At the turn of the 1880s and 1890s Schikaneder used several times the tragic motif of a young girl's wrecked life. He may have been indirectly influenced in the choice of such motifs by the English Pre-Raphaelites, especially by John Everett Millais. In line with contemporaneous prose, Schikaneder turned most of these scenes into confrontations of poverty and a lust for life. The culmination is this Murder in the house, describing the tragic fate of a woman in a miserable tenament. By painting this story from the lowest social strata on a canvas more than two metres high and three metres long, he gave it the significance of history paintings, considered as works of general importance for society as such.