Die Frau Ohne Schatten, since its elements appear to be similar to those of fairy tales, but with a darker twist, implies the concept of penance, human corruption and agony. The characters symbolize several flaws of humanity that tend to have destructive consequences. The empress and the nurse for instance epitomized the corrupt tendencies of humans, particularly those seated in power as the latter parts of scene one’s act two showed the empress and the nurse display innovation and creativity in achieving their self-serving ends.
In addition, the troubled state of the empress while posing as a servant for the dyer’s family went to show that she refuses to give up the royal and glamorous life despite the importance of the consequences at stake. The dyer’s familial and economic conditions in the presentation meanwhile resembles the suffering and torment as experienced by humans especially the middle to lower class members of society.
The physical deformities of the three brothers, as well as the poverty stricken life of the dyer’s family reflect the brutal reality of human life. The dyer’s wife’s sudden attack of consciousness when hearing the lamentations of the unborn children however mirror fear in a general context simply because she fears responsibility over something she has not yet experienced and understood.
Likewise, humans also fear something they do not understand or have not yet experienced, a prime example of such fear is on the concept of death which often becomes the center of people’s misconception. In the third act it is the spiritual element which offers the solution, that souring into the regions of light and harmony, the succession of fairytale pictures, the intervention of the children’s voices, all these varying elements combined will not fail to engage the public, even supposing the music were to fall off (without a doubt it will not).
Nevertheless, one, on any account, should not be daunted, either by personal doubts (regardless if an individual, no matter how good his inspirations may be, always plunders himself or herself down in to the abyss of malcontentment), or even by the possible rash, all-too-spontaneous verdict of the wife. A direct comparison between what still remains to be done and what has already been successfully accomplished, in this case with the trio in Rosenkavalier, is invariably dangerous.
The comic opera’s situation is a sentimental one, while Die Frau ohne Schatten is heroic and spiritual, akin to the atmosphere of Fidelio or The Magic Flute. One lesson, as was seen, drew from textual accounts, namely that it is not the situation itself so much which compellingly operates upon the composer’s imagination, but the action wording of the libretto. Strauss’ entails in his July 28, 1916 letter that “Characters like the Emperor and Empress, and also the Nurse, can’t be filled with red corpuscles in the same way as a Marschallin, an Octavian, or an Ochs.
No matter how I rack my brain and I’m toiling really hard, sifting and sifting my heart’s only half in it, and once the head has to do the major part of the work you get a breath of academic chill ( what my wife very rightly calls ‘note-spinning’) which no bellows can ever kindly into a real fire. Well, I have now sketched out the whole end of the opera and it’s got verve and a great upword sweep but my wife finds it cold and misses the heart-touching flame-kindling melodic texture of the Rosenkavalier trio. I’m willing to believe her, and I keep probing and searching but believe me does not go to music like”. Strauss 28. 7. 1916 pp. 258). Orchestra in Die Frau ohne Schatten was primarily used for dramatic purposes, to emphasize more emotion (Corse, 112).
Strauss also utilized orchestration for the sake of character build (Corse, 112), considering that Die Frau ohne Schatten has five main characters, the absence of orchestration may cause confusion on the part of the audience specifically on distinguishing the main characters and their respective representations, such as the case of the the dyer’s wife and the empress who both sing in the high dramatic soprano voice range..