The Son

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The Son
Written by Walter Hasenclever
Characters The Son
The Tutor
The Friend
The Fräulein
The Father
Von Tuchmeyer
Prince Scheitel
Police Inspector
Date premiered 1916 (1916)
Place premiered Dresden
Original language German
Subject Intergenerational conflict
Genre Expressionism
Setting The present (1914), over 3 days

The Son (German: Der Sohn) is a five-act Expressionist play by the German playwright Walter Hasenclever.[1] It was the first self-proclaimed, full-length Expressionist play to be produced, though its dramatic structure is more or less realistic.[2] It takes as its subject the conflict between the generations and a rejection of the world in general by the young.[3] It is a semi-autobiographical work.[4]

It was written in 1912, first published in 1914, and first performed in 1916 at the Albert-Theater in Dresden, although Hasenclever had read the play at the literary cabaret Das Gnu in early 1914.[5] Ernst Deutsch played the Son to great acclaim.[6]

The play ends with the Son's parricide of his father, after which he "strides triumphantly over his father's corpse into a future full of glorious potential."[7]


  1. ^ Marx (1997) and Rorrison (1998, 475).
  2. ^ Kuhns (1997, 23, 96), Rorrison (1998, 475), and Wellwarth (2002, 258).
  3. ^ Rorrison (1998, 475) and Schürer (1997b, xiii).
  4. ^ Schürer (1997b, xiv).
  5. ^ Kuhns (1997, 61, 94), Rorrison (1998, 475), Schürer (1997b, ix, xiv), and Wellwarth (2002, 258).
  6. ^ Kuhns (1997, 89) and Schürer (1997b, xiv-xv).
  7. ^ Kuhns (1997, 36).


  • Banham, Martin, ed. 1998. The Cambridge Guide to Theatre. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press. ISBN 0-521-43437-8.
  • Hasenclever, Walter. 1994. Der Sohn. Ein Drama in fünf Akten. Nachw. v. Michael Schulz. Stuttgart: Reclam. ISBN 3-15-008978-6.
  • Kuhns, David F. 1997. German Expressionist Theatre: The Actor and the Stage. New ed. Cambridge: Cambridge UP, 2006. ISBN 978-0-521-03522-4.
  • Marx, Henry, trans. 1997. The Son. By Walter Hasenclever. In Schürer (1997a, 82-145).
  • Rorrison, Hugh. 1998. "Hasenclever, Walter." In Banham (1998, 475).
  • Schürer, Ernst, ed. 1997a. German Expressionist Plays. The German Library ser. vol. 66. New York: Continuum. ISBN 978-0-8264-0950-8.
  • ---. 1997b. Introduction. In Schürer (1997a, vii-xxi).
  • Wellwarth, George E. 2002. "Expressionism." In The Reader's Encyclopedia of World Drama. Ed. John Gassner and Edward Quinn. Mineola, NY: Dover. 256-261. ISBN 978-0-486-42064-6.