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The Mountain Wreath (Montenegrin and Serbian: Горски вијенац or Gorski vijenac), in original orthography: Горскıй вıенацъ, Romanian: "Cununa munţilor") is a poem and play, a masterpiece of Serbianmarker and Montenegrinmarker literature, written by Montenegrinmarker Prince-Bishop and poet Petar II Petrović-Njegoš.

Njegoš published The Mountain Wreath, in 1847. It is a modern epic written in verse as a play, thus combining three of the major modes of literary expression.

Themes

The play is based on a historical event in Montenegro that took place toward the end of the 17th century, known as "The Examination of the Muslim Converts." (Истрага Потурица or Istraga Poturica). Although the historical facts about this event are somewhat uncertain, it is known that at approximately that time Montenegrins attempted to solve radically the problem of many of their brethren who had agreed to being converted to Islam.Montenegrins is just geographicly addject, that are Serbs who live in Montenegro. The fact that Njegoš used this event only as a general framework, however, without bothering about the exact historical data, underscores his concern with an issue that had preoccupied him throughout his entire life and which was in line with Romantic thought: the struggle against Ottoman domination. He subjects the entire plot and all characters to this central idea.

The themes presented in The Mountain Wreath lend the work dimensions that go far beyond its local limitations. The basic theme is the struggle for freedom, justice, and dignity. The characters are fighting to correct a local flaw in their society - the presence of Muslim converts - but they are at the same time involved in a struggle between good and evil, which is found everywhere in nature. Thus, while depicting the local problem Njegoš points at the ideals that should concern all mankind. He expresses a firm belief in man and in his basic goodness and integrity. He also shows that man must forever fight for his rights and for whatever he attains, for nothing comes by chance. Apart from these universal concerns, Njegoš presents the centuries-old struggle of his people for the ideals just mentioned. In elevating their struggle to a universal level Njegoš seems to find both justification and reward for their efforts. It should also be pointed out that much of the action and many characters in The Mountain Wreath point at similarities with Njegoš and his own time. By connecting the past with the present he gave vent to his own frustrations which were caused by the often insurmountable difficulties he had to endure in his attempts to create a better life for his people. It is safe to assume that many of the thoughts and words of Bishop Danilo and Abbot Stephen reflect Njegoš's own, and that the main plot of the play - the extermination of the converts - illuminates the one overriding ambition of his life - to free his people and enable them to live in peace and dignity.

The Mountain Wreath is not a play in the usual sense of the word. Divided into four scenes of unequal length, it has many subscenes which tend to weaken the unity of action. There is little direct action, moreover, most of it is related by characters, sometimes at great length. It is more of a Lesedrama and it is not performed often: even when it is, it is done with revisions. It cannot be said, however, that the play is totally devoid of dramatic quality: at times it is highly dramatic, even in the speeches relating the action. There is also a healthy dose of humor which enlivens an otherwise sombre and often tragic atmosphere.

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