Ayn Rand counted Friedrich Schiller among the greatest playwrights of the Romantic school. Leonard Peikoff’s analysis of Don Carlos — penned by Schiller at the height of the German Enlightenment — includes such issues as: the myth and reality of the historical Don Carlos; the difficulty of stating the plot-theme in a long, complex play with not one, but two love triangles — and the striking nature of the second triangle; the brilliance of the Grand Inquisitor scene, which Peikoff calls “the greatest, most dramatic, most philosophical scene” in all theater; and Schiller’s attempt to uphold reason and freedom . . . and altruism.

Spoiler alert: The lesson assumes students have read the play.

Recommended translation: Walter Hinderer (ed.), Friedrich Schiller: Plays: “Intrigue and Love” and “Don Carlos.” German Library. Bloomsbury, 1983.