The Triumph of Autocracy: Alexei Petrovich versus Peter Alexeevich. The Conflict of Fathers and Sons in the Dutch Drama of the 19th century

Emmanuel Waegemans


The author explores an episode of 18th century Russian history: i.e. the conflict between Peter I and his son Alexei Petrovich, reflected in the plays of Dutch playwrights in the first half of the 19th century. Referring to Peter de Groote, Zar van Rusland of Arent van Halmael, the author describes the peculiarities of the Dutch writer’s understanding of the conflict. The writer focuses on showing the reader the tsar’s inner conflict caused by the necessity to execute his son as a traitor while sensing his paternal attachment to him. It is in Johannes de Wal’s Peter de Groote, Treurspel, that the discrepancy between the love of a father and the tsar’s duty as head of the country takes on an even more pronounced shape. The young playwright portrays the son’s deep attachment to his father, demonstrating a theme that power exacts a heavy price. The Dutch reader’s attention is stimulated through the unique Russian portrayal of events.


Arent van Halmael; Johannes de Wal; historical drama; 19th century Dutch literature; conflict between Peter I and tsarevich Alexei.

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ISSN 2311-911X (Print)
ISSN 2313-6871 (Online)


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