The Earthquake in Chile (c. s). By Heinrich von Kleist (). Born in Prussia, Kleist served in the Prussian army, spent time in one of Napoleon’s. The Earthquake in Chile by Heinrich Von Kleist is a German short story that is best known for its question of theodicy and whether there is. Complete summary of Heinrich von Kleist’s The Earthquake in Chile. eNotes plot summaries cover all the significant action of The Earthquake in Chile.

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Jeronimo and Josephe and their child go, together with Don Fernando, a courageous and principled man im has a small child whom Josephe is caring for. Review by Tony Miksanek — Published on February 4, Views Read Edit View history.

Moral Victories: The Curiously Relevant Prose of Heinrich von Kleist | Quarterly Conversation

Josephe, who is holding Don Fernando’s son Juan is grabbed by the crowd. The story begins with the lead character, Jeronimo Rugera, preparing to hang himself in prison in Santiago in It is understood that the reason people are in constant search for meaning has to do with search for their true selves.

No matter the locale, the main characters share similar profiles. Finding oneself, is finding meaning to life, and without meaning the purpose of living is often questionable. Earhtquake afternoon, a service is to be held at the lone surviving church in Santiago and the party, aside from Donna Elvira and her father Don Pedro, decides to attend.

Moral Victories: The Curiously Relevant Prose of Heinrich von Kleist

Jeronimo and Josephe continued their relationship and were soon discovered by Josephe’s brother. All of which is little comfort; but it does not mean that life is meaningless or purposeless. The sermon compares the earthquake to God’s destruction of Sodom and Gomorrah and speaks specifically of Josephe and Jeronimo’s sin.


Predetermination, destiny, fate—call it what you like. It is a foregone conclusion that things will end badly for them. It is a religious holiday and in the middle of the pageantry of the holy festival, Josephe goes into labor on the steps of the cathedral.

Time and again the narrator obliges us to register the fact that societies, cultures, institutions, individual people tend to project their values and assumptions on to the divinity.

Das Erdbeben in Chili ; The Earthquake in Chilethen, demands to be read as a kind of parable that warns against the God-centred interpretation of the world. In the excellent afterword provided by translator Peter Wortsman, Heinrich von Kleist is described as an enigmatic author with a contradictory personality. And there is the child that needs his help.

Don Fernando defends the children with his sword but eventually his son, Juan, is torn from his grasp and bashed against a pillar. Josephe is sentenced to death by beheading. Moreover, it is crucial to note that the narrative voice both quotes, and on occasion seems to share in, the Kpeist interpretation.

Somehow Jeronimo, Josephe, and their child are not only freed but unharmed. Despite the tragedy that befalls most of these protagonists, good things sporadically ensue for other people.

If justice is even possible, then it appears to have little to do with laws. The Earthquake in Chile German: The crowd allows them to leave, and just as they think it’s safe to enter the courtyard, a man claims that he is Jeronimo’s kleisg and clubs Jeronimo over the head. Don Asteron sends Josephe to a convent, mleist she and Jeronimo continue their relationship, until one day Josephe gave birth on the steps of the cathedral.


Heretics by Leonardo Padura The shape of a crime novel is determined by the search for something absent. The town is scandalized. The earthquake does not mean anything; it is simply a random event.

Finding Meaning in Kliest’s “The Earthquake in Chile” | Jason Lieblang Arts One

The settings of these stories span continents and hemispheres: Early in this roughly 1,letter collection, Hugh Kenner makes a flat declaration A naval officer, Don Alonzo, identifies Don Fernando but hesitates when a cobbler asks about Josephe.

And the lovers, reunited with their child, almost see themselves as a reincarnation of the Holy Family: It is the only darthquake explanation that the earthquake is just a random natural event that can occur in many parts of the world and at random times, and that god has simply nothing to do with it.

Yet it is important to recognize that any such reading of the story runs the risk of turning it into a cautionary tale.

As the procession marched towards the execution site, Jeronimo prepares to hang himself.