A Study of the Concept of Tolerance by Lessing in Minna von Barnhelm and The Jews

Document Type : Research Paper


Assistance Professor of German Language and Literature, Faculty of Foreign Languages, the University of Isfahan, Isfahan, Iran


Tolerance with the people with other beliefs is one of the ethical issues that are focused on in Enlightenment Europe. Since Lessing is known as a scout Enlightenment in German literature so this article studies the concept of tolerance by him in the dramas Minna von Barnhelm and The Jews. For this purpose, first the history of Enlightenment Europe from the beginning up to Lessingʼs time that is eighteenth century is considered; and afterwards, the theme of tolerance in these works is studied.
Minna is at first glance only a comedy drama with no important issues to deal with, but with a little care, Lessingʼs views on tolerance and his stance against the war can be seen. In The Jews he has explicitly explained his opinions in this field and has stressed the necessity of tolerance with the followers of other religions and the avoidance of prejudice against them.


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