Mozart's young son, Karl, plays a very minor role in the film, but the tender moments that Mozart has with his son are poignant. In fact, Karl is one of the last people that Mozart interacts with before dying. A weak Mozart is disrupted from sleep by Karl; Mozart interacts with the boy while Constanze is preoccupied with telling Salieri to leave the home that she shares with Mozart. Karl's presence contributes to the theme of fatherhood: Mozart is the third father figure to die in the film, following in the footsteps of Salieri's father and Leopold.
None of the father-child dynamics present in the film is healthy. Salieri's father, Mozart's father, and Michael Schlumberg are all very domineering figures. Mozart is not much better than these men. He might not be very domineering when it comes to his son, but his alcoholism and infantile ways render him far from a healthy father figure.
Salieri's Childhood Scenes
Salieri's childhood foreshadows later events. For example, young Salieri rejoices in his father's death since it means that he can study music in Vienna. He sees the death as God's answer to his prayers. Later in the film, a much older Salieri prays that God takes Mozart away from Vienna when Mozart's presence threatens the musical prestige that he holds at Emperor Joseph II's court. When God does not remove Mozart from Salieri's life, Salieri decides to take matters into his own hands. Salieri decides to kill Mozart, as he wants to capitalize on Mozart's death just like he capitalized on his father's death. Salieri tells Father Vogler of his plans to perform at Mozart's funeral and to steal the show.
There are a few parallels between Mozart and Salieri's father. They both mock Salieri and threaten the vision that Salieri has for his life. Given these parallels, it is not surprising that their fates are similar.
Mozart has a portrait of his father, Leopold, in his residence. After Leopold dies, this portrait torments Mozart. He feels his father's domineering presence through it. In one pivotal scene in the film, Mozart leaves the house in the middle of the night in order to escape the portrait. Mozart could have easily taken the portrait down, but he simultaneously seeks to escape the portrait and punish himself with it. Mozart carries a lot of guilt towards his father. In fact, Salieri asserts that Mozart creates a character in Leopold's likeness in Don Giovanni, and that this character serves to accuse Mozart of his faults in front of the whole world.
Constanze's relationship with Mozart is an important aspect of the film. Constanze becomes as desperate as Mozart as the film progresses. Constanze agrees to sleep with Salieri after he tells her that it is the only way that he will help her and Mozart. Although Salieri does not go through with sleeping with Constanze, he does humiliate her: after she undresses, he scolds her and then calls a servant to kick her out. Constanze becomes more and more helpless over the course of the film. The last nail in the coffin for Constanze is the fact that Mozart dies at the precise moment in the film when Constanze feels reinvigorated to try to put their lives back together.
Amadeus Questions and Answers
The Question and Answer section for Amadeus is a great
resource to ask questions, find answers, and discuss the novel.