Newly Swissed Online Magazine

Stereotyping the Legend of Wilhelm Tell

Guglielmo Tell, the stubborn macho who refused to bow to Gessler’s hat on a pole in the middle of the piazza of Altdorf, Uri. Primissima!

But seriously, couldn’t he have thought of the consequences of refusing this simple act of compliance? Did he not understand the order because of Gessler’s thick Austrian accent? The villagers might have kindly translated it to him, but he probably gave a snarling laugh through his nose.

His great pride jeopardized his son’s life, at the mercy of his padre’s crossbow.

Wilhelm Tell - The Swiss German
Wilhelm Tell, the bearded huntsman with eagle eyes focused on an apple on top of his son Walter’s head. Unglaublich!

If he had been told about the punishment involving an apple shot, would he have bowed to Landvogt Gessler’s silly hut? I doubt that the outcome would have been any different. Poor Walterli!

But how can anyone hold an apple on their head under such traumatic pressure, surrounded by a horrified but yet excited crowd of familiar faces? Was his head as flat as a cutting board? Or did Walterli have fuzzy, bee-hived hair like a bird’s nest?

Nonetheless, I can imagine that he had eyes sharper than his father’s, and Matrix moves to get out of the arrow’s path and let it split the apple instead. Despite the redemption, Tell was arrested again to be executed because he was holding a second arrow – this one for Gessler! What a Held!

Guglielm Tell – The Swiss Romansh
Guglielm Tell, the great swimmer who escaped from the armed boat foundering in the stormy Lake Lucerne. Fitz bun!

Next, this ironman with tremendous stamina kept running in the mountains to Gessler’s castle for revenge.

At this point, I always picture Tell as Rambo, surviving and fighting alone with burning anger and a hand weapon, although Tell’s “first blood” will be Gessler’s…

Guillaume Tell – Le Suisse Romand
Guillaume Tell, the legendary rebel whose crossbow arrow sniped the life of Gessler. Viva la Liberté!

His personal revenge episode was embedded in the birth of Switzerland in 1291. His legend continues in the 1315 battle against Austria and his death while rescuing a drowning child in a river in 1354.

This makes me wonder how old he was when he aimed his heavy crossbow at his own son.


Mamiko truly loves to discover Switzerland through the Newly Swissed "frame" with her Japanese eyes for details and a spark of American curiosity. She wants to connect Newly Swissed with businesses and organizations in Switzerland and expand the network.

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