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At the beginning of the story, an eccentric Krespel, an amateur violinist and councilor is shown building his eccentric house. Krespel has a daughter called Antonia, of whom no one knows the relationship between these two of them. Several hints are given on the relationship between Antonia and Krespel. It is some kind of an unusual relationship. The funeral of Antonia id described, though in the form of a discreet narrator. At the beginning of this story, the details of the life of Antonia are not disclosed; neither does the author disclose facts about her illness and the causes of her death. These are only disclosed near the end of the book.
This is a tale that expresses Hoffman’s passion for music and singers, as its theme bases strongly on music. This is how he gives the details of Antonia and her life. Krespel narrates about his marriage to an Italian opera singer; Angela, who was popular. Krespel loved music, and so had bought a violin, which he loved to play. Unfortunately, his Italian wife accidentally breaks his violin while playing it. This annoys Krespel, who then pushes her out through the window and later flees to Germany for fear that he might have harmed her. After living in Germany for some time, Krespel gets the information that his wife had given birth to a baby girl, named Antonia.
Krespel’s wife later dies abruptly in Italy, and Antonia comes to live with her father, Krespel. Antonia is also a talented musician, just like her father and mother. However, her father, Krespel, does not want her to practice her talent. He fears that if Antonia explored her music talent, she will be risking death, just like her mother, while trying to practice her singing talent. Krespel is portrayed as a quite unusual man who goes ahead to stop Antonia’s marriage to a young music composer in addition to forbidding her from singing. He acts in an overprotective manner, fearing that the young composer would influence Antonia to engage in music, against his wish, and the dangers he thinks are involved.
Krespel spends time with Antonia, undoing old violins, in an attempt to learn how these are structured and how they operate. Days later, Krespel goes to Cremona and buys a new violin there. He plays this violin to Antonia as she listens in fascination. She is thrilled by this, and thinks to herself that since she has been denied the opportunity to practice her singing talent, then the violin will be playing her role. She assumes that the violin had taken her place and was singing on her behalf. She finds a consolation in this and accepts the fact that she will never sing, due to her father’s restrictions. She makes up her mind to forget her dream of music, and live her life happily, like everybody else. She then is happy with her life from then henceforth.
One day, while Krespel sleeps, he has a strange dream. He dreams that he could hear Antonia singing, with the violin, in the company of her once fiancé, the young composer. This surprises him, and on waking up from the dream, he heads directly to Antonia’s bedroom. There, he finds her inside. She was lying on the sofa, eyes closed, with an angelic smile. She was dead.
This is an intriguing tale,
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