The Death of Empedocles

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Original manuscript

The Death of Empedocles (German: Der Tod des Empedokles) is an unfinished drama by Friedrich Hölderlin. It exists in three versions written from 1797 to 1800, the first of which is the most complete. The third version was published by itself in 1826, but all three did not appear in print together until 1846, three years after Hölderlin's death.[1]

The play is about the final days of pre-Socratic Greek philosopher Empedocles, who, according to legend, threw himself into Mount Etna. Hölderlin's main source of the story was Diogenes Laërtius's Lives and Opinions of Eminent Philosophers. The first act sees Empedocles take leave of Agrigentum, and the second is set entirely at Etna.[1]


  1. ^ a b Burwick, Fred. "Hölderlin and Arnold: Empedocles on Etna". Comparative Literature. 17 (1): 24–42. JSTOR 1769741.