Gustav Emil Devrient

* 03.09.1803 in Berlin; ✝ 07.08.1872 in Dresden




Following in the footsteps of his elder brothers Eduard and Karl August Devrient, Emil Devrient was drawn to the stage in his early years, and in 1821 began a theatrical career in Brunswick.  After various engagements he found employment with the Court Theatre in Dresden, where he remained until 1868.

Devrient was a famous interpreter of heroic roles, which led to the well-known rivalry between himself and Dawison in Dresden – which was at the same time a rivalry between the ‘classical’ acting style for which Devrient was renowned, and the more dynamic interpretations favoured by Dawison. Devrient was best known for his classical roles, in particular the protagonists of tragic plays, including a good number of Shakespeare’s. Appearing with great regularity as a guest star both within Germany and outside it, he can be seen as a typical representative of the 19th century preoccupation with artistic virtuosity.

Shakespeare Roles


Secondary Literature

Album pages with this person

Citation and Licence

Devrient, Gustav Emil, in: The Digital Shakespeare Memorial Album. Edited by Christa Jansohn. URI: (Accessed on 26.09.2023)

This text is published under the following licence: CC BY-ND 3.0 DE. Digitzed media reproduced with the permission of the library of Birmingham.

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