Amadeus Quotes and Analysis

Your son is an unprincipled, spoiled, conceited brat!

Prince-Archbishop Colloredo

Mozart is an irresponsible and brazen adult. He alienates many people because of his temperament. Leopold tries to salvage Mozart's relationship with Prince-Archbishop Colloredo, but his efforts ultimately fail when Mozart marries Constanze and settles down in Vienna, despite the prince-archbishop's order for Mozart to immediately return to Salzburg. Leopold loves his son, but Mozart's continuous defiance of authority figures, Leopold included, frustrates and alienates Leopold, along with many other characters in the film.

His funeral! Imagine it, the cathedral, all Vienna sitting there, his coffin, Mozart's little coffin in the middle, and then, in that silence, music! A divine music bursts out over them all. A great mass of death! Requiem mass for Wolfgang Mozart, composed by his devoted friend, Antonio Salieri! Oh what sublimity, what depth, what passion in the music! Salieri has been touched by God at last. And God is forced to listen! Powerless, powerless to stop it! I, for once in the end, laughing at him!

Antonio Salieri

Salieri is obsessed with greatness. He constructs a plan to finally achieve the type of greatness that he sees in Mozart. In disguise, he approaches Mozart and commissions Mozart to write him a Requiem. He plans on killing Mozart as soon as the Requiem is finished and then passing the piece as his own when he plays it at Mozart's funeral. Salieri essentially commissions Mozart to work on his own elegy. However, Salieri's plan fails in the end. Mozart dies before finishing the death mass, and his modest funeral does not give Salieri the opportunity to shine. In the end, Salieri defeats neither Mozart nor God. Mozart dies, but Salieri is not able to capitalize on Mozart's death, and Mozart's work still enchants people long after his death. Father Vogler, the priest who listens to Salieri's confessions, recognizes a piece by Mozart even though it has been thirty-two years since Mozart passed away; in contrast, he is unable to recognize any of Salieri's work.

Forgive me, Majesty. I am a vulgar man! But I assure you, my music is not.

Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart

Mozart's incredible musical abilities match neither his behaviors nor his outward appearance. Although his music is ethereal, he acts like a spoiled child, and he is unkempt. This shocks and angers Salieri, who expected greatness to show in Mozart's countenance and also for Mozart to have sacrificed something to God in return for what he has received. Mozart, however, seems to have offered God nothing in return for his exceptional skills. Mozart is arrogant, a womanizer, and a drinker. Salieri, on the other hand, has been chaste and devotional to God for many years, but God has blessed him with only mediocrity. This sense of unfairness contributes to Salieri's drive for revenge against both Mozart and God.

My father, he did not care for music. When I told him how I wished I could be like Mozart, he would say; "Why? Do you want to be a trained monkey? Would you like me to drag you around Europe, doing tricks like a circus freak?"

Antonio Salieri

Salieri's life is an inversion of Mozart's life. Salieri's father disliked music and mocked his son's passion for it, whereas Leopold not only taught Mozart music, but also spearheaded Mozart's career. Additionally, Salieri is able to begin his musical journey because his father dies, and embraces this independence. Mozart, on the other hand, goes into mental and physical decline after Leopold dies. He cannot handle independence, and he is ridden with guilt towards Leopold.

That was not Mozart laughing, Father... that was God. That was God laughing at me through that obscene giggle...

Antonio Salieri

Mozart's laugh is a character unto itself: it taunts Salieri long after Mozart has passed away. It is the last sound in the film, thereby upstaging Salieri.

I never knew that music like that was possible!

Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart

Mozart makes this comment after he sees Salieri's opera. Salieri and Mozart are in competition with each other throughout the film, but Salieri seeks validation from Mozart. Salieri wants Mozart to compliment his work. It is when Mozart continues to deny him this validation that he begins to feel the weight of his mediocrity and begins to seek revenge against both God and Mozart.

Sire, only opera can do this. In a play if more than one person speaks at the same time, it's just noise, no one can understand a word. But with opera, with music... with music you can have twenty individuals all talking at the same time, and it's not noise, it's a perfect harmony!

Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart

Mozart's passion for music is displayed throughout the film. His passion for music persuades Emperor Joseph II to make certain allowances, such as giving him permission to show an opera based on the play, The Marriage of Figaro, in the national theater. Furthermore, even as his life falls apart, Mozart works tirelessly on his music. His genuine love for music humanizes him.

It's unbelievable, the director has actually torn up a huge section of my music. They say I have to rewrite the opera. But it's perfect as it is! I can't rewrite what's perfect!

Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart

As Mozart prepares his German opera for its opening night, he encounters some difficulties. Salieri, Count Orsini-Rosenberg, and Kapellmeister Bonno try to sabotage the opera by censoring him. Mozart, who is unaware of Salieri's involvement in his censorship, denounces Count Orsini-Rosenberg's actions to Salieri. Mozart has no problems identifying failings in his personality, but he will denounce anyone who tries to find faults in his music. He disregards decorum multiple times in order to defend his music. He has no problem even going against Emperor Joseph II of Austria to this end.

Astounding! It was actually, it was beyond belief. But they showed no corrections of any kind. Not one. He had simply written down music already finished in his head! Page after page of it as if he were just taking dictation. And music, finished as no music is ever finished. Displace one note and there would be diminishment. Displace one phrase and the structure would fall.

Antonio Salieri

When Constanze, Mozart's wife, shows Salieri samples of Mozart's work, Salieri learns that Mozart only writes in first drafts, and that these drafts are flawless. The moment adds more dimensions to the already complex relationship that exists between Salieri and Mozart. Salieri both admires and despises Mozart. He attends Mozart's operas, yet goes out of his way to make sure that Mozart's operas are limited to very few performances. Despite planning Mozart's demise, Salieri enjoys the private moments that he has with Mozart. In fact, Mozart spends the hours leading up to his death composing music with Salieri.

Do you know who I am?

Antonio Salieri

This is the first question that Salieri asks Father Vogler upon meeting him, and it is a question that has plagued Salieri since childhood. In recounting his childhood to Father Vogler, Salieri mentions that Mozart was making a name for himself while he was wasting his youth playing childish games. Salieri spends his life concerned with leaving a legacy. God's punishment for his crimes against Mozart, ironically, is a complete erasure of him and his work: the young priest who studied music in Vienna knows neither of Salieri nor of his work.