John argues that shifting the focus from the text to the efficacy of performance requires broadening our concept of performance beyond what occurs on stage and its critical reception to include the daily life of the society that provides its context. It follows from this semiotic approach that there can be no fixed text or understanding of Egmont or of Goethe himself - only multiple images. John's exploration of image includes literary motifs, acting, staging, and social role playing, with particular reference to Goethe's development as an artist and cultural icon. In addition to presenting a comprehensive analysis of the play and a discussion of Egmont's reception from its first appearance to the present (including productions on both stage and screen), John provides an in-depth performance analysis based on the theories of Alter, Burns, Carson, Fischer-Lichte, Goffman, Pavis, and Schechner. The book includes the complete Mannheim manuscript (M372), critically edited and published as a performance text for the first time.