… means and ends …

Buchner’s early 19th-century play (1835), in its new version by Brenton, portrays on one level the interpersonal dynamics of the reign of terror of the French Revolution, and on a deeper level the tragic consequences of an ideologue-at-work, Robespierre, who places concept over humanity.  Danton, as brilliantly played by Toby Stephens, mistakenly believes that his past services to the Revolution and his reputation as a revolutionary will secure his future.  He does not grasp the full consequences of Robespierre’s single-minded pursuit of “political cleansing”.  But, as Robespierre says at Danton’s trial, “He [Danton’s friend Lacroix] thinks a special privilege is attached to that name.  We want no privileges, we want no false gods!”

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