpose alone: to serve the True Self, the Innermost Being—and by extension, God. And while for a time that purpose includes antagonizing the Being, opposing it, blocking it, conspiring against it, co-opting its gifts, and all that Salieri does to Mozart and more, in the end the false self serves the Being…for through the agony he causes via its antagonism and victimhood, Salieri’s deepest longing, and highest ecstasy—to be the voice of God—can ONLY be satisfied by helping Mozart write his own Requiem Mass…can only achieve true ecstasy by assisting his Innermost Being in bringing forth the Light and Love of Christ (God) into the world.
Now remember, Mozart and Salieri are one and the same; the false self and the True Self are likewise one and the same, and only death can truly separate them…and it is the false self’s sole purpose and highest gift, ultimately, to prepare the Being for death and immortality—to be one with the Alpha and Omega. Anything short of that, leaves both the false self and True Self with nothing but antagonism and agony.
The death shroud, the Queen of the Night aria, the Requiem Mass, all point us to the climax of the film and one inevitable certainty befalling all of us: death. The sooner we learn this ultimate of lessons, the sooner we can get on with the business of dying psychologically.
But most of us fall into the trap of fearing death; most of us end up trying to avoid it, that is because the ego fears death above all things. Ego makes death an agonizing process, and convinces us to avoid it at all costs. Death is the great teacher, and ego, the great liar. Egos cannot persist in the wake of psychological death; likewise, death cannot teach us so long as we are trapped by our egos and avoid psychological death. Explore The Folly of Avoiding Death.
Learn from Amadeus, what happens if the Being dies but the self, the ego-personality persists with its resentment. It is safe to say that the final scene of the film represents limbo, klipoth, hell. We shall indeed be stuck in hell, to be dissolved slowly, slowly watching ourselves go extinct, as Salieri does, unless we resolve to die before we die, to assist in and participate in our True Self’s death, helping him write the Requiem, not for our glory—neither that of our self nor our Self—but for the Glory of God…for the sake of the Glorian, the Cosmic Christ, the True Self of our True Self, and the REAL author of the music, Fire of the fire, Light of lights, and Love of loves. Birth, death and SACRIFICE. These are the three factors of evolution and revolution of the consciousness.
We leave you, dear reader and listener, with the following performance of the Queen of the Night aria from Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart’s The Magic Flute. Turn on the subtitles if need be and allow your own Divine Mother Durgha, Kali, Destroyer of Worlds instruct you on the wisdom of surrendering to her flaming blade, and embracing the inevitability to bypass all antagonism and agony and instead dive headlong into the only true ecstasy which awaits us…within…via surrender to our Innermost Being.
Video: The Magic Flute, Queen of the Night, Royal Opera House, Diana Damrau.