By Georg Büchner, Eric Bentley

10,023 ratings - 3.31* vote

Drama / Characters: 14 male, 4 femaleSacrificed to powers larger than himself, Woyzeck is one of drama's first anti-heroes. He serves a German captain and makes money by allowing a doctor to experiment on him, but his deeper morality leads him to a tragic end. Drama / Characters: 14 male, 4 femaleSacrificed to powers larger than himself, Woyzeck is one of drama's first anti-heroes. He serves a German captain and makes money by allowing a doctor to experiment on him, but his deeper

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Book details

Kindle Edition, 64 pages
November 1st 2012 by Samuel French, Inc.

(first published 1879)

Original Title
3150180074 (ISBN13: 9783150180075)
Edition Language

Community Reviews


One tends not to like what highschool teachers have to teach.

However, when I read Woyzeck (and watched the haunting film too) in school, I knew that this was something out of the ordinary, like an honest review of the casual cruelty that people in power indulge in until the cruelty explodes in the face of stunned society, pretending they didn't see it coming because they didn't care to develop empathy while there was still time.

Wind up a human being long enough, and something painful will happen!


Woyzeck is a play that is harsh, often vicious and like most of Georg Büchner's opus, much ahead of its time. Not all that difficult to read and understand if one's level of German is above basic intermediate, Woyzeck tugs at all emotions and provides ample food for thought, reflection and discussion. Highly recommended, and as an adjunct, I also suggest watching the film version of Woyzeck, starring the late, great Klaus Kinski (who for me absolutely epitomises the character of Woyzeck, of a soldier abused and taunted mercilessly until he completely loses his reason, turning violent and deadly against society, against his nearest and dearest). And in fact, in many ways, Georg Büchner has described with and in the character of Woyzeck, a haunted soldier suffering from what can and should now be described as Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD).


What was that? That was awful...

John Hatley

It is a genuine pity that Büchner was unable to complete this play. The fragment that was published after his untimely death at the age of 23, demonstrates his superior skills as a dramatist. It is based on an historical event. In a fit of jealousy, Woyzeck murders his lover. The historical figure was condemned to death and executed.
Several authors completed Büchner's original fragment and Woyzeck has become one of the more frequently performed plays in German theatres.


Oh my God, German, why you gotta be so friggin' difficult? I wanted to cry so many times reading this.
First modern drama. Catalyst for German Naturalist movement. Psychological realism. Man is free, but society is corrupted and immoral and fucked up, so we're all fucked up. Stab that bitch dead. Suffering is pointless but inevitable. Oh, life is just bullshit, isn't it?

I admired this play for its brevity (Bücher died before he finished it, but still) and yet its ability to mean so much.


It felt wrong to give less than three stars; I cannot pin down why, exactly. Perhaps because it’s so very intriguing, because it was made to be acted out, because the artist’s eye roves the pages and sees so much potential— strange, this book. So little words, a tangled mess, yet so full.



Katriina ❆

Admittedly, the only reason I read this book was that I really want to see the movie adaption with Klaus Kinski, who is known for his talent to 'play' madmen (not gonna lay, he seemed fairly mad himself), and for that, I decided to give Georg Büchner a second chance.
Georg Bücher and I certainly didn't get along when I read Danton's Death for school two years ago; to be quite honest, I hated it to the bone. And probably even more.
Now, Woyzeck is not exactly good either, but it's much better, much more comprehensible and a much faster read, and has an interesting topic. See, there's Woyzeck, a poor soldier who lives on a diet of nothing but peas - and suffers from hearing voices. Poor Woyzeck, who is already suffering enough, eventually finds out that his girlfriend is cheating on him - and ends up killing her.
The writing is nothing special, much less woefully poetic than the one in Danton's Death and neither incomprehensible nor anything special - so, quite alright.
The book was ridiculously short and quite hard to rate anyway, at it's a play. I didn't really like it but I'm still looking forward to the movie with Klaus Kinski.


Woyzeck as a victim of society. If you loved this book as much as I did, Werner Herzog's film adaptation starring Klaus Kinski is a must see.