Amadeus Summary and Analysis of Scenes 21-30


Leopold finds his son's residence to be messy and asks Mozart if his wife never cleans. He also questions Mozart's finances. Mozart lies to his father. He tells his father that he has no money problems and that he does not have pupils because they get in the way of things. After questioning Mozart about finances, Leopold properly meets his daughter-in-law. He looks at her and asks her if she is pregnant. She confirms his suspicions.

To convince his father that he is not struggling financially, Mozart, despite his wife's protest, takes his father and wife shopping for costumes and then takes them to a party. Leopold is displeased with what he sees at the party. His daughter-in-law acts immodest as she participates in a party game. In the middle of this same game, Leopold begs Mozart to come back with him to Salzburg, but Mozart refuses and acts like a spoiled child. Despite Leopold's disapproval of the party setting, there is a moment at the party in which he shows pride in his son. As part of a game, Mozart plays the piano in a variety of silly poses. As Mozart plays, his father looks fondly at him because Mozart plays beautifully despite the silly poses.

As Mozart plays the piano, he takes a suggestion from the crowd to impersonate Salieri. Mozart mocks Salieri. He makes a dumb face and farting noises as he pretends to be the composer. Unbeknownst to Mozart, Salieri is present at the party and Salieri was the person in the audience that suggested that he impersonates Salieri. Mozart's actions encourage Salieri to continue his revenge schemes.

Soon after, a young maidservant named Lorl comes to Mozart's household and offers her services for free. She tells Mozart, Leopold, and Constanze that a secret admirer of Mozart has already paid her fees. Leopold mistrusts the young woman who refuses to divulge the identity of Mozart's admirer and warns his son about allowing a young servant without references into the house, but Mozart's wife disagrees. Constanze welcomes the help. Constanze and Leopold argue over whether to accept Lorl's services. Constanze calls Leopold a burden, and he calls her lazy. Leopold ends up leaving the house due to tensions between him and Constanze.

The next scene reveals that Lorl is working for Salieri. She is spying on Mozart on Salieri's orders. When Mozart and Constanze are not present in the house, Lorl informs Salieri of their absence, and Salieri enters Mozart's residence. He learns from the visit that Mozart is selling things to keep himself afloat and that Mozart is creating an Italian opera titled The Marriage of Figaro, which is based on the banned play of the same name. Salieri informs Kapellmeister Bonno and Count Orsini-Rosenberg about Mozart's project. Kapellmeister Bonno and Count Orsini-Rosenberg, in response, take the news to the emperor.

The emperor summons Mozart to discuss the opera. The emperor tells Mozart that the play, The Marriage of Figaro, incites tensions between the classes and that he does not want what is happening in France to take place in Vienna. Mozart informs the emperor that he has not incorporated any of the politics of the play into the opera. Mozart ends up convincing the emperor to let the opera show at the national theater. Kapellmeister Bonno, Count Orsini-Rosenberg, and Salieri are not happy with this turn of event. They try to sabotage the opera by censoring aspects of it.

Salieri is involved in the plans against Mozart, but only Kapellmeister Bonno and Count Orsini-Rosenberg deal directly with Mozart. Count Orsini-Rosenberg tells Mozart that it is against the emperor's laws to have a ballet in an opera. Then, he rips out several pages of Mozart's music. Mozart, unaware of Salieri's treacherous ways, appeals to him for help against Count Orsini-Rosenberg. Salieri tells Mozart that he will talk to the emperor about Count Orsini-Rosenberg. The promise is one that Salieri has no intention of keeping, and he does not keep it. The emperor, however, unintentionally comes to Mozart's rescue. The emperor comes to a rehearsal of the opera, an unusual act, and allows Mozart to incorporate ballet into the opera after seeing how dull the opera is without dance.

The opera finally shows. It is astounding. Even Salieri acknowledges this fact. Salieri, however, does not experience complete defeat. The emperor yawns in the middle of the opera, and this action causes the opera to not have long-term success. Salieri explains that three yawns would have destroyed the opera on the same night and that two yawns would have destroyed the opera in a week. As a result of the emperor's one yawn, Mozart's opera receives only nine performances before it gets withdrawn from the theater. Mozart has another private meeting with Salieri.

In the meeting, Salieri tells Mozart that the opera placed too many notes on the emperor's ears. This is a sentiment that the emperor once expressed to Mozart on the opening night of Mozart's German play, The Abduction from the Seraglio. Mozart had taken a lot of offense to this sentiment then, and he takes a lot of offense to the sentiment here as well. After talking about the emperor's response to the opera, Salieri also admits his feelings for the opera. He admits that he loved it. He is filled with reverence for a moment, but Mozart's arrogance quickly destroys this feeling. Near the end of the meeting, Salieri swallows his pride and asks Mozart to look over musical sheets for an opera that he is working on.

Salieri's opera, Axur: King of Ormus, performs at the national theater, and it receives praise from the emperor and the audience, the type of response that Mozart expected for the opera, The Marriage of Figaro, but did not receive. The emperor even calls Salieri's opera the best one "yet written." Mozart, who is present at the opening night of Salieri's opera, is displeased with the emperor's positive response to Salieri's opera. Acting on this negative feeling, Mozart approaches Salieri and gives Salieri an underhanded compliment, and then goes home with a group of friends. At home, he sees Constanze and two men seated at a table. The men are from Salzburg. They inform Mozart that his father, Leopold, is dead.


Unintentional rescues are a motif in this section of the film. After seeing a rehearsal of Mozart's opera, The Marriage of Figaro, the emperor decides to allow Mozart to include a ballet in the opera. By allowing the ballet, he unintentionally disrupts the censorship that Salieri, Count Orsini-Rosenberg, and Kapellmeister Bonno try to impose on Mozart. This same emperor, ironically, causes the demise of The Marriage of Figaro. He yawns in the middle of the opera, and this yawn cements a negative opinion of the opera for Vienna society. The opera ends up receiving only nine performances. In the end, the emperor saves the very men whose actions he had undermined before. The yawn rescues Salieri from the sense of defeat that was threatening to engulf him.

Acts of kindness performed for duplicitous reasons are another motif in this section of the film. Mozart takes his father shopping to hide the fact that he is struggling financially. Lorl promises free services to Constanze and Mozart, but she does so with the purpose of acting as Salieri's spy. Salieri promises to talk to the emperor on Mozart's behalf in order to put on an air of camaraderie and to hide his involvement in censoring Mozart. Last but not least, Mozart gives Salieri a compliment that serves to both inconspicuously insult Salieri and to hide Mozart's hurt pride.

A strange type of friendship has formed between Salieri and Mozart by this point in the film. Both men clearly have negative feelings towards each other, but they appeal to each other for help nevertheless, and they spend a lot of unnecessary time together. Mozart confides his feelings to Salieri not once, but twice in this section. In the first meeting, Mozart confides his feelings towards Count Orsini-Rosenberg to Salieri. In the second meeting, Mozart goes on a rant about how his opera, The Marriage of Figaro, was poorly received by Vienna. Mozart is not just a receiver in the relationship. In the second meeting, he reciprocates by accepting Salieri's request to look over an opera that Salieri is composing.

Misfortunes pile on for Mozart in this section of the film. His father disapproves of the woman that he loves. Constanze senses that Leopold judges her, and she lashes back at Leopold. Mozart tries his best to isolate himself from the tension, but his residence is a modest size and he cannot tune out the arguments. Furthermore, Mozart faces a lot of difficulties at the hands of Count Orsini-Rosenberg for an opera that ends up boring the emperor and receiving only nine performances.

Mozart's sufferings do not stop there. Salieri's opera premieres, and Salieri, whom Mozart sees as inferior, receives praises from the emperor. The last scene of the section overshadows all of Mozart's misfortunes. Mozart finds out that Leopold is dead. The death weighs heavily on Mozart. Despite Leopold's domineering nature, Mozart loved him.