Johann Christoph Friedrich von Schiller was born in Marbach, Württemberg, of Lutheran parents. His father, Johannes Kaspar Schiller, was an officer and surgeon.
He was ordered by The Duke Karl Eugen (Charles II) to attend the military academy instead of studying theology. The strict discipline, only strengthened his longing for freedom. Schiller studied first law and entered then the newly created medical department, but was dismissed from the academy in 1780 after writing a controversial essay on religion, On Relation Between Man's Animal and Spiritual Nature. At 21 he was then forced to join his father's regiment.
Schiller though continued to write despite opposition from his father.
His first drama, Die Rauber, (The Robbers) published in 1781, about a noble outlaw, Karl Moor, who has rejected the values of his father gained immediate success among young students.
Pressured by the Duke for his 'Sturm und Drang' writings, he fled to Württemberg. In 1783 he was given a post of theater-poet at the Mannheim theater, but he lost it in 1784.
The theme of the conflict between a father and son continued in Don Carlos(1787). The story was about the eldest son of Philip II of Spain, who is torn between love and court intrigues. He was inspired by Charlotte von Kalb, a married woman,who was portrayed in Don Carlos as Elizabeth of Valois.
Through Goethe's influence, he was appointed professor of history at Jena. During 1787 and 1792 he wrote on historical subjects, among others the history of the Thirty Years War (1791-93).
In 1790 he married Charlotte von Lengefeldt
Schiller was forced to give up in 1791 his professional duties because of pneumonia and pleurisy. He continued to write and in the 1790s Schiller wrote philosophical poems and studies about philosophy and aesthetics under the influence of Kant.
Horrified by the aftermath of the French Revolution he rejected Among a homage offered to him by the Jacobines and emphasized the humanistic, preserving forces of art.
He assisted Goethe in Weimar in the direction of the Court Theater by adapting many plays for that stage. Schiller died on May 9, 1805, at the age of 46 in Weimar.
Schiller's best-known works is An Die Freude (Ode to Joy), later set to music by Ludwig van Beethoven in his Choral Symphony
The dramatic trilogy WALLENSTEIN Wallenstein(1796-99) depicted the tumultuous period of the Thirty Years War.
The historical drama Maria Stuart(1800) was about Queen Elizabet I of England and the last days of Mary Queen of Scots, when she was held captive in the Castle of Fothernghay.
In Wilhelm Tell (1803), about the Swiss hero of that name, Schiller paid tribute to freedom and the dignity of men living close to nature.