The Author

Dr. Azher Suleiman is an assistant professor of English Literature, University of Mosul, College of Arts, Department of English. He has been teaching English Literature and Modern Drama for more than 25 years. Books published by the author: Ø Macbeth a translation from English into Arabic. Ø Henrik Ibsen: The Father of Modern Drama Ø George Bernard Shaw Ø Bertolt Brecht

PDF created with pdfFactory Pro trial version

Bertolt Brecht
Azher Suleiman, Ph.D


PDF created with pdfFactory Pro trial version

This publication is a creative work fully protected by all applicable copyright laws, as well as by misappropriation, trade secret, unfair competition, and other applicable laws. All rights reserved. No part of this publication may be reproduced, stored in a retrieval system, or transmitted in any form or by any means, electronic, mechanical, photocopying, recording, or otherwise, without the prior permission of the author.

All rights to this publication will be vigorously defended. copyright© 2011 by Dr. Azher Suleiman

Mena for printing & publishing – Baghdad


PDF created with pdfFactory Pro trial version

Bertolt Brecht
For the villainy of the world is great, and a man has to run his legs off to keep them from being stolen out from underneath him. (Bertolt Brecht, The Threepenny Opera , Act I Scene 3)

Socio-political Background to Bertolt Brecht’s Dramatic Works: Hegemony and Consent

A full understanding of Bertolt Brecht’s dramatic background needs to look at the
socio-political context in which he was writing such as the structure of the state, and the class struggle. Hitler’s totalitarian dictatorship imposed complete control over Germany during 1933-1945, which had an enormous effect on the arts, education, religion and politics. Some intellectuals and artists recognized that the Nazi regime was repressive, and that it undermined the high standards of art, literature and science, but the work of those that held these views was highly censored, and was eventually banned. They were given a choice to emigrate or stay in Germany. But to stay in Germany meant that they had to yield to censorship and sacrifice their integrity. Brecht went into exile to Austria, Switzerland, Denmark, Finland, Sweden, England, then Russia and finally to the United States. Consequently, Brecht’s experience of exile and the cultural values of his time motivated him to create a theatre, which politicalized audiences and stimulated their consciousness through his dialectical influences. Brecht’s key debate was class equality, where the influence of Karl Marx, Louis Althusser and Antonio Gramsci’s theories were and still are evident in Brecht’s plays. Marxist philosopher L. Althusser states that law, education, police, government and the media are instruments of class control calling them Ideological State Apparatuses


PDF created with pdfFactory Pro trial version

and as a result workers become a tool of their own oppression. however Althusser suggests that by doing so we succumb to the capitalist regime.pdffactory. 5 PDF created with pdfFactory Pro trial version www. but that workers buy into the idea that they are of an inferior status to the established hierarchy. resulting in a consenting submissive society which readily accepts a capitalist ideology. According to the capitalist ideology. to succeed in society we must work for a living.” (Althusser: 1971. 127). He argues that these institutions govern society to accept a controlling ideology and behave the way governments want them to. so that they. For instance. He proposes that the workforce is not only engaged in an act of working to receive money. however without this extended knowledge one cannot better one’s present circumstances. He relates back to childhood and our experience of education. to write and to add […] which are directly useful in the different jobs in . but at any rate they learn to read. a reproduction of submission to the ruling ideology for the workers.(ISA). (Althusser: 1971. which represent the main façade of hegemony. and a reproduction of the ability to manipulate the ruling ideology correctly for the agents of exploitation and repression. consciousness is determined by social existence. For Althusser. “Why do children learn at school? They go varying distances on their studies. basic social skills such as reading and writing are deemed imperative in order to succeed in most capitalist societies. Not to have these skills is considered a form of degradation and thus the individual’s sense of consciousness is affected by the values of a capitalist society. too will provide for the dominant of the ruling class. 127-128) To extend one’s learning is a declaration that one is not knowledgeable enough.

explains that the success of the capitalist ideology is dependent on one part of society owning the means of production. allowing them to dictate how much pay the workers earn. Brecht argues that the capitalist system exists because forms of . Gramsci argues that the basis of hegemony is not a rigid set of rules. […] must acquire consciousness of their own existence and of their own strength. an Italian political theorist. because the hegemony of the upper class lasts as long as it is able to ensure the cohesion of the system of alliances on which its rule is exercised. Gramsci called this theory. ‘hegemony and consent’. “The subordinate classes. education and the law attempt to hide the exploitation of the working class that is inherent in capitalism. therefore. exposes these forms of exploitation to encourage the spectator to question society’s conventions. He believed fascism was a 6 PDF created with pdfFactory Pro trial version www. 32) Consequently. this however would require sacrifice in order to gain long term rewards. and to enlarge it to include the other classes. Therefore. thus satisfying in one way or another their moral and material interests. then the working class consents to this regime.” (Gramsci: 1970.Antonio Gramsci. Influenced by Gramsci and Althusser’s ideas. and he uses an unconventional aesthetic style to do this. Brecht’s theatre. 73) Brecht was convinced that Capitalism was inherently a belligerent form of economic and social organization based on internal class warfare between the exploiters and the exploited and on external aggression towards competitors for markets or for sources of raw material or cheap labor. (qt. Gramsci proposed that to overthrow capitalism the working class must work together to free themselves from their repressive situation. this repressive regime exists because the lower class consents to it.pdffactory. in Pellicani: 1981.

which has the opportunity for rational debate within it. there was a possibility to end class warfare. Terry Eagleton argues that Bertolt Brecht regards any attempt to define the literary work as ‘spontaneous whole’ which reconciles the capitalist contradictions between essence and . Therefore. “The task of theatre is not to ‘reflect’ a fixed reality. different. concrete and abstract. (Eagleton. they present a situation. 65) The Hegelian and Marxist prints are very obvious here in emphasizing the role of the dialectical struggle of the opposites to generate a synthesis. which is usually left for the spectators themselves to formulate. he used a dialectic theatre that intellectually engaged his audience through methods that echoed Marx’s theory. 60) Brecht was a committed Marxist (although famously never a member of the communist party) and believed that if Karl Marx’s philosophy and social theory could be communicated to an audience. namely that man and society should be re-examined in order to create an equal society. 7 PDF created with pdfFactory Pro trial version www. (Speirs: 2000. The issue of hegemony and consent in the Brechtian plays always provokes the audience to find a synthesis out of this dialectical struggle between the thesis and anti-thesis. Bertolt Brecht believed that whilst theatre provided entertainment for the spectator it should also engage the spectator’s reasoning rather than their feelings.symptom of Capitalism in crisis. Therefore. and so how they could have been. 2002.” (Eagleton: 2002. as a reactionary nostalgia. and encouraged workers to unite and rebel against a controlling capitalism. which is usually a ‘revolution’.pdffactory. but to demonstrate how character and action are historically produced. 8) Nevertheless. Brecht’s plays are vehicles for dialectics. individual and social whole. and still can be.

Peter Demetz. such as placards. The Threepenny Opera grew out of its young author’s experiences in Berlin during the Weimar Republic (1919–1933). and motivated to take action against an unjust society and to awaken them to social responsibility. intellectually stimulated. Brecht had begun to visualize a new theatrical system that would serve his political and artistic sensibility. He rejected the conventions of stage realism and Aristotelian drama.” (Demetz: 1962. but rather to be shocked. discordant music and lighting.pdffactory. and disconnected episodes to frustrate the viewer’s expectations for simple entertainment. and 8 PDF created with pdfFactory Pro trial version www.The Threepenny Opera: The Ballad Opera and the Socio-political Criticism and Change Bertolt Brecht’s aggressive political idealism and determination in using art to pose challenging questions about the conflicts between society and morality generated intense controversy throughout his lifetime. Brecht did not want his audience to feel. asides to the audience. when Germany struggled to establish a parliamentary democracy in the face of economic devastation. He saw the stage as an ideological forum for leftist causes and wanted to create theater that depicted human experience with the brutality and intensity of a boxing match. Many critics regard The Threepenny Opera (1928) as an early example of his “epic theatre.” and as a point of departure in Brecht’s dramatic techniques which from then onward underlie all his works. by his late twenties. for instance. projected images. considers this play as “a first form of the epic theatre. which offer empathetic identification with a hero and emotional catharsis. 10) The play consists of theatrical innovations designed to sharpen the spectator’s critical ability and to shake him out of his complacency and expect more from the theater than . Epic theater uses “alienating” devices. Ideologically. notorious decadence. Technically.

1900 – April 3.bitter military defeat. and The Threepenny Opera was born. 9 PDF created with pdfFactory Pro trial version www. composer Kurt Weill and poet-playwright Bertolt Brecht. often criminal. Horrified by the poverty and mounting violence. Brecht took The Beggar’s Opera by eighteenth-century English satirist John Gay and re-imagined it through the lens of his emerging dramatic theories.pdffactory. He also wrote a number of works for the concert hall. John Gay’s The Beggar’s Opera The term ‘ballad opera’ is used to refer to a genre of English stage entertainment originating in the 18th century and continuing to develop in the following century and later. He was a leading composer for the stage. 467-468) It consists of racy and often satirical spoken (English) dialogue. More than ten million Germans were without any source of income. interspersed with songs that are deliberately kept very short (mostly a single short stanza and refrain) to minimize disruptions to the flow of the story.” (Lubbock: 1962. Furthermore. composer active from the 1920s until his death. was a . 1950). and in his later years American. The play satirizes class differences and moral hypocrisy in society as inevitable products of the political system. The Threepenny Opera proclaims itself “an opera for beggars. The earliest ballad opera has been called an “eighteenth-century protest against the Italian conquest of the London operatic scene. Kurt Weill* was asked to compose the score. which involves lower class. and crime proliferated as citizens were reduced to begging on the street.” and it was in fact an attempt both to satirize traditional opera and operetta and to create a new kind of musical theater based on the theories of two young German artists. * Kurt Julian Weill (March 2.

These low-lives * The Beggar’s Opera is a ballad opera in three acts written in 1728 by John Gay. opera arias. Brecht and his collaborator Elizabeth Hauptmann thoroughly reworked Gay’s script and transferred the action to London in the 1920s.pdffactory. The harlots. The lyrics of the airs in the piece are set to popular broadsheet ballads. It is a harsh satire that daringly strikes against class distinction and members of the royal court. burglars. and typically shows a suspension (or inversion) of the high moral values of the Italian opera of the period. poking accurate fun at the prevailing fashion in Italian opera as well as the social and political climate of the age is concerned.” of which it remains the only really notable example. 15) Brecht adapted The Threepenny Opera from The Beggar’s Opera* (1728).com . a brilliant and popular social satire written by British poet and dramatist John Gay (18651732) (reportedly with the encouragement or assistance of Jonathan Swift and Alexander Pope). The basis for The Beggar’s Opera is that the thieves and other low social people that inhabit Newgate prison are the same as to be found in the government. and cutthroats are more important than the national governors.’ Gay’s The Beggar’s Opera is a comic farce. 10 PDF created with pdfFactory Pro trial version www. who wrote the score for the unusual ‘opera. the “ballad opera. It is one of the watershed plays in Augustan drama and is the only example of the once thriving genre of satirical ballad opera to remain popular today.characters. Gay cuts the standard five acts to three. The play was a theatrical success and became the most popular play of that century. It established a new genre. and tightly controls the dialogue and plot so that there are delightful surprises in each scene. (Wainwright: 2004. The original production used innovative theatre techniques and relied heavily on the musical genius of Kurt Weill. Ballad operas were satiric musical plays that used some of the conventions of. church hymns and folk tunes of the time. though its popularity led to the work Sheridan and eventually Gilbert and Sullivan. but without recitative.

for Peachum is a “fence” of stolen goods who occasionally informs on his patrons for the reward.* This satirical element meant that many of plays risked censorship and banning. It also pokes fun at the judicial system of the period. the spectators still believe his love for her is true. His objection is for purely business reasons. He is polite to the people he mugs and steers away from violence. The opening prologue is a dialogue between The Player and The Beggar. The leading character of The Beggar’s Opera is the swashbuckler called Macheath.” (Scene III. the character Peachum was a lampoon of Sir Robert Walpole. He says “I must have women” since "I love the sex.have the manners of proper English lords and ladies. was a British statesman who is generally regarded as having been the first Prime Minister of Great Britain. (1676 –1745). (Encyclopedia Wikipedia) * 11 PDF created with pdfFactory Pro trial version www. He fears both the loss of Polly Robert Walpole. and gain power in much the same ways. They make humor of the Italian opera. Peachum is alarmed at the marriage between his daughter Polly and Macheath. Peachum sings a hymn about the dishonesty of everyone. 1st Earl of Orford. The death penalty was handed out for the theft of pennies from a person. The first scene takes place in Peachum’s establishment. 30) He is a paradoxical character that speaks King’s English and dresses . who is posing as the play’s author. He is a big womanizer. but prefers to live in the faith and company of cutthroats. for instance. Even though he cheats on the adorable Polly. but acts of murder and arson were mere misdemeanors. In John Gay’s The Beggar’s Opera. known before 1742 as Sir Robert Walpole. He is a smooth romantic with qualities of both a gentleman and a highwayman. There was a high crime rate at that time in English history.pdffactory. proving that human nature is a constant throughout the world.

29) Macheath’s goal is to trick Peachum into believing he has left the gang. the jailer. We have had a slight Difference. He states his problem with Peachum. but to no avail. Act II has Macheath and his men outside Newgate. You must continue to act under his Direction. both Lucy and Polly beg their father for his life. Macheath is led off to Old Bailey for a trial. but when his gang want to do Peachum in Macheath explains how he is a necessary evil and that “Business cannot go on without him. Any private dispute of mine shall be of no ill consequence to my Friends. Macheath however. 66) At 12 PDF created with pdfFactory Pro trial version www. for looser chains. for the moment we break loose from him. and 'till it is accommodated I shall be obliged to keep out of his way. but Macheath himself is tricked by eight ladies who call the constable and have him arrested.from his business. He is a Man who knows the World. As Macheath is brought back into custody.pdffactory.” Macheath continues by giving justifications for cooperation with Peachum. He and Peachum find Macheath’s hiding place and go to re-capture him. (Scene II. In jail he bribes Lockit. When Polly and Lucy come to visit he tells them to travel to the West Indies and have “a husband apiece. the daughter of the .”(Scene 14. is a lover of Lucy Lockit. In prison Macheath drinks wine and sings portions of nine songs. and of Macheath’s learning of any business secrets. The Third Act begins with Lockit discovering his daughter’s part in Macheath’s escape. our Gang is ruin'd. who he related to a pretty bartender bringing in money from drunkards. He promises her marriage in return for his escape and she agrees. and is a necessary Agent to us. Two of his gang come to pay respects and he instructs them to have Peachum and Locked hanged.

later. At this point the Beggar and the Player enter to argue whether Macheath dies or not. Bertolt Brecht’s The Threepenny Opera Gay’s satire was an ironic reversal of the royal government and the criminals of old England. Given the existence of this text. In November of 1927.this moment a jailer calls that four more wives have come to see him and a fellow gang member calls desperately for a hangman because at this moment Macheath will really need one. plus the fact that Hauptmann was the only person in the workshop to render such complex English into equally complex German. Brecht would work on the text and contribute songs primarily taken from other authors. Brecht’s main dramatic contribution resides in transforming Gay’s Macheath into his own Mackie Messier. which could easily be converted to fit the Bourgeoisie and Proletariat of the twentieth century. The play concludes with Macheath stating that he is legally married to Polly alone and there is a joyful dance. Elisabeth Hauptmann began to translate the English play to German for Brecht. The Beggar finally agrees and Macheath is released. Klaus Volker. The Player states that this would make the play a tragedy and operas have happy endings. The Beggar states that Macheath must be hanged for poetic justice. 13 PDF created with pdfFactory Pro trial version www. John Fuegi emphasizes Hauptmann’s imperative role in presenting this dramatic work to the public by . there can be little doubt that at least 80 percent of the fabric of the work that Felix Bloch Erben would soon globally market was hers. one of the most knowledgeable people in the world on the Brecht circle told me it was his view that “Elisabeth Hauptmann was responsible for as much as 80 or even 90 percent of the published text of The Threepenny Opera.pdffactory. also known as Mack the Knife. Both in a published article and in a recent interview with me.” Though.

Meanwhile. Everything has been stolen. but they decide to take on Macheath and destroy him. Polly goes with her father and watches as Brown agrees to arrest Macheath. Mr. Peachum makes the man pay him first and then shows the man the five states of human misery before giving the man a costume to wear. including the stable. 195-96) The Threepenny Opera opens in the beggar shop owned by Peachum. Soon the parson arrives and they sit down to eat. A young man comes in and asks for a job. She is hoping that the whores will turn in Macheath. Polly and Macheath have just broken into a stable where they are getting married. She then goes back to the stable where Mac is staying and tries to warn him. but instead of arresting them all he greets Macheath as an old friend. The rest of Mac’s gang arrives and they bring in wedding presents. Peachum has taken control of all the beggars in London and runs a shop that outfits the beggars and provides them with a location to beg in. Mac explains that he and Tiger Brown served together in the war and that he has paid Brown kickbacks on every job ever since. Polly returns home to find her parents furious with her for marrying Macheath. Mrs.though the lyrics of the song “Mack the Knife” are almost certainly wholly his. He does not 14 PDF created with pdfFactory Pro trial version . Polly provides them with some entertainment by singing a song. the fact remains that the text bought by Aufricht and later sold to Felix Bloch Erben was almost exclusively written by Elisabeth Hauptmann. After she is done Tiger Brown the Sheriff arrives. She tries to defend the marriage. Peachum tells his wife that he will go to Tiger Brown and make him arrest Macheath.pdffactory. Peachum agrees to go and bribe the whores whom Macheath goes to every week. Meanwhile. (Fuegi: 1995. After Brown leaves the men present Polly and Macheath a large bed to sleep in and then leave them alone.

but Polly is “legally” married to him and she has papers to prove it. Peachum approaches Low-Dive Jenny. He hands the business over to Polly and tells her what to do. Peachum then arrives and drags Polly away. happy to finally be alone with Mac again. Mrs. To complicate matters further. Soon thereafter his gang arrives and Mac informs them that Polly will be their boss while he goes away. Lucy indicates that she is pregnant and therefore has a better claim to Mac. Jenny takes Mac’s palm and reads it. They take him away. Peachum is standing there with the other police officers. who knocks the man down and jumps out the window. the other thieves applaud her and accept her leadership. Peachum. Matthew tries to challenge Polly's authority. One of Mac’s men is trying to convince the whores that Macheath would not be as foolish as to show up.believe her until she produces the charges that are being levied against him. Constable Smith enters and tries to arrest Mac. Mrs. Mac arrives and sits down. Polly arrives and also claims Mac as her . Mrs. Jenny soon sneaks out while Mac is talking with the whores and gets the police and Mrs. He thinks she means Polly. Mac is afraid that Tiger Brown will learn that he has been playing around with Brown’s daughter Lucy. hands him his hat and cane and leaves. She soon arrives and is horrified to see him in jail. However. When Constable Smith returns he tries to get the cane. Instead of being emotional. but she threatens to kill him if he opens his mouth again. Mac chooses to support Lucy instead of Polly because he is more afraid of Tiger Brown. Lucy. 15 PDF created with pdfFactory Pro trial version www. and convinces her to turn in Macheath should he be foolish enough to show up at the brothel. Both women argue. Mac focuses on his business. Meanwhile. Now in prison. warning him that a woman will betray him.pdffactory. Unfortunately for him. a prostitute.

Tiger Brown arrives only a few minutes later. The whores arrive. tells them that Mac is a far better man than any of them. He asks Brown point-blank how if would look if several hundred men were clubbed down on the day of the procession. Peachum lastly sends the beggars to the jail rather than that coronation. He sends one of his beggars to get the police. That night Peachum outfits his beggars with signs and clothes in an effort to ruin the coronation parade the next morning. Peachum also arrives and threatens to disrupt the coronation if Brown does not find Macheath and arrest him again immediately. Peachum refuses to pay them on the grounds that Mac escaped already.but Mac is faster than he is and manages to escape. It turns out that neither of them knows his whereabouts. and that he is now with another whore named Suky Tawdry. Polly goes to visit Lucy in an effort to find out where Mac is. Jenny. in a fit of rage. However. They soon hear a noise in the hallway and realize that Mac has been 16 PDF created with pdfFactory Pro trial version www.pdffactory. Peachum is elated by this information and promises to give the whores the reward money. and ask for their reward for turning in Macheath. Brown realizes that he is caught in a bind. Brown has decided that rather than arrest Macheath it would be far easier for him to arrest Peachum and all the beggars. Peachum then demands that Brown arrests Macheath and gives him the address where Macheath is staying. Peachum merely ignores Brown’s threats and points out that there are far more beggars than there are police. led by Jenny. causing Polly to laugh and state that Mac has stood them both up. Unable to arrest Peachum. Brown enters the cell and is relieved to see it . thereby preventing them from ruining the coronation. She then accidentally reveals that Mac had gone straight to her place and comforted her.

rearrested. Having failed to get the money. and has only an hour to live. He offers Smith one thousand pounds in cash if Smith will let him escape. Macheath is brought out of his cell and locked into a public cell. Peachum then stands up and gives the final speech. He is going to be hung at six in the morning. She has decided to pardon Macheath and to also elevate him to a hereditary knighthood. arguing that since this is an opera and not real life. Brown enters in the form of a mounted messenger and brings a special order from the Queen. outfitting. It is by no means just a translation of Gay’s play. they will save Macheath. Even the whores have showed up to watch him die. The London setting is replaced by Soho in Victorian England. The next morning. Mac rejoices his good luck while Peachum remarks that such a thing would never happen in real life. but Smith refuses to make any promises. Brecht took many liberties in The Threepenny . Smith refuses to help Macheath. Soon thereafter all of the characters return and stand next to the cage. Mrs. Mac asks Jake. Matthew and Polly for money. Scenes are added. Mac gives a last speech in which he claims all the small crooks are being pushed aside by corporate interests. the same day the coronation procession is set for. Peachum shows up with widow’s clothing and makes Polly change into it. and reporting on his beggars for the reward. taxing. He prays on people’s sympathies and quotes Biblical verses with ironic dark comedy. Peachum becomes a beggar king. such as a wedding scene between Mac and Polly set in a 17 PDF created with pdfFactory Pro trial version www. Jake and Matthew apologize for not getting the money in time and tell Mac that all the other crooks are stealing elsewhere. they say that it will be hard to get anything so early in the morning but leave promising to find something.

people thought of war as noble and honorable. Gay’s Macheath is presented in The Beggar’s Opera as a dashing romantic. new classes were rising to replace the aristocracy and peasantry. After the disastrous war. The adaptation by Bertolt Brecht was composed in the Weimar Period of post World War One Germany. cynical. Brecht’s version of the character bears little resemblance to Gay’s Macheath. Brecht’s Mackie is unmannerly. But most important is the changes that make Mack the Knife. One of the big changes was in the concept of a “hero” in plays and literature.pdffactory. a new understanding of the hero and heroism began to spring forth as far as the socio-political issues are concerned. The police chief Tiger Brown. Brecht’s Lockit. stops in to pay his respects.stable with stolen goods for the reception. an old army buddy of Mac’s. Starting with industrialism and ending with the war. Even though The Beggar’s Opera was over a century old. But World War One lasted for six long years. a Robin Hood type. and left a dirty scar across the earth between France and Germany that is still present to remind people today. this unusual play had everything the avant-garde looked . from six to eight weeks in length. destroyed a generation of European youth. The Threepenny opera was one of those great dramatic conversions into the avant-garde. Gay’s rapid change of scenes was similar to the montage effect that Brecht and others were trying to achieve in drama. Before the outbreak. The World War had harsh effects on society’s view of the arts and was the final that toppled the kingdoms of Europe. and a toughened 18 PDF created with pdfFactory Pro trial version www. in literature. including drama. New art movements called the avant-garde rose to address the new modern society. Wars had to this point been quick. a statement of national pride. These classes were the Bourgeoisie and the Proletariat. a gentleman pickpocket.

Brecht turns Mack into a scoundrel who kills eleven people. not like Gay’s dashing romantic hero. . 76) Furthermore. judge. 133) Brecht offers alternatives in life rather than Gay’s mocking characters that just make the viewer laugh 19 PDF created with pdfFactory Pro trial version www. and decide how things could and should be different where as Gay’s audience got too involved with the characters’ follies. Brecht allowed the audience to observe. Brecht states that. What’s a jimmy compared with a share certificate? What’s breaking into a bank compared with founding a bank? What’s murdering a man compared with employing a man? (Scene 9. In his notes to The Threepenny Opera. (Esslin: 1977. He praises efficiency. He has become thoroughly bourgeoisie. two women and two old men and rapes a young widow all in one song and he continues to be immortalized in this song.criminal. 92) Although he never enters the legitimate business world. he tells Polly that in a few weeks he will switch to banking because it is safer and more profitable. stocky man of about forty with a head like a radish. and even keeps books. Brecht presents him as “a short. 92) Brecht’s new style of theater allowed for the play to be more brutally harsh in its satirical attacks on the class than Gay’s play could achieve.” (Brecht: 1979.” (Brecht: 1979. He is a gangster who refers to himself as a “businessman”. seven children. “the bandit Macheath must be played as bourgeois phenomenon.pdffactory. He stated that the only difference between a gangster and a businessman is that the gangster “is not a coward. a bit bald but not lacking dignity. Thieves like himself are being edged out of the market by business and banks: We lower middle-class artisans who toil with our humble jimmies on small shopkeepers’ cash registers are being swallowed up by big corporations backed by the banks.” (Brecht: 1979. 92) Therefore.

though of course that only applies so long as he collapses outside their own front door. it would be bread. Brecht subtly criticizes the 20 PDF created with pdfFactory Pro trial version . It is not just coincidence that this sounds like Marxist theory. Scene Three. vii. In Brecht’s version. Now. they can’t bear to see it. But they can’t look on unmoved while a man is collapsing from hunger. after all. (III. Peachum is no longer just an underworld dealer of stolen goods. Brecht introduces one of the most ironic moments in the play by having Peachum fire a beggar for eating too much. His business is based upon the principle that hypocrisy is a marketing technique: I discovered that though the rich of this earth find no difficulty in creating misery. 59) Peachum thus reveals himself a player in the very system he seeks to exploit. they may be able to wax their floors with butter so that even the crumbs from their tables grow fat. have strong anti-capitalist views. Because they are weaklings and fools just like you. He did however. Morality has nothing to do with action.pdffactory. To emphasize this point he switched the goals of his characters to be food and money. but Brecht did not have a utopian view like communists in Russia. If there is a choice between morality and bread. he is a tight-fisted capitalist who has built an industry of begging and regulates his myriad panhandler and pickpocket employees in their various professional endeavors throughout the London streets. not power and like in Gay’s play. how can you become an out of work beggar except in a world where capitalism has taken over every aspect of society to such a degree that existence is no longer possible except within the their folly. but not immoral. They may have enough to eat till the end of their days. The reader or observer does a doubletake at this moment. Brecht wanted to make his characters amoral. In Act One.

the former is in charge of all of London’s beggars. it is a social issue. As usual Brecht avoids the crude propagandistic tactic of presenting an idealized opposition to capitalism. it is not an emotional conflict where Peachum is upset about losing Polly. (Brecht: 1979. The basic conflict in The Threepenny Opera is based on Peachum and Macheath. he simply exploits it.pdffactory. but from the point of view of one outside of the capitalist establishment. the synthesis that will be formulated in the modern spectator’s mind is definitely different from that dramatic presentation of Peachum in The Beggar’s Opera. Brecht affirms that “the character of Jonathan Peachum is not to be resumed in the stereotyped formula ‘miser’. rather he concentrates on arousing our indignation and inspires us to action by simply showing us a brutal world. Stealing Peachum’s daughter is thus a social insult. Thus. Consequently.excesses of capitalism by showing a world where even begging is a profession that has its own rules and ethics. an attack on Peachum’s status in the London underworld. 21 PDF created with pdfFactory Pro trial version www. who does not seek to change that society. Macheath opens with the statement: You gentlemen who think you have a mission To purge us of the seven deadly sins Should first sort out the basic food position Then start your preaching: that’s where it . He and Ginny Jenny share a duet commenting on the inherent problem with social moralizing separate from social equality. The theft of Polly will cause Peachum to openly declare war on Mac the Knife in an effort to regain his reputation. 91) otherwise this character will lose its implication as the sharpest critiques of bourgeois society. the latter is in charge of London’s thieves. Macheath makes a similar observation as to the hypocrisy of the commercially successful. Rather.

the beggars. the song tells the audience to sympathize with them. Instead of morally judging what Macheath. The line. Brecht is issuing a call to his audience to consider the actual circumstances of the characters instead of judging them abstractly. Brecht’s criticism of the bourgeois society of the Weimar Republic. By putting food before morals. the play brought theater to the people rather than to the elite society. but Brecht himself left it mostly in the original form. The issue is confused.You lot. and with the fact that it has had repeated successes in bourgeois theaters. Attempts have been made to update the play. It is one of the more difficult Brechtian plays to interpret. vi. It is an attack on the audience. Nevertheless. “Food is the first thing. remains one of the great plays today. so elegantly set in Victorian England’s . “The Ballad of Mac the Knife” became a popular jazz tune in the 1950s and the work has inspired numerous artists. through its display of the base elements of society. The problems stem from the fact that when Brecht wrote the play he was only beginning to explore Marxism and he did not yet identify with the class struggle. by the fact that Brecht’s notes were all written after the play and also after his adoption of a committed Marxist stance in 1929. the whores and the thieves are doing. however. (II. 55) The song that ends the act is one of the most famous.pdffactory. who preach restraint and watch your waist as well Should learn for all time how the world is run: However much you twist. It is hard to reconcile Brecht’s outspoken later Communism with the flippancies inherent in the production. serves as a basis for much of the action in this play. Morals follow on. Morals follow on”. 22 PDF created with pdfFactory Pro trial version www. whatever lies you tell Food is the first thing.

then. and corrupt officials. And Macheath has got a knife. One’s sympathy is with these people despite their open defiance of sexual proprieties. The ballad describes many of the things that Macheath.The Threepenny Opera is a commentary upon society from the vantage point of the underworld. and lovability of each of the characters. See the shark with teeth like razors. thieves. Bertolt Brecht describes people caught. An unseen thread of implied identity connects them to the world of light. known as Mac the Knife. has done. prostitutes and thieves are all enjoying a fair in Soho. and business. How. . Each character is handled so as to arouse an emphatic response and at no point does the sordidness or immorality overshadow the inherent humanity. They harshly mirror the weaknesses and limitations as well as the corrupt practices that typify people generally then and now. but Not in such an obvious place. 23 PDF created with pdfFactory Pro trial version www. but unlike a shark he keeps his weapons hidden. trapped. The people that move across the stage are murderers. which is sung while beggars. He is compared to a shark with sharp teeth. beggars.pdffactory. will be guilty of the evil they may commit? The prologue is the “Ballad of Mac the Knife”. and the conventions of justice. Mac the Knife always wears fancy “white kid gloves” in spite of the dreadful crimes he has committed. can honesty and decency be demanded from people who have nothing to eat? And who. prostitutes. marriage. and debased by life. One of the main questions posed by Bertolt Brecht in The Threepenny Opera is: how are goodness and love possible amid so much misery? Indeed. this and some similar moral and socio-political questions preoccupied Brecht throughout his life. All can read his open face. religious teachings. for example.

reported missing Like so many wealthy men: Mac the Knife acquired his cash box.See the shark. And Schmul Meier. Where is Alfred Gleet the cabman? Who can get that story clear? All the world may know the answer Just Macheath has no idea. God alone knows how or when. Jenny Towler turned up lately With a knife stuck through her breast While Macheath walks the Embankment Nonchalantly unimpressed. By the Thames’s turbid waters Men abruptly tumble down. how red his fins are As he slashes at his prey. See a man dodge round the corner… Mackie’s friends will understand. Is it plague or is it cholera? Or a sign Macheath’s in town? On a beautiful blue Sunday See a corpse stretched in the Strand.pdffactory. And the ghastly fire in SohoSeven children at a go- 24 PDF created with pdfFactory Pro trial version . Mac the Knife wears white kid gloves which Give the minimum away.

In the crowd stands Mac the Knife, but he Isn’t asked and doesn’t know. And the child-bride in her nightie Whose assailant’s still at large Violated in her slumbersMackie, how much did you charge? (Prologue, 3-4) The song indicates that Macheath is to blame for killing many men, stealing cash boxes, murdering a prostitute, setting a fire in Soho that killed seven children, and raping a young bride. At the end of the song the whores laugh and a man steps out of their group. As he walks away, Low-Dive Jenny cries out that that was Mac the Knife. The introduction of Mac the Knife immediately sets him up in paradoxical terms. He is represented as a shark with bloody fins and hidden teeth, but at the same time he is described in terms of “white kid gloves” in order to cover his bloody hands. These white gloves, signs of pure hands, serve as a symbol of bourgeois society. Brecht is essentially saying that Macheath covers his crimes by pretending to be bourgeois Alternatively, this can also be interpreted as implying that bourgeois society commits the crimes and then pretends that nothing ever happened. By transforming the stable into an excessively luxurious room, Brecht again is using bourgeois decoration to hide the murders and thefts. The use of furniture is paralleled by the gang in suits, a comic image since they do not have the right manners. Thus we again see bloody deeds and bloody people parading around as if they were common, normal members of the successful society. One may note that Macheath does not deny his crimes; instead, he acts as if nothing is wrong.


PDF created with pdfFactory Pro trial version

The fundamental theme that emerges is that business trancends love in this amoral, capitalist world. Love is made fun of by portraying it ironically. Normally a parent would be swayed by arguments of love, but Polly’s parents instead advocate divorce for her. When she continues claiming that she is really in love with Macheath, Mrs. Peachum blames the books that Polly used to read. Polly: Look. Is he particularly handsome? No. but he makes a living. He can support me. He is not only a first-class burglar but a far-sighed and experienced stick-up man as well. I’ve been into it, I can tell you the exact amount of his savings to date. A few successful ventures and we shall be able to retire to a little house in the country just like that Mr. Shakespeare father admires so much. Peachum: It’s quite simple. You’re married. What does a girl do when she’s married? Use your head. Well, she gets divorced, see. Is that so hard to figure out? Polly: I don’t know what you’re talking about. Mrs. Peachum: Divorce. Polly: But I love him. How can I think of divorce? Mrs. Peachum: Really, have you no shame? Polly: Mother, if you’ve ever been in love… Mrs. Peachum: In love! Those damn books you’ve been reading have turned your head. (I, iii, 30) This attitude converts “love” into a form of business deal; there is no point in marrying unless you gain something financially. Polly realizes this and tries to point out to her parents that Macheath is financially well off, however, since he is a competitor to her father, Peachum chooses instead to take this opportunity to ruin Macheath.


PDF created with pdfFactory Pro trial version

The reduction of love to mere business is furthered by Polly in her dream. She remarks that she dreamt about the moon, a symbol of her and Mac’s love. Oh, last night I had a dream. I was looking out the window and I heard laughter in the street, and when I looked out I saw our moon and the moon was all thin like a worn-down penny. (II, iv, 39) The moon is equated to a “worn-down penny.” This gives love two meanings and references, the first being that it equates love with capitalism. Second, love is compared to something old and not worth very much. This belief that love is worthless is held by all of the characters except for Polly who seems to the only character struggling to achieve worthwhile emotions. In Act Three, Scene Eight, the falseness of love and marriage is dealt with throughout the scene. Lucy, the Sheriff’s daughter, admits that she lied about being pregnant and shows Polly the cushion. “Oh, that’s magnificent! Is it a cushion? Oh, you really are a hypocritical strumpet!” (III, viii, 68) At the end, Mrs. Peachum has the gall to enter and make Polly dress as a widow before Macheath is even dead. Ha, Polly, so this is where I find you. You must change your things, your husband is being hanged. I’ve brought your widow’s weeds. [Polly changes into the widow’s dress.] You’ll be a lovely widow. But you’ll have to cheer up a little. (III, viii, 69) This brutal disruption of the sentimental interaction between Lucy and Polly serves again to make the audience feel less pity for Polly. The image of her as a sad, broken wife does not hold very long either; when Mac asks her for money in the last scene she is brilliantly evasive, implying that she has taken over his business and kept the money.


PDF created with pdfFactory Pro trial version

Another example of that business supercedes love, marriage and other sentimentalities is presented in the cell meeting between Brown and Mac. Brown visits Mac in the cell to settle up their business first. Mac even explicitly states, “The accounts, sir, if you please, the accounts. No sentimentality”. (III, viii, 73) When Brown agrees, Mac yells at him for only caring about money. Mac’s final speech is quite important. In the speech he accuses big business of doing exactly what he does, namely being a thief. The only difference is that the big companies do it with more money and legally. “What’s a jemmy compared with a share certificate? What’s breaking into a bank compared with founding a bank?” (III, viii, 76) Actually, this is what he was planning to do: Mac wanted Polly to take the money and set up a bank with it, thereby getting rid of his men and entering a more reliable business. Lucy brings up the issue of class for the first time in the play. She tells Polly “You should have stuck to your own class of people, dear Miss.” (III, viii, 67) Lucy is implying that Polly married outside of her own class. The question then is which direction did she marry, up or down? The answer is not obvious because her parents are actually in a similar profession to that of Macheath. However, Polly clearly interprets it as meaning that she married down. She elevates herself into the business class by stating, “I should have kept everything on a strict business footing.” (III, viii, 67) This line has another meaning, though. It serves to accuse the bourgeois class, i.e. the business class, of being unemotional and marrying only for money. The issue of class re-emerges when the Queen raises Mac to the hereditary peerage. By giving him a knighthood she elevates him into the highest class, the leisurely class of aristocracy with guaranteed income. This further undermines the issues of class


PDF created with pdfFactory Pro trial version

Brecht’s use of songs does not represent any attempt aiming at intensifying or heightening the conflict of the play. likewise a pension of ten thousand ponds. and raised to the hereditary peerage. such technique helps the audience to question attitudes and behaviour which have been taken as expected and natural. ix. at any arte. Brecht is trying to make people think about the play rather than feel emotions. To any bridal couples present. An examined reading of Bertolt Brecht’s songs makes one deduce that they are thematically linked to the action. Brecht’s final goal is that he wants the audience to leave his play with a logical desire to change society. to be his in usufruct until his death. The Brechtian songs always comment on the main action of the play. Mac manages to leapfrog the bourgeois society and lands comfortably in the aristocratic class. (III. Her Majesty bids me to convey her gracious good wishes. 79) The songs in Brecht’s plays deserve some discussion because they are as famous as the play itself. Therefore. Brown: I bring a special order from our beloved Queen to have Captain Macheath set at liberty forthwith [All cheers] as it’s the coronation. furthermore. It also serves as yet another sardonic commentary on Brecht’s own society which he saw rewarding people he considered to be criminals. By forcing the audience to not empathize with the characters. This objectification of character is requisite for the “work” of art: Aristotelian forms 29 PDF created with pdfFactory Pro trial version www. that these songs are forcibly injected as isolated parts into the structure of the play.present in the play. [Cheers] The castle of . it gives the spectators time to think of what has been said by other characters or by the singer himself since the tempo of the song is slower than that of the normal dialogue. Hence.pdffactory. rather it specifically intends to detach the spectator from suspense. when we argue that Brecht’s songs are designed in such a manner we do not mean.

pdffactory. all create the illusion of reality (in actuality. The songs are nonetheless bawdy. and a perception of heroism. you rat. an ideological construct). cabaret style works that invert the common perception of opera. Peachum sings a morning “hymn”. You think the Lord God’s just a joke? He’ll give you His Judgement on . Betray your own brother. 5) Brecht here tries to remind the spectators from the very beginning of the play that what they are watching is just a game not a slice of life. you rogue And sell your old woman.which induce empathy. he provides them with props and slogans and is paid a part of their daily “take”. I. and Mrs. can the destructive mechanisms of capitalist ideology be exposed and resisted. He laments the fact that humans are able to deaden their feelings. sympathy. Peachum sing a song under spotlight which has nothing to do with their real characters. Peachum runs an outfitting shop for beggars. awake! Get on with your sinful employment Show what a good crook you could make. basically a call for thieves and beggars to start their “sinful employment”. when they feel no personal kinship with the characters. You ramshackle Christian. but only when the audience is at a distance. The songs serve as social statements by combining high culture with low. (Act. This is evident in the first scene where Mr. they also are an attack on traditional Wagnerian opera. The Lord will cut short your enjoyment. it is a mere presentation of actors on a 30 PDF created with pdfFactory Pro trial version www. forcing him to constantly create new ways of arousing human sympathy.

the “golden years”. There was a time. and go and have a drink instead And when he paid up I’d address him: Sir Come any night you feel you fancy her. or the Romantic period playing a key role. That time’s long past. 44-45) Brecht attacks this naive view of the past by having Mac sing about his life with Jenny. ‘The Ballad of immoral earnings’ makes fun of bourgeois society by attacking its nostalgia. and she supplied the breast. with concepts such as the “golden ages”.stage in a theatre. Jenny also wishes for the past again even while telling us how Mac used to knock her down the 31 PDF created with pdfFactory Pro trial version www. Mac makes the couple seem idyllic even though if they live in a whorehouse. but what would I not give To see that whorehouse where we used to live? …………………………………………………………… But in the end we flushed it down the sewer. This is reflected in a great deal of literature. One of the main attributes of the middle class is a preference for an idealized past. I and she.pdffactory. one of many Brechtian preliminary attempts of initiating an epic drama and theatre. but what would I not give To see that whorehouse where we used to live? (II. and she looked after me – A way of life then. I’d got the brain. now very far a way When we set up together. In Act Two. And when a client came I’d slide out of our bed And treat him nice. if not quite the best. vi. This is. Scene . That could not last. I saw her right. which will reach its peak and maturity in the 1940’s. in fact.

he is theoretically in a position to appoint a new function for the theatre. Thus Brecht uses the two of them to combine elements of bourgeois nostalgia with lower class crudity. And perhaps through that rudimentary feeling of moral tolerance towards the poor. (Brecht: 1979. by representing them. The Threepenny Opera is concerned with bourgeois conceptions not only by content. It is a kind of report on life as any member of the audience would like to see it. 90) This means that Brecht is giving the bourgeois audience their fantasy of the criminal . he gives them a dose of harsh reality.stairs. The dancers will be the ones to face the rich spectators with their hypocritical behaviour. Brecht writes in his “Notes to The Threepenny Opera” that. Since at the same time. into a morally ambiguous hero. Brecht made some stylistic changes. however. Macheath. and creating the character of Sheriff Jackie Brown. emphasizing the parallels between Polly and Lucy Peachum. the ray of hope which shines in this opera’s chaotic 32 PDF created with pdfFactory Pro trial version www. Brecht exposes his understanding of death penalty in the play.pdffactory. demanding decorum today and abusing them tomorrow. at specific moments. he sees a good deal that he has no wish to see. 132) The Threepenny Opera places blame on the capitalist society for the criminal underworld that Gay presented merely in The Beggar’s Opera as a mirror-image satire of eighteenthcentury aristocracy. Brecht’s theater is intentionally extremely political. but. transforming the protagonist. since therefore he sees his wishes not merely fulfilled but also criticized (sees himself not as the subject but as the object). a former army buddy of Macheath’s who protects his friend’s criminal activity in exchange for a percentage of his spoils. but also through the manner in which it does so. (Esslin: 1977.

closing moments could be explained. (Act III. but also a great respect and compassion for every human creature. for it is cold. xiii) She asserts that he was eclectic and unabashed about borrowing from other cultural sources as part of his own creative genius. plagiarize. Brecht is not only expressing a profound feeling of compassion and mercy towards that poor criminal. already in this earliest of works. operetta. for this positive penal law seems inhuman to him. cabaret. Other critical views mix admiration and doubts of this Brechtian adaptation of the play. Thus. magnificently add modern significance. more directly still. As his admirers have it: to adapt. straight theatre. and. not one thing or the other. one of the stars of the original production (and wife of composer Kurt Weill). shamelessly appropriate – to borrow at will from the vanished greats like Marlowe and Shakespeare and 33 PDF created with pdfFactory Pro trial version www. or in his detractors’ eye: to . an unexpected pardon arrives. which moves the chorus to sing: Injustice should be spared from persecution: Soon it will freeze to death. For when it seems that the leader of the gangsters is going to be executed. re-create. Think of the blizzards and the black confusion Which in this vale of tears we must behold. outlandish American jazz. of the death penalty. however perverse he or she may seem. 79) Notice finally how. recollected about the play in the1940s. Lotte Lenya. Brecht is proposing a notable correction of the merciless machinery of justice. Lenya describes what was Brecht’s tendency. the victim of social injustice. reinterpret. “Respected Berlin theatre oracles slipped out to spread the word that Brecht and Weill proposed to insult the public with a ludicrous mishmash of opera.pdffactory.” (Lenya: 1960.

The Good Woman of Setzuan: Goodness vs Money. The play consists of an epilogue and ten fragmentary Acts. V) As such. and in so doing they created a new type of musical theatre. Gay’s original production had been laced with political satire itself. and between her own needs and those of her friends and neighbors. The various situations of the play deal with the idea of changing a world where goodness cannot exist by itself amidst money. love and practicality. * Der Gute Mensch Von Setzuan was first produced in Zurich. and to borrow from opera a dramatic form and adapt it so that it reached to a new audience. greed and power. To conclude.pdffactory. the basic problem that faces Shen Te is how to be good and rich and yet to live. Therefore. and even from his actual or near contemporaries like Kipling and Gorky and Klabund. social and political forces and that is one of the main themes of The Threepenny Opera. it was quite appropriate. 4 February 1943. After all. the borrowing of Gay’s story and characters was not only convenient. The story of the play is dramatized by Brecht from an old Chinese parable. between obligation and reality. greed and power. 34 PDF created with pdfFactory Pro trial version www. . all these dramatic modifications have been made to suit and serve two main purposes: the Brechtian ideological attitude of how human relations are affected or determined by economic. when the idea came to him to resurrect The Beggar’s Opera but in a satirical manner that would ultimately highlight Brecht’s socialist ideals. written during Brecht’s exile and set in Communist China. is a parable of a young woman torn among goodness. (Lenya: 1960.Villon. Greed and Power The Good Woman of Setzuan*.

and beggars who threaten to bankrupt . Shui Ta manages to drive the sponger away. As they enter Setzuan town. The next morning the three gods show their gratitude by giving her a thousand silver dollars.pdffactory.Three gods descend from heaven in search of good human beings on earth in order to justify the continuation of the world. which sets her up with a “petitbourgeois status. At the trial where the three gods act as judges. she disguises as a brutal males cousin. The three gods are delighted and relieved that the only good person is still alive. Shen Te’s long absence arouses suspicion. then. Shui Ta.”(Thomson and Sacks: 2002. She is now pregnant. as the male cousin Shui Ta that Shen Te is away on a journey. After their marriage. she starts a tobacco factory and then she becomes the king of tobacco. therefore she pretends. The selfish people of Setzuan refuse to offer a place for these three gods. Only the penniless prostitute Shen Te accepts to offer them a room. from suicide and she falls in love with him. the unemployed airman. But the situation is more complicated when Shen Te saves Yang Sun. the water seller. to find someone who can give them shelter for the night. But the confesses that she could only have survive by alternatively being the bad cousin Shi Ta. Shui Ta reveals that he is Shen Te in disguise. 121) Shen Te. In order to provide her future child with a good standard of living. Shen Te learns that Yang Sun is only after her money. buys a tobacco shop but she is immediately surrounded by parasites. Shui Ta is arrested and accused of imprisoning Shen Te. they ask Wong. Shui Ta employs Yang sun who becomes a foreman and begins to exploit the workers by making them work harder. would-be relations. Shen Te:I’m telling you I’m the bad man who committed all those crimes! 35 PDF created with pdfFactory Pro trial version www. To protect herself.

the * The name Shen Te. Shen Te’s kindness and generosity results in her nearly ruining her business and. Brecht believes that “evil is not an outside force. The play is ended and no resolution in the traditional sense is given. This powerful capitalist ugly face is the only means that can survive amidst greed and voracity.10. she’s a strong. 105) As Shen Te asked for their advice. As a result of her transforming into a man. The play explains that to be ‘good’ results in unconditional giving of labor. The generous Shen Te rains her small gifts on those around her. but the bad man too! First God: [as if something had dawned] Unfortunate coincidences! Heartless neighbours! Third God: [shouting in his ear] But how is she to continue? First God: Continue? Well. who tries to please her neighbours and friends. in Chinese. Shui Ta*. The name Shui Ta suggests the rushing waters of a flood . This is demonstrated through the character Shen Te. but one of human origin.pdffactory. they flew away.First God: [using – or failing to use – his ear trumpet] The good woman who did all those good deeds? Shen Te: Yes. but never receives anything in return. she must reinvent herself as her ruthless male capitalist cousin. Bertolt Brecht’s The Good Woman of Setzuan has been written as a response to the unjust treatment of the lower classes and as a result. 36 PDF created with pdfFactory Pro trial version www. connotes gentle rain. Shen Te is able to regain her status and rebuild a successful business. however this generosity does not give you any position in society. After the gods said those words to Shen Te. healthy girl… Second God: You didn’t hear what she said! First God: I heard every word! She is confused. in order to survive. that’s all! (Sc. the play attempts to bring the whole issue about social change. the gods told her not to disguise herself too often and to keep being the good woman of Setzuan.

as more and more people exploited her generosity. who has the potential to become capitalists. Brecht’s messages are overtly clear. for . Brecht not only highlights the lower classes’ constant struggle to improve their lives. Shen Te succumbs to the middle class. As Louis Althusser suggests. honest person who pays taxes and looks out for others. 118) This evil lurks in every corner of the play where money. the main dramatic conflict emerges from this socio-political situation. However.” (Abbotson: 2003. a capitalist regime. to be kind or not to be kind and to help people or not to help them. are two major powers that push Shen Te to have a decisive attitude to protect her money.same as goodness. The petit-bourgeois believed they are neither being exploited nor exploiting and therefore they consent to the system rather than taking a stand against it. Brecht’s audience is predominantly petit-bourgeois. Furthermore. greed and power are concerned. In order to succeed in society. she buys a shop that will ultimately exploit either the workers who work for her or the people who buy from her. she felt somewhat undervalued and not respected. he highlights that to break 37 PDF created with pdfFactory Pro trial version www. Shen Te consents to exploitation. Like the audience. Accordingly. it is up to humans to stem it. Brecht’s compelling argument highlights that a good. Her benevolent deeds did not win her others’ respects but invited more people trying to make use of her. The character Shen Te illustrates the simple step from working class status to capitalist status when her male cousin transforms the shop into a factory. She would rather be kind than be wicked. takes the shape of class struggle as far as money.pdffactory. Shen Te is split into the good exploited female and bad exploiting male. therefore. greed and power are interwoven to face goodness in any possible shape. but also questions the female’s inferiority. is likely to fail in a capitalist society. and. One of the major dramatic conflicts of the play.

And that’s not all: I sell myself for a living. beyond the stars. . is revolution. 26) In the Prologue. I’d like to honour my father and mother and speak nothing but the truth and not covet my neighbour’s house. In short. For example. as Marx suggests he or she must sacrifice their social situations and revolt against the regime. …but there’s the rent to pay. I should love to stay with one man. Its joy and its sorrow have refreshed and pained us. The gods might well represent the capitalists who offer small ways to help the poor. This little world has much engaged us.. Thus. First God: And now. there’s too much competition. Shen Te. The prologue establishes the basic dramatic question around which the entire play is organized.[He makes a sign and music is heard. to Brecht.. But how? (Prologue. Rosy light. the good woman 38 PDF created with pdfFactory Pro trial version www. 26) This suggestion will undergo a number of investigations and it will set the action itself in motion. one of the solutions to Shen Te’s inquiry how to be good is presented by the Third God who suggests that. the only solution.out of this unfair cycle his audience must stop consenting to the system and. for instance. the gods still proceed to exit on their cloud. but ultimately leave them to struggle after their interference. We shall gladly think of you. Shen Te tells the three gods that she wants to be good.] Let us return.pdffactory. the whole action of the play represents an answer to this inquiry. Up there. Even so I can’t make ends meet. despite Shen Te’s desperate plea for help at the end of the play. “Isn’t it true she might do better if she had more money?” (Prologue.

which reflect and comment on the action.107) Due to their more fortunate circumstances. carries a little lamp! Good-bye! Do it well! ( . were disinterested in the suffering of the lower classes. in cold darkness. Brecht may be highlighting that the spectator should not float away onto their ‘clouds’ and forget the important issues raised in the play. and visiting the luxurious opera houses. 10. the action of the play as a whole moves on three dimensions or levels in revealing its theme. to find a solution which Brecht 39 PDF created with pdfFactory Pro trial version www. as long as they were living in their comfortable homes. But at the same time the gods could represent the spectators. But in “Brecht’s view. the philosophical dimension which is obviously presented in the Prologue and in the several short scenes. First. and by challenging him. The spectators should think of an end of the capitalistic powers and of a way to change their world.” as Martin Esslin believes. they are happy to leave Shen Te to suffer. and sort out her own problems.Who bears witness to our spirit down below. who are distanced from the situation. Who.” (Esslin: 1977. “[the world] simply cannot be changed slowly and gradually: only violence can bring about really fundamental change. The third dimension is not seen in the text but is created by the reaction of the spectator. Second. in the Epilogue. they should engage in critical thought and take action. the dramatic dimension which emerges from Shen Te / Shui Ta’s encounters and involvements with other characters. Instead.pdffactory. 233) It is the role of the spectators to reach this synthesis through many theatrical and textual means used by the playwright. According to Claude Hill. which Brecht frequently stimulates by means of direct appeals and questions. Therefore. This may be a metaphor for the middle class who. and they are usually fall under the technique of Alienation Effect. by making the spectator an unseen judge in the last trail act.

hatred. to make the spectators conscious of what is going on stage. Shen Te mentally and physically suffers from her existential dichotomy that it is impossible both to have money and to be good and to continue living. It means that in such a world goodness cannot survive by itself. with her goodness. Shen Te the good woman finds that she needs a kind of power or protection. are judges on level two.pdffactory.” (Hill: 1975. Hence. Consequently. Therefore. to confront the egoism and the greed of our abnormal world. and we. Shen Te’s conflict then starts. judge level one and. she needs her ruthless cousin more and more often in order to reconcile her impulsive generosity with the interests of selfpreservation. level two judging level one. and hardship. She tells the audience. they. “The protagonists judge each other on level one. on level three. and ready to use his critical ability.* I want to go with the man I love I don’t want to count the cost I don’t want to consider if it’s wise I don’t want to know if he loves me I want to go with the man I love. egoism. at the same . She wants to be good. Her goodness is unable to drive the parasites away or to resist Yang Sun’s love although she discovers. 5a. 71) The only one who can confront all these problems is the ruthless male cousin. that is. in turn. but she cannot.deliberately withholds. as Shui Ta. 126-127) Obviously. 40 PDF created with pdfFactory Pro trial version www. that he is marrying her for her money. The conflict of * Directing the speech to the spectators by the actors is one of the Brechtian theatrical means to achieve Alienation Effect. the last word is left for the audience. (Sc. She wants to practice her altruistic impulse without the mask of her brutal male cousin but she finds this ambition impossible in a world of poverty. Shui Ta. Dialectically speaking.

Brecht sees the need for an analytical spectator who. in which the working class has to exist. whilst being entertained. This wealth incessantly brings more and more parasites to Shui Ta hoping of getting a share in her fortune. By this he questions the rightness of Christian principle. where everyone shares everything equally.” (Dickson: 1978. being a determined believer in Marxism. shows that. but. don’t illustrious ones! Don’t go away! don’t leave me! How can I face the good old couple who’ve lost their store and the water-seller with his stiff hand? And how can I defend myself from the barber who I do not love and from Sun whom I do love? 41 PDF created with pdfFactory Pro trial version www. her love story. we must live in a society without wealth. Finally. morals and beliefs do not work as a solution for such socio-political dilemma.the play. which considers Christianity the “opium of the people. according to . other ethics. As a result. which are indicated in her tendency to help people. In other words.” (Singer: 2000. “individual goodness is not only inadequate to deal with the evil in the world. are not resolved. He illustrates that a capitalist society will always corrupt and that abiding by repressive laws will ultimately lead to corruption also. suicidal. Dickson. As an alternative. 141) The wealth is the main reason of this socio-political conflict among the characters. we must live in an utopian communist society. in extreme cases. He clearly presents the unfair ideology. becomes a thinking human being and as a result of seeing a piece of theatre would want to bring about a change. the conflicts between Shen Te’s altruism and self-interests.pdffactory. She tells the three gods. the only synthesis the spectator may conclude out of this dialectical conflict is that: to exist in a society without corruption. and her desire to protect her unborn child from need. Brecht would ask that the world be changed so Shen Te can be offered a better option. Oh. A. 28) and unsuitable as a workable social system.

can also be applied to Shen Te: Unhappy is the land that needs goodness as a virtue. that man should strive for a society of the future in which simple goodness will be possible. will resolve all these contradictions. Shen Te destroys the old couple who lend her money and then need it repaid when the man falls ill. 124-125) Therefore. and the humanitarian response should be to seek better justice in the world and make crucial changes. In other words. who is worthless and insensible in return.” (Act 10. we have come to accommodate evil within the social system. He feels that it is only the mechanics of the capitalist society which restrict and pervert this goodness. ‘unhappy is the land that needs a hero’. the will of history. therefore. Shui Ta represents the paradoxical fact of our society: that to be good. “just be good and everything will turn out well. and at times having to sacrifice others to stay afloat herself. 122) They forced her to become part of a capitalist system in which she must constantly struggle to keep her head above water. not the will of gods. frequently resorting to the wicked practices of her alter . which is made by man.” (Hill: 1975. Brecht suggests. He believes that simple goodness is the natural state of man.pdffactory. 107) To all these worrisome conflicts and problems of Shen Te. Soon there’ll be a little son who’ll want to eat – I can’t stay here! (Act 10.And I am with child. that is in excess. Because of her love for Yang Sun. man must also be bad.”(Abbotson: 2003. But since Brecht believed in Marxism. “This allows us to question even her goodness. the First god answers in coolness. and wonder how much the gods might be to blame by sullying her with money in the first place. 107) Brecht seeks the Marxist synthesis of man rather than the Marxist synthesis of the gods. Brecht wishes us to recognize that when the good are so easily destroyed in this manner. maybe it 42 PDF created with pdfFactory Pro trial version www. “Galileo verdict.

No culture has ever been immune to it. himself a victim of war. by picking on the literal and metaphorical bones of those who fight (and die) in the name of causes labeled as religious or political. It is harder to define than war and it is more difficult to cultivate and maintain. and it emerged as one of the most significant artistic works inspired by that period in twentieth century history. allow readers a glimpse into the past.* If war is generally defined as armed conflict between two conflicting groups. for power – or purely for business? Where is the hole once the cheese has been eaten? There are those who use it to make their destiny. but they also contribute to how the modern world sees war and peace today. Not only do these stories.takes a new structure of society to change the economic environment and the plights of people. It is a damning portrait of materialism. then one would have to say that war has always been a part of human experience and is perhaps even a defining characteristic of human beings. peace is often * War fascinates humankind and has occurred throughout history. Brecht.pdffactory. The Premise of War and Its Ramifications in Mother Courage and her Children What are the purposes and consequences of war? Is it for religion. where commerce is equated with violence and opportunism makes a mockery of ideology. Many people have pointed out that peace presents special difficulties. wrote the play in direct response to the escalating conflict in Europe in 1938-39. 43 PDF created with pdfFactory Pro trial version www. Aside from being the absence of war. Despite differences in time and geography. and the stories and experiences of many cultures around the world combine to create a global view of war and peace. states. many of the sentiments expressed in world literature about war or peace closely echo similar thoughts in the contemporary world. In the war-torn world of the play. some passed down for centuries. War and peace tussle with each other throughout the pages of human . only the scavengers survive. or tribes.

** Manifesto of the Communist Party (German: Manifest der Kommunistischen Partei). A learned sense of justice cannot be acquired overnight. The Communist Manifesto** is. (Wikipedia) 44 PDF created with pdfFactory Pro trial version www. is the product of centuries of tolerant human experience gained throughout the history of a given society. The authors’ revolutionary ideas came from their observation that the workers were uniting and educating themselves to better their conditions. This class made its wealth from the misery of workers. rather than a prediction of communism's potential future forms. specifically from awareness that reliable. for the bulk of their lives. This placed workers in an explosive position. at its heart. Brecht’s attitude towards war is derived from Marxism. the bourgeoisie. Commissioned by the Communist League and written by communist theorists Karl Marx and Friedrich Engels. Marx and Engels were highly critical of the new wealthy class. was first published on February 21. the proletariat. and is one of the world's most influential political manuscripts. worked up to eighteen hours a day in factories and mines. Marx and Engels predicted a time when the bourgeoisie would become so corrupt that the workers would rise up against them in a great revolution that would destroy the bourgeoisie and result in a worker’s paradise. who. order. it laid out the League's purposes and program. 1848. Justice is the fruit of reflection on the way humans relate to one another in society. often referred to as The Communist Manifesto. a critique of the corrosive moral changes brought about by the rapid industrialization of Europe.understood to include the stable presence of law. Law. Social order follows from understanding. established patterns of behavior are useful to both individuals and societies. for example. and .pdffactory. suggesting that lasting peace could only be achieved by starting a war that would completely uproot and overturn European society. It presents an analytical approach to the class struggle (historical and present) and the problems of capitalism.

producing some of the worst totalitarian regimes of the twentieth century.pdffactory. possesses. into two great classes. new forms of struggle in place of the old ones. Seeing as how this was war so lengthy. Perhaps his inspiration for this play came about as he witnessed World War II unfolding across Europe. Marxism has permanently altered modern views of war and peace. the epoch of the bourgeoisie.Though Marx and Engels did not directly advocate violence. the 30 Years’ War migrated across Central Europe from the original rebellion in Bohemia to its conclusion in Westphalia. The political wheels in his head began to turn as he pieced this play together. (Marx: 1969. The modern bourgeois society that has sprouted from the ruins of feudal society has not done away with class antagonisms. new conditions of oppression. Even though The Communist Manifesto inspired change and revolt against oppression. It must have also left a lasting impression on Bertolt Brecht since he decided to set his play Mother Courage and Her Children during this conflict. Our . nearly 400 years after the event. it is no surprise that it has left such a lasting mark in history. their ideas. it also inspired oppression itself. this distinctive feature: it has simplified the class antagonisms: Society as a whole is more and more splitting up into two great hostile camps. political and economical 45 PDF created with pdfFactory Pro trial version www. known as Marxism. 7) This created the ideal of communism—in which each person worked as he or she could and received what he or she needed—which has only dissipated since the fall of the Berlin Wall and the end of the Soviet Union in 1989. spread throughout the world and inspired others to attack unjust and corrupt regimes by any means possible. Between the years of 1618 and 1648. He did not forget to illustrate the social. directly facing each other: Bourgeoisie and Proletariat. It has but established new classes. however.

Mother Courage and her Children (Mutter Courage Und Ihrekinder was first produced in Zurich Schauspielhaus. he tells the sergeant that his difficulty finding honest. talking in the freezing snow. as she sings her opening song. which is set during the Thirty Years’ War in the 17th century*. but loses all of her children in the attempt. In the play. the Swedes stand for the Protestantism. To the sound of a Jew’s harp. the term “socio-political” mainly refers to the dialectical interrelationship between politics and the social environment of the play. * The Thirty Years’ War (1618-1648) was part of the political upheaval that followed the Reformation which had divided Christian Europe into Protestant and Catholic states and killed off half of Germany’s population. Threatening . p. 46 PDF created with pdfFactory Pro trial version www. that war is the only way of creating order. a covered cart rolls onto the stage. It shows a mother who tries to profit from the war in order to help her family. See: Paul Harvey. 1967). 19 April 1941) is an anti-war socio-political play. The recruiting officer complains bitterly about the difficulties of recruiting an army. It is pulled by Mother Courage’s two sons. the social circumstances are governed. The play opens with a recruiting officer and an army sergeant standing together. Thus.ramifications that come about in a war. which later will turn the whole social life upside down and make its own system and laws. ed. her daughter.pdffactory. at length. and the Imperial forces represent Catholicism. Furthermore. This dialogue shows war’s effect on the little people. 815. Eilif and Swiss Cheese. The sergeant explains. The Oxford Companion to English Literature (London: Oxford: Oxford University Press. War is one of those political decisions taken by such authorities. willing men to recruit has led to the loss of his faith in humanity. regulated and directed by the political will and power of the authority. including the changing roles of women and children as well as the practice of religion. Mother Courage is sitting aloft with Kattrin.

1.Mother Courage. When Eilif seems keen to enlist. explains why she is called Courage (her real name is Anna Fierling): she once drove her cart through the bombardment of Riga in order to sell fifty molding loaves of bread. and she invites the sergeant to select . By the time she has pocketed her profits. He tells Eilif. her son is gone. He is shaken when he draws a black cross. but Mother Courage dryly comments that he is yet to reach seventy. An argument ensues between Mother Courage and the sergeant about the rights and wrongs of Eilif’s signing up for service in the war. however.pdffactory. Mother Courage immediately attempts to make a sale. the sergeant occupies Mother Courage while the recruiting officer leads Eilif off into the fields. Mother Courage reacts violently. having joined at seventeen. and Eilif is about to be taken from her under her nose. Mother Courage then draws black crosses (signifying death) on slips of paper. The sergeant points out that he has had a good life in the army. is more interested in her son than the belt buckle she tries to sell him. All of her children are to die in the war. Mother Courage marks up several more black crosses and has each of her children draw one. but in doing so she proves a prophet. making hoarse noises to warn her mother of what is going on behind the cart. pulling a knife and insisting that the soldiers keep away from her children. unable to produce a valid set of papers. And you can give me a smack in the kisser for insulting you. She obviously has rigged the slips of paper. (Sc. The recruiting officer. Ten gilders in advance and you’re soldier of the King and a stout fellow and the women will be mad about you. Now distracting her by haggling over a belt buckle. 19) Dumb Kattrin jumps from the cart. 47 PDF created with pdfFactory Pro trial version www. but Mother Courage is occupied with her trade and pays no heed.

Eilif repeats the same ‘heroic action’ by killing innocent peasants taking their cows a meat for his soldiers during a short interlude of peace. pours him expensive wine. astonished to hear her son’s voice again. her haggling over the price of the bribe costs him his life. Mother Courage. The Catholic sergeant says. She places the value of her business operation—her cart full of goods—above his life. on the other.pdffactory. there would be no need for heroism. When Swiss Cheese’s corpse is brought in. but he is now regarded as a war criminal and executed. she explains. When he is taken prisoner Courage can win his freedom by paying off his ransom. 3. absolutely delighted with Eilif’s heroic deed. to whom Mother Courage is attempting to sell a capon that she swindled from the peasants in the nearby village. comments that the General-being obsessed with the heroism of his troops-must be a very poor General. Courage’s second son.The slogan of scene two announces that two years have passed and that Mother Courage is about to meet her son Eilif again. Eilif successfully killed some peasants and stolen the oxen they attempted to hide from the General’s army. She does so not. but because he put himself in danger. In the kitchen we meet General’s cook. with the General and the Chaplain ominously laughing in the doorway. his mother—to save her own life—has to deny she even knows him. with on one side the General’s tent and. As paymaster of a Finnish regiment Swiss Cheese hides his cash box during a successful attack by Catholic . because he took the oxen. his kitchen. He’s got nobody knows him. if good battle strategies were in place. is lost because of her mercantile inclination. The General. Later on. “Chuck him in the pit. Mother Courage slaps her son around the face.” ( Sc. the all-too-honest Swiss Cheese. The scene finishes in the middle of this reprimand. The stage is split in two. 42) 48 PDF created with pdfFactory Pro trial version www. That is. However.

is not really a military conquest but an illegal robbery carried out so that a hungry army could eat. It is time for her to get back on the road. she covers Kattrin’s body. Fetching a tarpaulin from her cart. in Bentley: 1981. though she has given her own life in doing so. hoping that she can pull it alone. Be all right. She has succeeded in awaking the townsfolk. its heroic determination to somehow. Tennessee Williams has commented. One of war themes of the play is that little people cannot profit from a war which runs only for the profit of the greater authorities. keep on pulling the wagon further on.” (Sc. The peasants advise her to follow the regiment immediately. 11. For capitalists. the song that introduced Courage in Scene One is repeated to end the play. From offstage.pdffactory. “Hope I can pull cart all right by meself. and Courage follows along with it. “I doubt that any other play has paid such homage to mankind’s greatest virtue. pulling the cart.” (qt. a source of getting money and other economical profits. The slogan of Scene eleven comments on her heroic deed as “The stone begins to speak” (Sc. Mother Courage harnesses herself to the cart. nowt much inside it. She pays the peasants to bury her. almost anyhow.120) What Brecht underlines is war’s omnipresence in capitalist civilization.. 49 PDF created with pdfFactory Pro trial version www. The victims of this destructive machine of blood and death are always the innocent citizens. the first military deed the play introduces us to. 87) The noise of a regiment passes by. war is just a business like any other business. It is worth noting that at the early stage of the play. Go to get back in business again.Kattrin is killed as well when she is attempting to warn the sleeping town of Halle from a sudden Catholic . 12. Mother Courage sings a lullaby over Kattrin’s dead body. 80) referring to her dumbness and her beating on drum from a rooftop.

pdffactory. themes and dramatic techniques are dialectically welded together to produce the final premise of the play. who exploits the war by selling food and clothing to soldiers. These business dealings. however. are the means by which she attempts to fulfill a mother’s obligation to provide for her family. Ergo Brecht’s dialectics encourages his audience not to consent to such damaging systems. Consequently. He finds in ‘theme’ the 50 PDF created with pdfFactory Pro trial version www. As an alternative. we actually come to a modern exploitation of the episodic plot technique. 94). the suffering must stop”.com . climax and resolution is generally ignored. By placing the action in a historical situation the audience can be made to think: “Is this how things are? This is terrible. giving her petit-bourgeois status. In the Brechtian theatre. Brecht’s protagonist Mother Courage is a civilian. conflict. Brecht should have something rather than cause and effect to connect the separate parts of his play. The play explains that war presents an opportunity for profit.Since Mother Courage and her Children is an anti-war socio-political play. although some of them would have been shop owners etc. Brecht’s play explains that Mother Courage consents to the system that murdered her children. but to stand back and think about the actions and how they could have been avoided. The audience is not being asked to identify with Courage. The traditional cause and effect plot with its pattern of exposition. When we come to Bertolt Brecht’s epic drama. Comfortable in her status she ignores the damaging effects of her business and as a result her business costs Mother Courage her children.” (Spiers: 1990. “the harm done to her children is associated with her business dealings. “men are indeed mostly motivated by concern for their own material and physical well-being” (Spiers: 1990. ranging from politicians and world leaders through to civilians. 99). it stimulates the audience’s consciousness and states that.

Twelve separate scenes are presented in Mother Courage and her Children. but arouses his capacity for action forces him to make decisions picture of the world 51 PDF created with pdfFactory Pro trial version www. He shows peace being less prosperous. To shed light on how Brecht creates his own premises. the ideas and the techniques are manipulated and interwoven with each other. DRAMATIC THEATRE plot implicates the spectator in a stage situation wears down his capacity for action provides him with sensations Experience EPIC THEATRE Narrative turns the spectator into an observer. At this point of ‘thematic unity’. substituting the peace ethics and demolishing man’s moral values. each does not cause the next.pdffactory. In short.suitable means to achieve this . he makes a schematic table using key words whereby the basic changes of emphasis as between the dramatic and the epic theatre are sketched. the twelve scenes of Mother Courage and her Children share the same war theme although they are presented through fragmentary incidents and different characters. War always strives to establish its own ethics. The whole play is regarded as an offproduct of corruption of war and how human values are profoundly tainted by the circumstances of such deadly business. Each scene presents a variation on this theme but it does not cause the next. in the notes to The Rise and Fall of the City of Mahagonny (1928-1929). The total corruption of society is an inevitable output of war circumstances. yet all are thematically related to one another. a state in which finances are less assured.

shares the experience the human being is taken for granted he is unalterable eyes on the finish one scene makes another Growth linear development evolutionary determinism man as a fixed point Thought determines being Feeling he is made to face something Argument brought to the point of recognition the spectator stands . Brecht proposed a more active theatre-and-audience relationship. Brecht desired and established a theatre that challenged the spectators to think for themselves and respond to the social issues that were brought to light by the performance. Rather than a theatre that was set up as a place for the spectators to passively immerse themselves in an emotionally involved story that was geared toward the climax and catharsis that plot promises and delivers. 847) The comparisons in the table are not antithetical. Studies the human being is the object of the inquiry he is alterable and able to alter eyes on the course each scene for itself Montage in curves Jumps man as a process social being determines thought reason (Dukore: 1974.the spectator is involved in something Suggestion instinctive feelings are preserved the spectator is in the thick of it. but rather indicate what he viewed as a necessary shift from the dramatic to the epic mode. 52 PDF created with pdfFactory Pro trial version www.pdffactory.

What Brecht points out is not the criminality of war but 53 PDF created with pdfFactory Pro trial version www. Eilif. His behavior counters his sibling’s bravery.The table also clearly lists the characteristics of epic theatre’s form. These characteristics are needed as methodological tools to achieve the desired premises. The General rewards him for one of his courageous deeds that he killed many Catholic peasants taking their cows for his hungry .” Brecht introduces the use of narratives. directly contributing to the death and destruction of war. curves (not linear development).pdffactory.” (Scene 8. The General praises him by saying. “Aye. ain’t it?. montage (not dramatic development). for instance. and scenes that jump (not cause and effect). Eilif is trying to justify his crime by saying that “It’s what I did last time. joins the army without his mother’s consent and become a cutthroat soldier. balancing the heroic with antiheroic actions. in Mother Courage and her Children. the scenes can be presented in a series of non-linear scenes in which the spectator could not but think about what is going on on stage. Moreover. 18) Eilif repeats the same deed but during a short peace interlude between the Protestants and the Catholics. 69) Eilif’s actions are antiheroic. Even more surprising. it is presented episodically with scenes that can jump to any places or time without the spectator’s anticipation. but it’s peace now. 69) But the Cook answers him. in which the spectator only becomes an observer.” (Scene 8. This will make the spectator expelled from the story anytime s/he is drawn into it.” (Scene 2. You ought to see the king. as a montage. Epic theatre uses narrative (not plot). episodic (not climactic) scenes. “you’ve the makings of a young Caesar. Since plot tends to draw the spectator into “the story. He is now regarded as a war criminal and should be executed.

It is about the inevitable loss that the mother suffers as she tries to negotiate these contradictory demands.the ways (as Scene One sets out) that war creates its own system of order. She wants to maintain her family during the war and by means of . the synthesis is formulated in the spectator’s mind rather than it is mentioned in the text. The main dialectical conflict is presented in Mother Courage’s character. But what happened indeed that Mother Courage sacrificed her children in order to make a living. Brecht differs from Shaw that the former does not establish any written synthesis in the text.pdffactory. Eilif’s second action during peace time as the antithesis. Mother Courage continually curses war yet embraces 54 PDF created with pdfFactory Pro trial version www. As far as Eilif’s incident is concerned. (Brecht: 1974. whereas the synthesis is left for the readers or the spectators to think of. between business and motherhood. She is caught in the contradiction between being a merchant and being a mother. to dramatically confront and reveal the contradictions through the brutal event so the war. She wants to serve the army and also to keep out of its clutches. the spectator in the Brechtian theatre is stimulated to draw his own conclusion (the synthesis) as in the following statement: killing innocent peasants is a crime whether it is committed during war-time or during peace-time. 229) Therefore. most of Brecht’s plays are open-ended. Brecht establishes the first incident as a thesis. Brecht uses the exceptional circumstances or war as a means of forcing the contradictions in her character to the surface. Dealing with war there is no compromise either death or life. Eilif’s inability to distinguish between the moral values of war and peace leads him to his tragic destiny. Consequently. She aims at exploiting war circumstances and to get money but without paying the price. Eilif’s heroic deed in wartime is a crime during peace.

yet by the time the action in the play begins. in the hopes that a balance of the two forces will insure success. 9) Mother Courage is both hero and antihero.” (Act I. describing war as “Nice way to get living. She praises war when her business is being flourished.” (Act 7. All her children are dead. the canteen wagon is nearly empty. preserving her family through the war and turning a profit. each of her positive actions has a negative complement. Peace means uncertainty and loss to her. it 55 PDF created with pdfFactory Pro trial version www. and there is no profit in uncertainty. Brecht shows this duality as a negative consequence of war. Mother Courage’s behavior is driven by a need to survive during wartime.pdffactory. she comes to believe that if she is profitable. She is now resigned to hauling the wagon by herself. She is a good representative of a bourgeois who wants to keep her family together and her cart moving. 59) Brecht represents Mother Courage as a social phenomenon which always flourishes during wartime. it is clear her priorities on this matter have become twisted. “Eilif.its circumstances for profit and survival. and she has little money. people are forced to act on both their good and bad impulses. It is an unnatural vicious state in which common values are challenged at every turn. taking a sheet of parchment and tearing it into two. “War be damned. Kattrin! May all of us be torn apart like this if we let ourselves get too mixed up in the war. Swiss Cheese. she cannot keep herself out of the war which will destroy her family. she achieves neither by the play’s end. In Act one Mother Courage warns her sons. then she says. Of her two goals. .” (Act 7. but she is completely contradicting herself since her trade completely depends on the continuity of war. 59) but she curses war when she counts her losses. She has equated the relentless pursuit of profit (her antiheroic side) with success and survival. She advises her three children not to go deep in this war.

Mother Courage’s mute daughter. This emphasis on the virtuous elements of Mother Courage’s sons helps Brecht to establish and to stress the negative side of Mother Courage. Both sides. She has allowed this side of her to rule each situation. but she hesitates and haggles too long on the amount of the ransom. In portraying his 56 PDF created with pdfFactory Pro trial version . Eilif is executed because of his heroic deed. Kattrin. and. Mother Courage and her three children represent another dialectical technique of characterization and structure in the play in achieving the unity of opposites towards producing the final promise of the play. Dialectically speaking. refuses to hand over the regimental cash box to the enemies and is killed. Swiss Cheese. everyone involved loses. is killed by the Catholics while she is beating a drum so as to awaken the sleeping citizens of Halle.pdffactory. the technique of unity of opposites used by Brecht reminds us of the conventional struggle between desire and duty but with some twists. Eilif. ultimately. humanity is left poorer for the experience. While gains may be made in geographic terms. although his mother could save him by paying the compensation on the right moment. Swiss Cheese and Kattrin stand for various excessive virtues during wartime and they are consequently killed by them. Courage and her Children are necessary to formulate the final effect of the contradiction (e. Courage’s cowardice and viciousness cannot critically be grasped without her sons’ virtues in the sense that Courage sacrifices and subordinates her family and her motherhood to her commercial inclination. It is this last point that hammers home Brecht’s primary theme in the play: war is pointless.g. it robs people of their humanity. the synthesis). despite what her heroic nature might dictate. Yet in the end her pragmatism and devotion to commerce leaves her emotionally and financially bankrupt. In short. the honest paymaster.will allow her family to survive the war.

characters and their action.pdffactory. In wartime. Brecht felt that identifying such contradictions was an essential part of the theatre’s role. the Brechtian Chaplain is coward. on the contrary. Mother Courage allows two refugees. He is 57 PDF created with pdfFactory Pro trial version www. this interest in contradiction and dialectic becomes more positive. pulling the wagon and escaping from place to place in order to save his skin. potential husbands or business partners to pitch their lot in with hers. Shaw always mentions the three main dialectical elements of his conflict in the text: . a clash between two characters simply means a clash between two social or political phenomena which are produced by certain existing circumstances of society. antithesis and synthesis. Like Bernard Shaw. Nonetheless. Brecht always leaves the synthesis for the spectators to formulate in their minds. the chaplain is expected to be of great benefit to raise the soldiers’ spirit. The Chaplain is a speaker not a doer and any physical work he does is seen to be alien to him. In his mature work. disguising. her cart and her remaining family. they are realistic portraits of the way that real people behave in a contradictory world. chopping wood . whereas Brecht does not. and Brecht’s reading of Voltaire and classical Chinese philosophy makes it into an exercise in clear thinking. She refuses both men and chooses instead her independence. War produces another corruption as a socio-political phenomenon: the Chaplain. Therefore. He stands for men of religion who do not practice what they preach. however. the Cook and the Chaplain. Brecht emphasizes the socio-political circumstances as basic motivations for the attitudes of human beings more than any conventional playwright did. the point is that these many contradictions are not the result of poor characterization – rather. Brecht uses the dialectics and the unity of opposites in portraying his characters and their action but with one difference.

declaring his interest and yet at the same time having to do manual labour.” (Sc. “It is a war of faith. 3. 28) The speed with which the Chaplain changes his robes when he learns the Catholics are attacking demonstrates that his religious principles are instantly superseded by his cowardice in the face of danger. however. The Chaplain is a cynical and wooden character. “He seeks to live off the ‘business’ and at the same time to keep aloof from it. As usual in Brecht. He is at his best in time of war. fought for the faith and therefore pleasing to God. when high morals take second place to necessity. If only I had a cloak to cover me. it is not religion which is being criticized. in peacetime. the willingness of people to hide their faith when faced with persecutions is evident when the Chaplain with the Swedish army dresses himself 58 PDF created with pdfFactory Pro trial version www.” (Mennemeier: 1962.pdffactory. if the enemy is so close as that it might be dangerous. Blessed are the peacemakers is the motto in wartime. The Chaplain first appears glorifying this great religious war by telling the Cook that. None of your common wars but a special one. he represents a contradictory situation which is usually created in such people by the circumstances of war. he is sanctimonious and hypocritical. “Ah .” (Sc. why should it ever stop?” (Sc. Her pipe smoking should be both flirtatious and provocative. the Chaplain is scared and he says to Mother Courage. I’ll be going too. the sight of Mother Courage smoking the cook’s pipe signals that he will not win her over into having a relationship. which he considers to be both repugnant and beneath him. Furthermore. it is its double standards and denial of material reality. 6. 144) Mother Courage is very deliberately teasing him with the fact that she is interested in the Cook. To the Chaplain. Indeed. 54) But when the canons of this “special war” roar.3. mark my words. 25) Then he argues that “the war will always find an outlet.

Let your head speak. 5. He complains that his clerical talents are being underused. one can realize that religion does not just spread from generation to generation. I sometimes ask my self what it would be like if our relationship were to become somewhat closer. I don’t want to row you. Mother Courage: I’d say it was close enough. padre. Seriously. which ultimately changes a society’s culture. The Chaplain: Don’t change the subject. while Courage quite likes him. given that the whirlwind of war has so strangely whirled us together. sometimes it can spread through force. harden thyself not. not a wood-cutter” (Sc.6. Courage lights up the Cook’s pipe. “Be sensible.pdffactory. (Sc. I mean. or at least a closer (perhaps sexual) relationship. and when he tries to appeal to her soul. 49).com . I like you.” (Sc. Despite the fact that the war had started as a religious war. a foreshadowing of their future sexual partnership. After Kattrin has left. He dislikes the Cook. This can be seen in the play as mother courage comes across an area that was under bombardment. 59 PDF created with pdfFactory Pro trial version www. The Chaplain (coming closer: You know what I mean by closer. The difference of religions no longer mattered. and the Chaplain converses with her as he chops firewood. Courage. 6. “I happen to be a pastor of souls. From that scene.with ambiguous motives . 57) She hints that she does not want to take anyone into her business. it’s not a relationship founded on meals and wood-chopping and other such base necessities. people needed help.different as he and mother courage are captured by a Catholic army. 55) and . because of its length many people had become apathetic about their religion at the end. I cook meals for you and you run around and chop firewood for instance.suggests a marriage. some soldiers and the Chaplain try to help hurt peasants: “No way of sorting ’em out in a bombardment. she tells him.

she rebukes her for risking her life to save a baby from a burning house.pdffactory. He says. a hole is only a hole . obviously. For instance. the Chaplain rhetorically asks his famous gone. no contains nothing.the children . 3) or “no order. and the 60 PDF created with pdfFactory Pro trial version www.” (Scene 1. Mother Courage does not accept Eilif’s death and she regarded it as useless. 6. Swiss Cheese is a man of integrity. “Where is the hole once the cheese has been eaten?” (Sc. 4) Concerning Mother Courage and her children.” (Scene 1. She loves them but this love is abstract. Mother Courage has lost what supports her.All I’m after is get myself and children through all this with my cart. Thus peace is nothing without a backdrop of war upon it. “takes a war to restore order. but she sees him as a . She could not understand that her children have their own entities. Their use to her (her reality) was a hole framed in substance (their children). the hole is exposed to never have existed. She slams her daughter in every interaction they have. when (the cheese) is lost. which is restrained to their obedience to her and to their work with her.” (Sc. The substance of life is war. As long as they keep these restrictions. she is nothing. 6. I don’t see it as mine. Each child represents a virtue but in excessiveness during wartime. This type of dialectical relationship used by the capitalists and military men reminds us of the speech of the Sergeant in Scene One. but Mother Courage could not see the substance of this kindness and humanity in Kattrin’s depth. She sees only the hole. 57) In Scene Six. When the cheese . 53) The Chaplain sees that war is the standard occurrence (the cheese) and peace as merely an interim incidence (the holes in the cheese). and I ain’t in the mood for private affairs. (the cheese) is her children and (the hole) is how she understands her reality. Kattrin is kind and human. and the play is over. she will keep them safe. but her children are real people with real ambitions.

When directing the character of Yvette. “Don’t you know you ain’t s’posed to drink before midday with your complaint?” (Sc. as she is yet to have much success in her trade. many women see the streets and prostitution as a way to freedom from conflict. there are about a millions women who have turned to prostitution due to the war-caused break down of social structures and traditional security mechanisms in the world. she must be played as slightly smug. 22) 61 PDF created with pdfFactory Pro trial version www. Later in the play. She relies on the war to make money. We no longer care about Mother Courage.story vanishes into thin . because what supported her personality so fully was her children. Yvette is a whore. The character of Yvette is a perfect example of how bad people profit form war and capitalism. She manipulates a colonel into (nearly) buying the wagon for her. with a new sense of power over the soldiers she used to depend on. It is sad that she became a whore in the first place. Later again. What happens to the hole when the cheese is gone? Mother Courage could not find the answer which is simply: it disappears. she would at first be played as bitter. it must be made clear that she has grown more cunning and learnt how to bend people to her will. and uses her manipulative skills to marry his older brother. One of the most dangerous ramifications of war is prostitution. Thus. Yvette appears first in Scene Three when Mother Courage advises her. When her husband dies she bets his inheritance. but that she profited so well out if it is unfair. when she has received her dead husbands inheritance. 3. Yvette in Mother Courage and her Children is no exception. Millions of women have been involved in prostitution for survival on the streets. Some women are also see in prostitution a way to earn more money. As a sad illustration of further social decay. She follows the soldiers wherever they go. when she is getting the colonel to buy something for her.

Mother Courage and Yvette are two characters that are individualistic and have to survive.Yvette has a venereal disease and she refuses to discuss this matter since her business depends on. Warren’s Profession. Bertolt Brecht diminishes the traditional roles of characters because they have to survive according to their situation. In other words. The aim is to demonstrate how characters behave and react to social values according to the needs of the situations they are placed in. Brecht saw war as an exaggerated form of capitalism where people are driven by greed to consume. In the play. emperors or the popes. 6. Yvette is not going against any social or moral norms because there are not any. moral and social issues both merge into one another. The people in the play behave as required by the dictates of war. war is a political will and decision with destructive and disparaging social . “it’s a matter of hauling the war out of the mud again. Yvette changes her physicality. To Brecht.pdffactory. they are such friends in need. 53) The best people who can do so are the kings. so they tend to be amoral in order to survive. but if there was a society then Yvette would be isolated from society. there is no condemnation to Yvette’s occupation because this is her only form of survival. They cannot afford to be moralistic. 62 PDF created with pdfFactory Pro trial version www. whether they conform to social rules as expected traditionally or whether they react in a more individualistic ways. War is always in the mud. When Mother Courage is at the peak of her business career she is robed in articles which express her wealth. Like Shaw’s point of view of prostitution in Mrs. literally rebuilding herself when she is for sale.” (Sc. a confused war torn society. For example the Recruiting Officer sizes up Eilif and Swiss Cheese as if he were buying farm animals.

while the war provides for her and her family. The Behaviour Socio-political Context Determines the Characters’ Like Ibsen and Shaw. The social circumstances play a tremendous role in portraying all Polly’s later behaviour. Polly has been coarsened enough to try to trick Lucy into revealing where Macheath is hiding. Polly’s relationship with Macheath causes the change within her character. The result is a comprehensive obliteration of lives. Mother Courage cannot resolve the conflicting roles of mother and trader and the tragedy of this play is that she thinks she can. She has to make her living from the war and the war will exact its price. she is a young. naïve girl who has fallen in love. and it displays a virtuous girl that has 63 PDF created with pdfFactory Pro trial version www. ethics and . This toughness belies the jealousy that lies beneath. By the time Macheath has escaped from jail. She is initially horrified by the criminality of her new husband. But Polly eventually accepts the brutality all around her and helps to make Macheath’s thieves accept her as their new boss after Macheath tells them he has to leave. Polly exhibits a toughness that contrasts her perceived sweetness.Consequently. Bertolt Brecht relies on the technique of metamorphosis to transfer the character into the opposite side. Instead of launching her children’s lives. action and reaction. In The Threepenny Opera. When the play opens. Mother Courage is trying to suppress their instinct towards independence and action because the war is not a safe place to grow up. but gradually she accepts the circumstances of Macheath’s business and even agrees to lead the gang in his absence. Polly is the only character who undergoes any significant change in the course of the play. the side which is determined by sociopolitical factors. She initially experiences his world of depravity and criminality with horror. At the jailhouse with Lucy. Her wagon is like a military service station providing for the war.

Brecht skillfully and artistically combines the two techniques of metamorphosis and the unity of opposites to generate a new dynamic situation. Instead of showing loyalty to his friend. his business concerns motivate him to destroy their marriage. characters make decisions not based on psychology but on the need or desire for material things such as money. Brown agrees to capture Macheath because he is afraid of Peachum’s beggars disrupting the queen’s coronation. She truly loves Macheath. but her love for Macheath never diminishes even when he betrays her and tells Lucy that Polly is not his wife. He does not consider Polly’s feelings for Macheath or care that she loves . His dramatic premise of the socio-political power on the individual mannerism is very clear from the very beginning.pdffactory. In a capitalist society in which competition rewards callousness and brutality. the characters are forced to trample on each other to survive.become cruel. not because he fears for her life in the hands of a criminal. Everyone appears in one way or another to be engaged in the effort to cut someone else’s throat for his own gain. On the other hand. These conflicts are put in a dialectical formula of thesis anti-thesis and synthesis. The external conflict that the social circumstances the personal choice put her face to face with Macheath. Peachum decides to bring down Macheath because losing his daughter will hurt his business. In The Threepenny Opera. so she is willing to do anything to help him. Her sweet nature turns to toughness when she must take over Macheath’s business. Jenny turns in Macheath because she needs the money. Polly undergoes internal and external conflict: Polly the innocent and Polly the professional. Every action that furthers the plot in the play is based on a character pursuing self-interest. the social 64 PDF created with pdfFactory Pro trial version www. Therefore. not because she hates him for abusing her. Polly is the only character who acts out of love and not self-interest.

murder and rape. Macheath is a rather predatory creature filled with cynical contempt for all human beings no matter in what relation they stand to him. Macheath wants to leave his life of crime. He always narrowly focuses on his immediate desires and needs. They steal. and acquire the trappings of middle-class life like quality furniture. Macheath’s middle-class aspirations embody another set of values: the belief in upward mobility and economic progress. It is the same metamorphoses we have found in Hedda Gabler. Differences exist among them as to the character of their work. put his money into a bank. Macheath does not change during the course of the play.pdffactory. and manners. though. he is caught up with forces he does not understand and which almost succeed in destroying him. thievery and murder exist at one level.needs that are met by the characters’ activities are not generally regarded as healthy needs. Operating on the basis of expediency. merchandising of the beggars at still another. with the small-time criminal life and aspires to middle-class legitimacy. He is dissatisfied. prostitution at another. tableware. He never expresses remorse for his crimes. Traditionally. 65 PDF created with pdfFactory Pro trial version www. nor does he consider whether he should have done something . Macheath (also known as Mack the Knife) and his gang rule the lower class world of nineteenth century London. partially for profit and partly because they can. and open a bank (less risk in banking and better profit). Suddenly Macheath quits thievery. The socio-political background of the play and the milieu in which the character lives in strappingly determine Macheath’s behaviour. these values are associated with a progression toward power and responsibility. At the end he remains a ruthless criminal who cannot see beyond his own selfinterest. Doolittle and Eliza.

By showing Macheath’s desire for economic legitimacy as completely unconnected to any change.pdffactory. 53) This exchange could be played naturalistically. continues to visit the whorehouse even though he is married. and plans to betray his friends to make it easier to stay on the right path. I should like to owe you my life. Lucy: It’s wonderful the way you say that. he tells her that he would like to owe her his life. The other example comes earlier in the scene. Macheath’s actions display two examples of the alienation effect. of changing his values. Later in the scene. Mac: Lucy. Ladies and gentlemen: You see before you a declining representative of a declining social group. Brecht reveals that although Macheath may plan to leave his life of crime for a safer profession. I should like to owe you my life. after staring down Brown. when. Macheath steps out of the scene and speaks to the audience directly to comment on what he just . 6. He steals the domestic niceties he desires. when Macheath is talking with Lucy. Macheath has no intention. as sweet banter between two old lovers. (Act II.Despite wanting to leave crime. These moments break the audience’s emotional connection to the performers and leave them free to evaluate the characters and events of the play critically. Say it again. We lower-class artisans who toil with our humble jimmies on small shopkeepers’ cash registers are being swallowed up by big corporations 66 PDF created with pdfFactory Pro trial version www. though. his values will remain unchanged. Mac: Lucy. Sc. Macheath’s metamorphosis from a criminal into a business man is justified by his speech before he goes to the scaffold and it critiques the competitiveness of capitalism. and she asks him to say this line again to her.

(Bordenn: 1999.C. opportunistic noblemen who had grabbed power on behalf 67 PDF created with pdfFactory Pro trial version www. many Greek city-states had seen the emergence of tyrants. The sociopolitical premise is now complete: the corrupted socio-political circumstances of the character decide his mannerism. The universal legal system evolved from the need to tame wild justice that was tearing apart early civilization. What’s murdering a man compared with employing a man? (Act III. In such a society governed by the rule of exploitation it is the same whether you are a common thief or an official thief.pdffactory. During Solon’s time. This comparison portrays Macheath as the ironic hero because he commits crimes against fewer people than does Peachum or the rest of society. philosophers. Justice. Macheath may be a murderer. Athens with the genius of Solon (638 BC-558 BC). .backed by the banks. merchants. The implication is that employment brutalizes and exploits people far more than even murder. Theft by physical force is nothing compared to theft by economic means. soldiers. 76) Macheath compares the tools of his trade to those of banks and major corporations. but that role is nowhere near as bad as being an employer. The Issue of Social Justice: The Caucasian Chalk Circle The issue of justice has been an archaic controversial argument. Macheath steals from only a few. Justice without being restricted by public laws is often called ‘wild justice’. may be dated back to sixth century B. in its legal shape. while a bank steals from all by consolidating money and power into the hands of the rich. Sc. poets. practical economists as well as social critics came to power in revolutionary times with a mission to put an end to the cycles of disciplinary violence that had overwhelmed Greece for centuries. 12) Politicians.

As Solon was creator of democracy. Amidst that first crisis in 458 B. 68 PDF created with pdfFactory Pro trial version www. he dealt with the tragedy of a royal house. This situation paralleled events in Aeschylus' own life. law. Religion was separated from the administration of justice for the first time in human history. the greatest tragic drama in human history. Solon laid the foundation for a democratic system of justice through the first of a series of constitutions that gave birth to democracy. and he was not convicted. together with Prometheus . Athens wanted peace and order. a soldier. Once again. He was said to have been killed when an eagle dropped a tortoise on his head. Aeschylus produced the Oresteia*. He harnessed wild justice and made it a central part of democracy. legendary world in which Tantalus was cast into the pit of Tartarus for revealing to mankind the secrets of the gods.C. (Coleman: 2007. During his time political upheaval threatened to sweep away democratic justice. and the peaceful resolution of conflict. but his genius lay in drama. Seven Against Thebes. a philosopher.. Choephorae (The Libation Bearers) and Eumenides known as Oresteia. 12) This system was based on rule of and equality before the law. and like Solon. In other words. These are the trilogy Agamemnon. He was reportedly charged with "impiety" for revealing the Eleusinian mysteries--the secret rites of the city of his birth--to outsiders. Aeschylus* (525 BC-456 BC) was also a poet. The Persians and The Suppliant Women. a trilogy. was performed in 458 BC. a “hereditary curse” which began in a dim. and resolution of conflict through a public court system with juries of peers in an adversarial process before the presiding judge.pdffactory. He instituted changes and established a legal code that brokered a non-violent social revolution and transformed the passion for vengeance into a justice system. Aeschylus was creator of tragic drama and he used his art form as a weapon for democracy. less than two years before Aeschylus’ death. (Bordenn: 1999. that these charges were politically motivated.of sectional interests. 27) * The Oresteia. a fighter for justice. a redeployment of power through law. It is likely. Solon converted private revenge into public justice. however. and turned to the man who had communicated his vision of social order and the need for justice through his poetry. It is * Aeschylus Greek[Aiskhulos] (525–456 BC) a dramatist and poet He wrote some ninety plays of which seven survive.

(Coleman: 2007. Anbay was an Arabian god of justice. and the threats to justice inherent in human passions. The play is a transcendental plea for democratic justice. Armaiti was a Persian goddess of . he was a symbol of order and justice to the ancient Greeks. She was the Goddess of law. 21) This huge number of gods and goddesses of justice of the ancient history clearly indicates the importance of this side of life in the human existence. 52) All other ancient civilizations had gods of justice: Utu was a Sumerian sun-god and god of justice. Dabog was a Russian goddess of sun and justice. magic and wisdom. He became the undisputed king of the gods.’ (New Larousse Encyclopedia of Mythology: 1987. Enki was a Mesopotamian (Sumerian) creator-god of justice.pdffactory. He was son of Nanna and Ningal and brother of Inanna. bearded man. Although he appears comical in many stories. truth and justice.truth or justice. 20) Maat is depicted as a woman standing or sitting on her heels. the principles underlying its law. often holding a thunderbolt. Zeus was both the youngest and the oldest of the brothers who were sons of Cronus and Rhea. In art. and also the wife of Thoth. He acted as judge of men by day and of the dead by night. Akonadi was a West African goddess of justice and a guardian of women. the judge of the Gods who was also called ‘the Master of Maat. water. On her head she wears the ostrich feather which is an ideogram of her name . he appears as a dignified. 69 PDF created with pdfFactory Pro trial version www. Yü Ti was a Buddhist god of justice in Chinese mythology.a window into the evolution of Athenian justice. The texts describe her as the cherished daughter and confidante of Ra. (Colakis: 2007. Dharma was a Hindu god of justice and truth.

cruel power. civilization sank into the “darkness of the worst of times” (Bordenn: 1999. Oedipus seeks to do justice by following strictly the law he has himself decreed. Cassio. Then as Rome declined and fell. We are left with prominently similar sets of dilemmas about justice in Shakespeare’s tragedies. The furies retook Justice. human justice is simply not the measure of the order of things.The Athenian legal system served as a frame of reference for the first codification of Roman law. In drama the theme of justice has a long . In Sophocles’ Oedipus Rex. Othello is manipulated by the villain Iago to satiate Iago’s need for control and his desire for revenge. and raw vengeance. 3) Is this justice? The matter is more complicated to be answered by yes or no. If Othello had known what injustice was being practiced on him. Greek drama. as we discover. Othello the General has promoted another. to hold the position that Iago feels he deserves. Creon punishes Antigone for her crime and tries to put the state back together after a horrifyingly destructive civil war. as well as his kingship. A great injustice is done to Othello the Moor. Primitive magical thinking and belief in the supernatural buried the scientific attitude. scientific and. he would have ended it.pdffactory. 13) and justice seemed to be extinguished by societies ruled by greed. In Antigone. psychological principles underlying ancient law played a role in the evolution of a great and complex Roman jurisprudence. He ends up destroying both Antigone and his own family. in a world in which. and the sociological. (Larner: 1998. For the injustice that Iago feels has been committed against him. he 70 PDF created with pdfFactory Pro trial version www. leaving the state once again in chaos. Then Demonology and witchcraft metamorphosed into a cruel scapegoating preoccupation that became twin to the Plague and turned human understanding into chaos.

” (V.pdffactory. “Was justice done? What was the justice that was done?” (Larner: 1998. Macbeth himself knows. rebukes his mother. using Cassio as his tool for doing so. In Macbeth.” and destroyed what he valued most. In Hamlet. he “loved not wisely but too well. recklessly kills the person behind the arras who turns out to be Polonius. is returning to its seat. Interestingly. which deserted Denmark when Old Hamlet was killed. We are left with the feeling that justice. What you know you know. Desdemona. and the new order will now play itself . The imagery of the play suggests that nature itself reflects human justice. is then theirs to seize. and deforms. agrees to go to England. The justice which is at stake for Malcolm and his allies. and follows through.brings about the destruction of Othello and his wife. ii. 300-301). Daniel Larner wonders whether there is justice in Hamlet or not. Where was the justice in Iago’s practice on him? He futilely tried his best to expose to others the amount of injustice he had received. becoming warped. he kills himself-not from shame or remorse. Consequently. as we do. (Stoll: 1967. he stands mute at the end of the play. in the end losing everything he sought to promote. what is just. this imagery suggests that nature takes its instruction from human inclination and behavior—that justice forms. diseased and dangerous when evil is afoot. “Demand me nothing. But he is tempted by evil. commits himself to it. unknowing. Hamlet unjustly rejects Ophelia. strange. in nature as it does in our own hearts and minds. but as an act of justice. and orderly and benign when the health of the kingdom is restored. Othello finally discovers what he has done. and to save his own life. 57) But. 4) In tragedy the limits of 71 PDF created with pdfFactory Pro trial version www./ From this time forth I never will speak word. seeking to avenge the murdered king and restore the state.

both of them claiming the same child. by Li Xingfu. the baby was put in the centre of it.) The Biblical story relates that two women came to Solomon. Summer. thereby revealing to Solomon that she was in fact the mother. Minnesota. in drama. in English. So our ideas of justice are stretched. and they are told to pull the child out of the circle. The two women were asked to take an arm of the baby.* A circle of chalk was drawn on the ground. or The Chalk Circle. The true mother chose to instead give the entire baby to the other woman. a play Brecht saw in German translation.understanding must be stretched to the breaking point to know what the limits are. The main episode of The Caucasian Chalk Circle (Der kaukasische Kreidekries was first produced. This episode is dramatized as Act Five. each of whom claimed that a baby belonged to her. The setting of the prologue is Georgia.pdffactory. One group. The Caucasian Chalk Circle is divided into a prologue and five acts. beyond their ability to take the weight placed on them by everyday affairs. 72 PDF created with pdfFactory Pro trial version www. he ordered the child cut in half. the Rosa Luxemburg kolchos. in Carleton . Amidst the ruins of a badly shelled Caucasian village two opposing sides meet to discuss the future of a valley. Northfield. See (Clark: 1960 227-58) for an English translation. The complexities of the issue in this representation is great. the judgment was that the actual mother was the woman who refused to pull the baby. it involves highly political and social maneuverings and questions of justice. the end of the Second World War. is arable farmers who remained in the valley during the war and successfully defended the village from the Nazis. Therefore. 1947) is derived from an old Chinese legend which speaks of a quarrel between two women. He also may have been influenced by the story of Solomon in I Kings 3:16-28. structure and plot from a 13th or 14th century Chinese play Huilaw. The true mother preferred to lose the test rather than to hurt the baby. The other * In his Circle Brecht made use of elements of theme. 1945.

and his wife. led by the Grand Duke. Reluctantly the Galinsk kolchos agree. the long ago. This entire prologue is extremely Communist in its message. The country. It is because of the Communist overtones in the prologue that Brecht originally did not allow the prologue to be printed while he was living in the United States. is shown to the crowds for the first time. Brecht instead argues that whoever can best use the land should get it. questions the polarities of justice and injustice. the Galinsk . deal with Grusha’s flight from the town. A Governor. Georgi Abashvili. therefore. who are unhappy at the way the war is being conducted. is fighting a disastrous foreign war with Persia. which form about half the play. The dialectic. consist of two parallel stories. An agronomist reveals irrigation plans which will mean a substantial increase in crop production. In the small town of Nukha all seems calm. in turn. A famous Singer is called upon to tell a story to seal the contract. Michael. is goat-herders and were moved on during the fighting to graze their animals elsewhere. They want to drive out the Grand Duke and his governors 73 PDF created with pdfFactory Pro trial version www. even though historically the land has belonged to them. The whole action of the next five acts are related a famous Georgian singer in order to illustrate ethically the answer to this episode. Now they have returned and the two sides must decide who is to get the land. The last two acts deal with Azdak the rascal judge and the episode of the chalk circle. Their only son and heir. Natella. The five acts. The first three acts. leave their palace to go to church on Easter Sunday. Act One starts in Any capitalist society would argue that whoever originally owned the land should get it. But a military revolution led by the princes.pdffactory. is underway. her dangerous journey to the northern mountains and her marriage with the dying man.

Finally. he finds that Grusha has already a husband and a child. when Simon. This incident ends the first story of the play. The Singer starts Act Four by singing the following lines: Hear the story of the judge 74 PDF created with pdfFactory Pro trial version www.pdffactory. Grusha steals away with Michael. offering 1000 piastres as a reward.and the Fat Prince oversees the capture and beheading of Governor Georgi. The Fat Prince orders his troops. the Ironshirts. flees. The Governor’s Wife. please! He’s mine!” (Act III. she crosses a rickety bridge risking her life to save the child from the soldiers. returns from the war. Simon is satisfied that the child really belongs to her and no one else. she accepts to marry a dying man in order to provide shelter to the baby. the rebellion against the Grand Duke in Grusinia. her fiancé. Simon. As servants try and pack for the Governor’s Wife to escape. and Grusha. Riots break out in the town and the palace is thrown into chaos. Thus. (a fictional historic country in the Caucasus) telling us how Azdak became a judge who uses a large law book as a pillow to sit on. After a night of soul-searching. The second and the third acts deal with Grusha’s sufferings during her escape with the baby to the northern mountains. leaving her child Michael behind. “Leave him . hurrying as the fighting gets worse. to search for the child. The beginning of the second part moves back to the first incident in Act One. she escapes from the Ironshirts who follow her to bring the child back. allowing Simon to suspect her of unfaithfulness rather than to give away the child to the Ironshirts. She buys milk with her last few coins in order to save the hungry child. a servant. She tries to explain the situation when suddenly the Irionshirts seize the boy and Grusha bursts into tears crying. get engaged. 170). a palace guard.

The true mother chose to instead give the entire baby to the other woman.How he turned judge. he felt that he participated in a criminal act by hiding a fugitive in his cottage. When Azdak later recognized the fugitive as the Grand Duke. The officers were amused by his jests and made him a judge. When two women came to Solomon. but those bribes did not affect his judgments. in fact. lost his head The village Scrivener Azdak found a fugitive in the woods and hid him in his hut. The Duke has not forgotten how Azdak saved his life. what kind of judge he was. On that Easter Sunday of the great revolt. when the Grand Duke was overthrown And his Governor Abashwili. 110) This paradoxical behaviour is itself a version of Solomonic Law. Hearing 75 PDF created with pdfFactory Pro trial version www.” (Gray: 1969. He accepted bribes. Azdak ruled as a judge for two years. (Act IV. Therefore. both of them claiming the same child. 171) Azdak. based on the Biblical story of Solomon and the baby. did not hand the fugitive over to the police. “He has one principle. that the rights of the poor are disregarded and that this situation must be reversed. father of our child.pdffactory. Grusha is accused of having stolen the baby of the Governor’s wife during the chaos of the rebellion in the palace. Azdak presides over a trial in which he must judge. thereby revealing to Solomon that she was in fact the mother. he ordered the child cut in half. He is about to be hanged when a messenger arrives announcing the Grand Duke would like Azdak to remain as judge. how he passed judgment. Azdak is declared an enemy of the new regime and is stripped of his judge’s robes. After two years a counter revolt brings the old authority and the Grand Duke is . he gave himself up to the court of Ironshirts confessing what he had done.

certainly not Azdak. Grusha won’t pull. Azdak institutes a procedure that brings it about that the women’s character is revealed by their responses to a decision problem set by the court. Azdak orders the women to repeat the trial. yields immediately rather than participate in a determined tug of war that might well break the child’s body.) Nobody can see into the women’s characters. Azdak disappears. who signs the divorce papers – not the divorce of the old couple but Grusha’s divorce from the man she married in the mountains. Azdak invokes the ancient wisdom of the Chalk Circle: Michael is placed in the centre of a circle and whoever is strong enough to pull him out must be the right mother. The final moral justice is that both child and valley should go to whoever serves them best. Natella . (The morality that the play endorses appears to be that things belong to people who are good for them. each of whom claims to be the mother of a child and hence the rightful guardian. Azdak is unable to decide. The woman. who has just been introduced to them by hearing their conflicting testimony. Grusha again cannot pull. Everyone dances. Simon and Grusha thank Azdak. she cannot hurt him. Azdak judges that she must be the right mother. who is more disposed to love and care for the child for his own sake.pdffactory. In the setting it is just given that the relevant standard of justice that determines in principle the correct decision is that the woman who is more disposed to love and care for the child for his own sake deserves to be awarded custody. Azdak summarily awards this woman custody.both arguments. The child is placed in the center of a chalk circle and the women are told that whoever pulls the child outside the circle will be awarded custody. Azdak must decide a dispute between two women. 76 PDF created with pdfFactory Pro trial version www.

preposterous and humble. Indeed.Azdak is the most distinguished character in the play in the sense that he is dialectically connected to the main theme of the play. and it is this that helps to make him the most fascinating character in the play. ignorant and wise. Ronald Gray describes him by arguing that. nothing consistent of foreseeable in his actions: he acts on impulses. on the grounds that the comic characters are impartially and critically . Thus the caricature and comic portrayal of Azdak enables the 77 PDF created with pdfFactory Pro trial version www. insulting and generous. (Gray: 1969. Brecht himself tells one of the producers. On the other hand. 110) It is worth noting that Azdak’s character provides the best illustration of the tendency of Brecht’s most characteristics work assume the guise of comedy. that if he wants to fulfill a truly epic effect in a play it would have to be directed along the lines of a comedy. Brecht’s dramatic intention of such mixture of humour and dialectics in The Caucasian Chalk Circle is to sharpen the ironical and satirical contrast between Grusha’s seriousness and Azdak’s comic situation. 85) since there is no humour in Marx.pdffactory. There is nothing that can properly be called a self in Azdak. Giorgio Strehler. Azdak’s contradictory and strange behaviour is designed in a way to reflect the essential discrepancies of which reality is compound. He sets no store by his actions. any more than Grusha does by hers. (Dickson: 1978. some elements of Brecht’s technique of characterization belong to the stock-in-trade of conventional comedy. 251) Claude Hill shares Keith Dickson’s view that this dimension of humour is a direct result of Hegel’s dialectics (Willett: 1964. blasphemous and pious. therefore his character tends to have a comic rather than a tragic effect.

He professes to believe that a new age of spontaneous justice is at hand. 182) 78 PDF created with pdfFactory Pro trial version www.” but dare not contravene the soldiers. on being taken into Nukha in chains to be judged. (IV. Princes have won their war. would certainly have cost him his life. but not for princes. and self-protective cunning. and. “Brecht was the counterpart in the theatre of George Grosz. cowardice. His appetite for justice sorts ill with his self. When Azdak learns that he has miscalculated in assuming the proletariat to be in control.863. the savage caricaturist of bourgeois and capitalist society. cringes and whines.000 piastres for food supplies not produced. War lost only for Grusinia. who have taken a fancy to Azdak.audience to condemn critically the whole corruptions of the ruling class. Yet even in the presence of Prince Kasbeki himself and the gallows with which he has already been threatened. 65) Azdak is obsessed with . a murderer and tyrant. which. Are therefore victors. He insists on being punished as much in the hope of avoiding excessive punishment as of furthering justice. their injustice and the whole bourgeois society of the play. Got themselves paid 3.pdffactory. he repudiates his revolutionary song. he cannot resist the lure of justice when he is invited to play the part of the Grand Duke in a mock trial. Kasbeki shrieks “Hang him. but for the nice balance of power between Kasbeki and the soldiery. He launches into a savage and brilliant attack on the conduct of the war by the princes.” (Symonds: 1978.240. perhaps. perceived some justice in his account of the war: War lost. which is not present in this Court.indulgence. 8. on discovering that he has sheltered the Grand Duke himself. He insists. John Symonds comments on this point by arguing that.000 piastres for horses not delivered.

is that the child shall go to the maternal that it thrives. There cannot be a set definition of justice in our free society because everyone has his own insights and acts on his own thoughts. as truth is of systems of thought. we have a melodrama with a happy ending: will Grusha and the child survive all the nasty people who threaten their lives and their new-found status as a family?(Larner: 1998. Each person possesses an inviolability founded on justice that even the welfare of 79 PDF created with pdfFactory Pro trial version www. Justice is very hard to explain because it is very abstract and has many controversial aspects. Now the rascal shall be . A theory however elegant and economical must be rejected or revised if it is untrue. and the disinherited lands shall be a public park. but the basic justice of them is clear. which only Azdak could have given.pdffactory. Dramatically. or should. the questions which introduce Azdak story are: what sort of justice can give Grusha the child she deserves? The judgment of the Chalk Circle. Thus.” Brecht is asking us whether we can. but neither one can give a clear and flawless definition of what true justice is. John Rawls argues in Theory of Justice: Justice is the first virtue of social institutions. His judgments are presented as high comedy. Clearly Azdak was right. 14) The following argument tries to find solutions for such inquires as far as justice is concerned. But was he just? How widely do such principles apply? Understanding this work as a “parable for the theatre. and the presence of the gallows on stage serves to remind us that Azdak’s career may end as quickly as it began. run a society based on them. likewise laws and institutions no matter how efficient and well-arranged must be reformed or abolished if they are unjust. The Old Testament and Plato’s Republic offer us great insights into the meaning of justice. Azdak manages to remain a Judge for two years.The Judge was always a rascal.

and no entanglement with larger or higher powers. social justice is the focus.pdffactory. leaves the state rudderless and in chaos. Where there is a problem. and through diligence and investigation we can accurately determine the truth. For Oedipus. where the king’s promises of order and protection will once again order and protect. not individual justice. Rawls develops the 80 PDF created with pdfFactory Pro trial version www. eyeless in Attica. Oedipus declares. We will solve the injustice of the plague. this works much like the justice Oedipus wants to find in Thebes—pure and clear. and casts himself out to wander. But individual justice is what he so ironically reaps. as for Rawls. Therefore. [A]n injustice is tolerable only when it is necessary to avoid an even greater injustice. The double irony is that this. in turn. go after it and drive it out. Being first virtues of human activities. Neither the gods nor human order allow Oedipus his perfect . (Rawls: 1971. 3) There is no equivocation here. Oedipus’ goal was to rescue the people and save the state. the rights secured by justice are not subject to political bargaining or to the calculus of social interests. but he takes his punishment upon himself. But in the play this does not work.. For this reason justice denies that the loss of freedom for some is made right by a greater good shared by others. No one should have to suffer for anyone else. Nonetheless. We are either sick or well. truth and justice are uncompromising.society as a whole cannot override. and establish the reign of justice again in Thebes. in a just society the liberties of equal citizenship are taken as settled. a circumstance is either just or unjust. The state is saved from plague. It does not allow that the sacrifices imposed on a few are outweighed by the larger sum of advantages enjoyed by many..

with other agents. Generally speaking. An example of this theory is the idea of a circle. and they draw their own version of the absolute definition of that circle. the definition of justice is often thought of being controversial and confrontational. political oppression. Social injustice could include any social problem-domestic . One of the main characteristics of the social justice is that it is indefinite. and other violation of human rights. secure an equitable consideration of resources and opportunities. Azdak’s trick fails to satisfy the norm that a just society’s basic structure of institutional arrangements be public. different measures would be needed. It may seem that there may not be a definite justice. social justice laws are those society values that determine which is right or wrong but that work within the framework of public law. Consequently. One can never actually draw a complete circle perfect. This theory is sometimes true. Accordingly. This is scientifically impossible. So how does one know that there is a circle? One has an idea of what it is.thesis that justice can be understood as fairness.pdffactory. If I foresee that losing the tug of war gains me custody of the child and I want custody. Azdak’s trick works in a particular setting. in other settings. the rule can be exploited by the clever. but can cause a huge dilemma. but it is just something that exists. 81 PDF created with pdfFactory Pro trial version www. Social justice occurs when all members of a society share equally in the social order. How can we live by the rules when they are not definite? Everyone is just seeing a part of the big picture. I will make haste to be the first to lose the tug of war and gain custody. Azdak’s rule cannot fit within a stable system of rules that is public in this sense. when all the members of the society are appropriately in agreement with a set of principles of justice. For one thing. and enjoy their full benefit of civil liberties.

where the rich get richer and the poor get poorer. 82 PDF created with pdfFactory Pro trial version www. This is the final hint that Grusha will get the child. Furthermore. He swindles them into giving him money for a bribe then turns about and gives a contradicting verdict against the upper classes. Take note what men of old concluded: * See Wigner. Phillips and Co. The Marxist law is not equated with justice for all rather justice for the upper classes. or Marxist society.Bertolt Brecht wants to emphasize his Marxist point of view that law protects and secures the interests of the ruling classes and within this ‘class justice’ the poor can only gain justice under a series of chances.pdffactory. Brecht in the play seeks to underline the difference between justice and the law within Grusinia. or class justice. Azdak although seen as the arbiter of justice between Natasha Abashwilli and Grusha is shown throughout the play as greedy and corrupt when dealing with the upper classes. This duplicity when passing judgment is seen by the audience but the lower classes see that for once the law is on their side. contrasting to Natasha Abashwilla’s intent to get the child only to keep her late husband’s estate. Justice. Charles.. whims and exceptional circumstances that not linked to the law as it should be in a feudal regime. is shown to have harder implications for the poor than the even distribution of wealth which is the main emphasis of the Marxist state. you who have listened to the Story of the Chalk Circle. New York: MaClure. . The feudal society. as she is good for the child and will continue to do good for the child. the play tries to distinguish between the two traditional concepts: the law of property and the heriditary right as part of the social justice.* The whole action of The Good Woman of Setzuan abandons them in favour of a new type of justice whose values are to be worked out in the play and celebrated in the epilogue: But you.

exploitation and corruption. This is painted both as the nature of the human species. but this care springs not from parental love. at the beginning of the play. In these decisions. that they prosper. Another type of injustice will replace the old one through these endless eruptions and revolutions. but from the knowledge that the child guarantees the continuation of injustice for a further generation. The town Judge is strung up by the carpetweavers. 83 PDF created with pdfFactory Pro trial version www. more care indeed than is likely to produce a thriving . in every case the powerful smashes the powerless. (I.pdffactory. Great care is taken of the Governor’s heir. 195) The law. (I. blindness of the great! They wander like gods Great over bent backs. The princes and soldiers in uneasy alliance keep up a semblance of authority. 124) When danger threatens. that it yield fruit. sure Of hired fists. Children to the motherly. 129) The old law is at last overthrown. The valley to the waterers.That what there is shall go to those who are good for it. and the definitive legacy for our time. Carts to good drivers. It is heavily ironic that the crowd of beggars and petitioners should forget their complaints in their obsequiousness: God bless the child. For a time there is chaos. This is the way of the world. (V. trusting In their power which has already lasted so long. Azdak intentionally disregards the actual law in order to administer a rough justice that helps the poor. that they be driven well. the province itself is light-handedly lost through blindness: Oh. Your Grace. and in turn both will be smashed by larger powers in a ruthless and nasty progression. is merely a prop for injustice.

Brecht viewed human beings as helpless animals who were battling against the vicissitudes of life. His sole concern lay in making a different world. insidious circumstances. at the mercy of ineluctable fate. which condemn capitalism regarding it as the main source of all socio-political corruptions in any society including the issue of justice. He was not interested in illusions. he relished mental and intellectual motivation that might lead to the kind of revolution that Marx himself had . all Brecht’s plays have strong socio-political messages. determined by society and relentless. 84 PDF created with pdfFactory Pro trial version www.In short.pdffactory. where everyone would be given a fair crack of the whip. This is why he endeavoured to arouse people from their inactivity and listlessness. He visualized a world where people would stand up for their rights.

April. Bertolt. Trans. Terry. Oregon: University of Oregon. The Brecht Commentaries. Bernard.. Marxism and Literary Criticism. The Beggar’s Opera. 2. London: Eyre Methuen. “The Caucasian Chalk Circle”. Translated by John Willett. 1974. 1962. Bertolt. Ed. London: Penguin Books.pdffactory. Parables for the Theatre. Parables for the Theatre. Ralph Manheim and John Willett. Demetz. Brecht. Louis. Susan. 12-14. Vol. Peter. Rinehart and Winston. Walter. 1969. 1981. No. Dramatic Theory and Criticism: Greeks to Grotowski. 24. inc. Thematic Guide to Modern Drama. 1982. Bertolt. 85 PDF created with pdfFactory Pro trial version www. Translated by Eric Bentley. Althusser. “A History of Justice”. 1974. The Threepenny Opera. Brecht. Brecht on . 1999. Bentley. “The Good Woman of Setzuan”. Ed. New York: Grove. Connecticut: Greenwood Press.References Abbotson. Englwood Cliffs: PrenticeHall. Bordenn. London: Mathuen. Bertolt. Dukore. AAPL Newsletter. Brecht. Part II. A. London: Penguin Books. Eric. For Marx. New York: Holt. Brecht: A Collection of Critical Essays. Brecht. 1995. Gay. London: Eyre Methuen. 1979. John. 2002. 2003. 1982. Translated by Eric Bentley. pp. Eagleton. London: The Penguin Press.

Daniel. Legal Studies Forum. No. Basingstoke: Macmillan. Mother Courage and her Children. 2 (May 1978) : 5972. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press. Antonio. Roland. 1. 1962. Roland.”The Unclosed Eye. 1998. No. Translated by John Willett. An introduction to his thought. Bertolt. London: Methuen Drama. Peter. Bertolt Brecht. Mark. pp. Hill. Brecht’s Poetry of Political Exile. London: Pluto Press. Oxford: Oxford University Press. Symonds. 1988. 1970. 86 PDF created with pdfFactory Pro trial version www. R. Vol. 22. Vol. Marx: A Short Introduction.K. 1990. Pellicani.2. Ed. 1969. Singer.” London Magazine.Gramsci. 2000. L. The Complete Book of Light Opera. 1-17. Gray. 1981. Claude. Lubbock. Larner. 2000. . 1975.. Speirs. 8. Edinburgh: Oliver and Boyed. “Justice And Drama: Historical Ties And “Thick” Relationships”. New York: Appleton-CenturyCrofts. Hall and Co. John. Brecht. Gramsci An Alternative Communism? New York: Hoover Press Publication. Bertolt Brecht. Speirs.3.pdffactory. John. Boston: G.

Sign up to vote on this title
UsefulNot useful