William Tell


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Tell, William,

legendary Swiss patriot. According to legend, Tell was a native of Uri, one of the Swiss forest cantons. Gessler, the canton's Austrian bailiff, decreed that Swiss citizens must remove their hats before his hat, which he had posted on a stake in the canton's largest town. Tell refused and as punishment was ordered to shoot an apple off his small son's head. Although he succeeded, he was held prisoner by Gessler when he revealed that had he failed, he planned to kill Gessler with an arrow he had hidden on his person. Tell escaped and eventually shot Gessler from ambush at Küssnacht, thus setting off the revolt that ousted the bailiff on Jan. 1, 1308. While there is no valid proof of Tell's existence, the legend represents a distorted account of events that resulted (1291) in the formation of the Everlasting League between the cantons of SchwyzSchwyz
, canton (1993 pop. 116,100), 351 sq mi (909 sq km), central Switzerland, one of the Four Forest Cantons. Bordering on the Lake of Zürich in the north and the Lake of Lucerne in the southwest, Schwyz is a mountainous and forested region, with meadows supporting
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, UriUri
, canton (1993 pop. 35,500), 415 sq mi (1,075 sq km), central Switzerland, one of the Four Forest Cantons. Altdorf is the capital. The most sparsely populated of the Swiss cantons, Uri is an Alpine region of glaciers and pastures, with forests and meadows in the Reuss River
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, and UnterwaldenUnterwalden
, canton, central Switzerland, one of the Four Forest Cantons. A mountainous, forested, and chiefly pastoral region, Unterwalden is divided into the half cantons of Obwalden (1993 pop.
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. SchillerSchiller, Friedrich von,
1759–1805, German dramatist, poet, and historian, one of the greatest of German literary figures, b. Marbach, Württemberg. The poets of German romanticism were strongly influenced by Schiller, and he ranks as one of the founders of modern
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's popular drama Wilhelm Tell is based on the legend; RossiniRossini, Gioacchino Antonio
, 1792–1868, Italian operatic composer, one of the great masters of the Italian opera buffa. His parents were both musicians, and he began his career in childhood as a singer.
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's opera William Tell is based on Schiller's drama.
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The following article is from The Great Soviet Encyclopedia (1979). It might be outdated or ideologically biased.

Tell, William

 

a legendary Swiss folk hero. The Tell legend reflects the struggle of the Swiss people against the Hapsburgs in the 14th century. Tell was from the village of Bürglen in the canton of Uri. A skilled bowman, he was ordered by the Hapsburg governor, Gessler, to shoot an apple from his young son’s head. Tell successfully fulfilled this cruel requirement, but he later ambushed the governor in rocky terrain and killed him with an arrow. This was the signal for a popular uprising.

The authenticity of the Tell story was questioned by 19th-century historians, who used comparative data to prove that similar legends existed among other peoples. More recent studies have uncovered a kernel of historical truth in the story. The legend of Tell served as the basis for J. F. Schiller’s drama Wilhelm Tell (1804).

The Great Soviet Encyclopedia, 3rd Edition (1970-1979). © 2010 The Gale Group, Inc. All rights reserved.

Tell, William

Swiss folk hero condemned to shoot apple from atop son’s head. [Swiss Folklore: EB, IX: 872]
See: Apple

Tell, William

Swiss patriot refused to salute the Austrian governor’s cap. [Swiss Legend: Brewer Dictionary, 885]

Tell, William

shot apple off son’s head with arrow. [Swiss Legend: Brewer Dictionary, 1066; Ital. Opera: Rossini, William Tell]

Tell, William

ordered to shoot apple placed on son’s head for refusing to salute governor’s hat. [Ger. Lit.: William Tell; Ital. Opera: Rossini, William Tell; Westerman, 121–122]
Allusions—Cultural, Literary, Biblical, and Historical: A Thematic Dictionary. Copyright 2008 The Gale Group, Inc. All rights reserved.
References in periodicals archive ?
The conductor stressed William Tell's one and only aria, which comes at the end of the third act, is the key moment of the piece.
But most schoolboys thought that William Tell was at least as good as Robin Hood, with crossbows instead of longbows.
"This competition has left its roots as an air intercept event to become an air superiority event," said Lt Col Edward Nagler, William Tell director.
While William Tell highlighted air-to-air combat maneuvers, pilots couldn't launch without support crews.
International Tire & Rubber Association, Regional Commercial Tire Service Technician Training & Certification Seminar, William Tell Holiday Inn, Countryside (Chicago), IL, ITRA (800) 426-8835 - February 20-21.
William Tell Verse drama in five acts by German dramatist Schiller, Friedrich von, published and produced in 1804 as Wilhelm Tell.
(or William Tell) The legendary national hero of Switzerland.
I HAVE just finished watching an episode of The Adventures of William Tell starring the late Conrad Phillips as the man with the crossbow trying to save Switzerland from invasion from near neighbours Austria.
HORSES are to gallop around a racecourse as the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra belts out the William Tell Overture.
Its programme will include Mendelssohn's Symphony No 3 (the Scottish Symphony) and Rossini's William Tell Overture.
Youthful compositions by Mendelssohn and Bizet as well as Rossini's William Tell Overture - and all that went on concerning the subject's son.
Guilt and regret were the impetus of his art, especially guilt over the accidental killing of his wife in what's usually described as a "drunken William Tell experiment." A later source of grief was the death of his son, Billy, who drank himself to death following a liver transplant.