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The Caucasian Chalk Circle Summary The Caucasian Chalk Circle begins with a Prologue that deals with a dispute over a valley. Two groups of peasants want to claim a valley that was abandoned during WW II when the Germans invaded. One group used to live in the valley and herded goats there. The other group is from a neighboring valley and hopes to plant fruit trees. A Delegate has been sent to arbitrate the dispute. The fruit growers explain that they have elaborate plans to irrigate the valley and produce a tremendous amount of food. The goat-herders claim the land based on the fact that they have always lived there. In the end, the fruit farmers get the valley because they will use the land better. The peasants then hold a small party and a Singer agrees to tell them the story of the Chalk Circle. The Caucasian Chalk Circle is actually two stories that come together at the end. The first story is that of Grusha and the second story is that of Azdak. Both stories begin in a Caucasian City ruled by a Governor, who serves a Grand Duke. The Governor has just had a child, Michael, and his wife Natella is incredibly jealous of the attention that he gives to his son. The Governor's brother, the Fat Prince, stages an insurrection on Easter Sunday. He kills the Governor and forces the Governor's wife to flee. In her haste, she leaves behind her child. The Grand Duke and many of the soldiers flee as well. Grusha, a kitchen maid, becomes engaged to a soldier named Simon. Soon thereafter, during the coup, she has Michael handed to her. She hides the child from the Fat Prince and his soldiers, thereby saving the child's life. She then takes Michael with her and flees the city, heading north. After spending most of her money and risking her life for the child, she arrives at her brother's house. He allows her to live there over the winter. When spring arrives, Grusha's brother forces her to marry a "dying" man from across the mountain. They hold a wedding, but during the reception the guests learn that the war is over and that the Grand Duke has raised an army and returned. The "dying" man, Jussup, realizes that he can no longer be drafted into the war. He miraculously recovers and throws all the guests out of the house. Grusha, now stuck with a husband she did not want, is forced to become a good wife to him. One day Simon returns and learns that she is married. He is even more upset when he sees Michael, whom he thinks is Grusha's child. Some soldiers soon arrive and take Michael away from her, claiming that Michael belongs to the Governor's wife. Grusha follows them back to the city. The next story that is told is that of Azdak. The plot returns to the night of the Fat Prince's insurrection. Azdak finds a fugitive and saves the man's life. The man turns out to be the Grand Duke. Realizing that he could be branded a traitor, Azdak walks into town and reveals that he saved the Grand Duke's life. The soldiers refuse to believe him and he is released. The Fat Prince soon shows up with his nephew, whom he wants to make the new judge. However, he agrees to let the soldiers decide who the next judge should be. After staging a mock trial, they choose Azdak. He then judges four very strange cases, ruling in each case in favor of the poor person. Azdak soon gains a reputation for supporting the poor. However, after two years as a judge, the Grand Duke returns. Azdak is arrested as a "traitor" by the soldiers and is about to be killed by them. However, the Grand Duke, remembering that Azdak saved his life, reappoints Azdak to be the judge, thereby saving his life. Azdak now takes over the case of Grusha and the child. The Governor's wife wants Michael back because without Michael she cannot take over the former Governor's estates. Grusha wants to keep the child, whom she has raised for the past two years. Even Simon goes to the trial and promises Grusha that he will support her. After hearing all the arguments and learning about what Grusha has done to take care of the child, Azdak orders a Chalk Circle to be drawn. He places the child in the middle and orders the two women to pull, saying that whichever woman can pull the child out of the circle will get him. The Governor's wife pulls whereas Grusha lets go. Azdak orders them to do it again, and again Grusha lets go. Azdak then gives Michael to Grusha and orders the Governor's wife to leave. He confiscates Michael's estates and makes them into public gardens. His last act is to divorce Grusha, thereby allowing her to marry Simon. During the dancing that follows, Azdak disappears forever. About The Caucasian Chalk Circle

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Written in 1944 while Brecht was living in America, The Caucasian Chalk Circle was initially intended for Broadway. It never quite made it there, but was instead premiered by students at Carleton College in Northfield, Minnesota in 1948. Brecht's source for the play is most likely Klabund's Circle of Chalk, which was based on an ancient Chinese play written in 1300 A.D. with the same name. Brecht adapted this story into parable form and changed the setting to Soviet Georgia near the end of World War II. Brecht wrote the play for the Viennese actress Luise Rainer, who already had experience playing a figure like Grusha in Klabund's play. Unfortunately, she and Brecht quarreled and parted company forever before the play was produced. The play was initially translated by Eric Bentley. The first edition of The Caucasian Chalk Circle was mostly true to the German text with the only serious omission being that of the Prologue. The reason for this omission is related to the fact that Brecht was forced to appear before the House Un-American Activities Committee in Washington in October, 1947. Since the play was about to be published at this time, the publication of the Prologue was postponed at his request. This caused two false rumors to start: one, that the prologue was written after the original text, and two, that Bentley himself had initiated the omission. Neither of these rumors was true. The play itself is unusual for Brecht because it has a relatively happy ending; everything works out for Grusha. At the same time, The Caucasian Chalk Circle is clearly a Communist play: whoever can make the best use of resources in order to provide for others deserves to get those resources. Implicit in this Communist moral is also a secularized version of the Biblical Christ story. With typical anti-religious fervor, Brecht parallels Christ's story through the life of the drunken judge Azdak. Furthermore, The Chalk Circle is itself a version of Solomonic Law, based on the Biblical story of Solomon and the baby. When two women came to Solomon, both of them claiming the same child, he ordered the child cut in half. The true mother chose to instead give the entire baby to the other woman, thereby revealing to Solomon that she was in fact the mother. The play did not gain popularity in the United States until the 1950s. The first professional production took place at Hedgerow Theater in Philadelphia in 1948 and was directed by Eric Bentley. Soon thereafter The Caucasian Chalk Circle became Brecht's most popular parable in the United States. Character List Peasants on the Right Goat-herders to whom the disputed valley in the Prologue used to belong. Peasants on the Left Fruit farmers who wish to irrigate the disputed valley in the Prologue. Delegate A man sent by the state to mediate the dispute between the peasants over who owns the valley. He gives the valley to the fruit farmers in the end. Singer The man who sings the parable of the Caucasian Chalk Circle to the peasants after the delegate has decided to give the valley to the fruit farmers. Georgi Abashwili The Governor, he is beheaded after his brother the Fat Prince successfully stages a coup. Natella

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The Governor's wife, she leaves her baby Michael behind when she flees the Fat Prince. She later tries to get Michael back in order to reclaim the Governor's estates. The judge Azdak rules against her, however, and chooses to instead give the child to Grusha. Michael The Governor's son and heir to the Governor's estates. He is raised by Grusha who rescues him after his mother Natella abandons him. Grusha later claims him as her own child and Azdak allows her to keep him. Shalva An adjutant Arsen Kazbeki, the Fat Prince The brother of the Governor, he stages a coup and kills his brother. After ruling for two years he is deposed and beheaded by the return of the Grand Duke. Messenger A man sent by the Grand Duke to reinstate Azdak as judge even after the Fat Prince has been deposed. The arrival of the Messenger saves Azdak's life since the people were about to kill him. Simon Shashava A soldier who remains loyal to the Grand Duke; he and Grusha fall in love and she promises to marry him when he returns from the war. Instead, she is forced to marry another man before he returns. However, Azdak "mistakenly" annuls the marriage, thereby allowing Grusha and Simon to get together at the end. Grusha Vashadze A kitchen maid in the palace, she rescues the Governor's son Michael and takes the baby with her. She cares for the child for two years until Natella reclaims Michael. Both women are forced to appear before Azdak who chooses to give the boy to Grusha. Old Peasant with milk While fleeing with Michael, Grusha tries to get rid of the boy by leaving him with an old peasant woman. She is forced to reclaim the child in order to save him from some soldiers who want to kill him. Lavrenti Vashnadze Grusha's brother, with whom she stays for an entire winter. He finally gets rid of his sister by making her marry a "dying" man. Aniko Grusha's sister-in-law, described as a religious woman. She tries everything to get Grusha out of her house. Jussup A "dying" man that Grusha marries in order to protect Michael. As soon as the war ends, Jussup miraculously recovers and demands that Grusha perform her "wifely duties".

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Monk A drunk monk, he is paid to perform the marriage ceremony for Grusha and Jussup. Azdak Originally a village recorder, he accidentally saves the Grand Duke's life. He then goes into town and confesses his crime, but the soldiers refuse to believe him. When the Fat Prince arrives and offers the soldiers the chance to choose the new judge, they pick Azdak. He becomes known for arbitrary judgments. He presides over the case where Grusha claims Michael and has them draw the Chalk Circle. After awarding Grusha the child and annulling her marriage, he disappears. Shauwa A policeman who becomes Azdak's assistant after Azdak is made judge. Grand Duke A man who ruled the entire province and under whom many men, including the Governor, served. He is forced into exile for two years when the Fat Prince takes over but returns with an army and kills the Fat Prince. He then saves Azdak's life by allowing Azdak to remain a judge. Ludovica A good-looking peasant woman who has had sex with the stable boy. She is brought before Azdak by her father who accuses the Stable boy of raping her. Azdak rules in the Stableboy's favor and then tries to get Ludovica to sleep with him as well. Poor Old Peasant Woman She is part of another case tried by Azdak in which "miracles" keep happening to her. Some farmers claim that these "miracles" are all being done by a bandit, her brother-in-law, at their expense. Azdak rules in her favor. Old Married Couple They have been married forty years and want a divorce. Azdak hears their case along with the Chalk Circle case. He agrees to annul their marriage, but "accidentally" annuls Grusha's marriage instead. Prologue Two groups of peasants sit in the ruins of a Caucasian village along with a delegate from the State Reconstruction Commission. It is shortly after WW II. The peasant group on the right originally owned the valley and herded goats there, and now that war is over they want to return to their valley. The peasant group on the left is a group of fruit farmers from another valley but hopes to take over this valley in order to plant fruit trees. The Delegate agrees to listen to both groups' arguments as to why they should take over the valley.The peasants on the right unpack some cheese and argue that the taste is different since they had to leave their original valley. They also claim the land as a matter of law, arguing that since they have always been in this valley they have a right to reclaim it. The group on the left speaks next. They have Kato, an agriculturist, explain that they have drawn up irrigation plans that would allow them to produce ten times as much fruit as before the war. He shows the other group the plans and explains that it would even convert 700 acres of infertile land into fertile land. Everyone looks at the plans and exclaims how good they are. The delegate asks the peasants on the right if they will give up the valley, and they agree.

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In order to celebrate the peaceful resolution to the problem, the peasants on the left provide a singer named Arkadi. He agrees to sing a song called the Chalk Circle which comes from the Chinese. Everyone goes into the Club House to eat and be merry and to listen to the Singer. Analysis This short parable that opens the play also sets up the structure of the play. There are two disputing parties, the goatherders and the fruit farmers. Each group wants to claim the valley. However, the goat-herders have the claim that they were there first and should therefore keep the land, whereas the fruit farmers argue that they could put the land to better use. The Delegate moderating the debate chooses the fruit farmers because it is more logical for the person who can put the land to better use to get it. This entire prologue is extremely Communist in its message. Any capitalist society would argue that whoever originally owned the land should get it. Brecht instead argues that whoever can best use the land should get it. 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. The prologue serves yet a third function of allowing Brecht to present his ideas before the play even starts. This is extremely clever of him because the audience receives the moral of the play without even having to watch it. Thus, he gets his Communist message across immediately and only after he has presented the message does he actually allow the play to begin. Act One The Singer from the Prologue begins the story of the Chalk Circle. It begins in a city ruled by the Governor Georgi Abashwili who is married to Natella and who has a son named Michael. The Governor and his family are going to church, but so many people have arrived to see Michael that the soldiers are forced to shove the common people away from the church doors. Before entering the church, the Governor is greeted by his brother Prince Kazbeki, otherwise known as the Fat Prince. The Fat Prince remarks that Michael already looks like a future Governor. Michael is attended by two doctors who fuss over the child and are desperate to keep him in good health. Everyone enters the church except for the Governor and a messenger who has just arrived. The messenger has important news for the Governor, but the Governor refuses to hear it, telling the messenger to wait until later. Grusha Vashnadze, the main character of the first half of the play, enters with a stuffed goose under her arm. She is greeted by Simon Shashava, a soldier who has guard duty outside the church. The two of them flirt for a while and Simon reveals that he often hides behind a bush and watches Grusha washing the linen so he can see her dip her legs in the river. After learning this, Grusha is embarrassed and runs off. The Fat Prince appears and makes a sign to some Ironshirts (soldiers). They disappear and within minutes the entire city is surrounded. The Governor and his family soon appear coming out of the church. He returns to his home in order to speak with some architects who are to build a new section onto his palace. The architects arrive, but they soon realize that the Fat Prince has committed a coup. They run away before they are captured. The Governor is soon led onstage in chains. The Singer, who narrates the events to follow, comments that the Governor does not need an architect, but rather "a carpenter will do." The servants soon rush out of the house as well and start to run away. Even the two doctors who attend to Michael rush out and run away. Simon returns and searches for Grusha until he sees her. He informs her that he will remain loyal to the old regime and that he will protect the Governor's wife as she flees the city. Grusha tells him he is being "pigheaded" by obeying orders instead of mutinying with the other soldiers. Simon then turns to Grusha and asks her several questions that indicate he is interested in marrying her. She replies to all of them and then anticipates his last question, telling him that her answer is yes. He ignores her answer and quickly tells her about himself before asking her for her hand. She again accepts.

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Simon gives Grusha a silver cross to wear as a sign of their engagement. He then leaves to go protect the Governor's wife and Grusha leaves as well. The Governor's wife arrives with numerous boxes of her things and her child Michael. She makes another woman hold Michael while she runs around and packs her clothes. She realizes that she needs help so she makes the other woman put Michael on the ground in order to help her pack. The Adjutant arrives and forces her to leave immediately. In her haste to save her dresses, she leaves her child Michael behind. One of her servant woman sees Michael and hands him to Grusha. She is told by several other people that it would be safer to simply leave the child. The Cook goes so far as to tell her, "if he had the plague he couldn't be more dangerous." Grusha watches as everyone runs away. She then hides the child under a blanket and waits to see what happens. The Fat Prince arrives with his soldiers, who carry the Governor's head on a lance. They nail the head over a doorway. The Fat Prince remarks that it is too bad he was unable to kill Michael. After the soldiers leave, Grusha goes to sit down next to the child. She sits with the child all through the night until dawn. By that point she is "seduced" by Michael and so she takes him away. Brecht ends the Act by having the singer comment, "As if it was stolen goods she picked it up. / As if she was a thief she crept away." Analysis The Caucasian Chalk Circle opens on Easter Sunday, a time for the Resurrection of Christ. This is important because instead of a resurrection, there is an insurrection. The Governor will get killed by his brother. The fact that it is Easter Sunday is thus the first of the many religious themes present in the play. For example, the fact that the Fat Prince is the Governor's brother brings to mind the Biblical story of Cain and Abel. Brecht will continue to undermine religion throughout the play in both subtle and obvious ways; notice that the act of entering the church is juxtaposed with the image of the soldiers pushing the common people out of the way, thus undermining the religious aspects of going to church. It is important to note that the Fat Prince greets his brother. This is so unusual the the Governor remarks on it, "But did you hear Brother Kazbeki wish me a happy Easter?" Soon thereafter the Fat Prince usurps power and takes over the city. The relationship between the brothers is thus foreshadowed by the Governor's comment, in which he expresses surprise at being greeted by his brother. Another important moment is when Natella, the Governor's wife, tells her Adjutant how jealous of Michael she really is. She is desperate for attention from her husband. "But Georgi, of course, will only build for his little Michael. Never for me! Michael is all! All for Michael!" This jealousy of her child is important since she abandons him later in the Act. Brecht's sarcasm towards religion is reintroduced when the Governor is led onstage in chains. The Singer remarks, "And now you don't need an architect, a carpenter will do." This alludes to the fact that Jesus was a carpenter; the Governor needs Jesus to intervene and save him on this Easter Sunday. This will of course not happen. Throughout the play are dispersed the Seven Sacraments of the Catholic Church. The first one appears when Simon and Grusha agree to become engaged. The engagement is sealed when Simon gives her his silver chain. This represents the act of Confirmation, and it is the first of the seven Catholic sacraments that will appear in the play. The others that will follow are Baptism, the Holy Eucharist, Penance, Extreme Unction (the Anointing of the Sick), Holy Orders, and Matrimony (not in that order). For information on the sacraments, see The Seven Sacraments. Brecht has a tendency to make one character the "good" character. This character represents the type of person that we should all strive to be. However, because of the cruelty of the world, the "good" character is often abused or taken advantage of. Brecht's play, The Good Woman of Setzuan deals with this theme as its main topic. In The Caucasian Chalk Circle, Grusha represents this "good" character. She places value on human life unlike the other people who advise her to give up Michael. The Cook goes so far as to say, "if he had the plague he couldn't be more dangerous." She replies with, "He hasn't got the plague. He looks at me! He's human!" Brecht is quick to point out that this kindness is taken advantage of. The old woman comments, "You're a fool - the kind that always gets put upon." The Act appears to end with Grusha's act of charity when she picks up Michael and takes him with her. Instead, Brecht points out to the audience that they should not be seduced by how good Grusha appears to be. In reality, she is a thief who has stolen a child. "As if it was stolen goods she picked it up. / As if she was a thief she crept away." Brecht

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destroys the audience's image of Grusha for a particular reason: he does not want the audience to be seduced by her the way she is seduced by the child. Instead, he wants the audience to use logic much the way logic is used in the prologue. The audience must decide for itself whether Grusha is a thief and should be punished or whether she is a hero who should be rewarded with keeping the child. This sets up a direct analogy to the valley in the prologue; Grusha represents the peasants on the left who wish to steal the valley and put it to better use. Act Two The next act, Act Two, follows Grusha as she flees with Michael and saves him from the soldiers who want to kill him. She enters the stage singing "The Song of the Four Generals." When she is done singing, she spots a peasant's cottage and goes there to buy some milk. The peasant charges her two piasters, the equivalent of a week's wages for her. She keeps heading north, all the while being followed by several Ironshirts who want to kill Michael. She soon arrives at the River Sirra and comes across a farmhouse. When she sees that the peasant woman has milk, she decides to leave Michael on the doorstep since she knows that the peasants can feed him. She then goes to hide behind a tree in order to watch what happens. The peasant woman finds the child at her door and brings Michael into the house. Her husband tells her to give it to the local priest, but she indicates that she will take care of it. Grusha hurries off in the opposite direction. However, before she gets very far she encounters the Ironshirts who are chasing her. The Corporal makes several crude sexual comments to her before becoming serious and demanding to know where Michael is. Panic-stricken, Grusha turns around and rushes back to the cottage where she left the child. She runs inside and tells the peasant woman to hide Michael in order to keep him safe. The woman tentatively agrees, but she is frightened by the soldiers. The Corporal arrives and demands to know why Grusha ran. When he turns to the peasant woman, the woman falls to her knees and reveals that Grusha left the child on her doorstep. She is led outside by the other soldier, and the Corporal goes to take a look at Michael. Grusha, in despair, seizes a log and hits him over the head with it, knocking him out. She then grabs Michael and rushes out of the house. She eventually reaches a glacier that has a deep ravine in it. The only way across is a broken rope bridge where one rope has snapped and is hanging down the abyss. Several merchants are using a stick to try to grab the broken rope in order to repair the bridge. Grusha tells them that she must get across because Ironshirts are pursuing her. They try to stop her, telling her that the drop is two thousand feet and that she cannot possibly get across with the baby. Grusha ignores them and steps onto the ropes. She succeeds in getting across and triumphantly laughs at the Ironshirts when they arrive on the other shore and realize they cannot catch her. Analysis The amount of money used is an important issue in the play, both in this act and in subsequent ones. For instance, Grusha is forced to pay two piasters for milk. Notice that this is an entire week's salary that she is sacrificing for Michael. This is a huge sum for her. However, contrast that amount of money with the later acts. Azdak, in Act Four, is offered 100,000 piasters for one night's lodging. This drastic difference is meant to highlight the inequalities between the rich and the poor. It is Brecht's way of denouncing the capitalist society that focuses on money rather than on kindness. Grusha goes through ten developmental steps that start in this act. Each of these steps requires that she sacrifice a part of herself to Michael. She does this financially, emotionally, in terms of her promises to Simon, and in terms of her life. The first step occurs when she gives up her money for the child, paying two piasters for milk. The second is when she decides to go back for Michael after leaving him with the peasant woman. The third is when she hits the Ironshirt over the head. Four is when she adopts Michael, "the helpless girl adopted the helpless child." Five is when she is offered the chance to leave the baby with the merchant woman so that she can cross the bridge and save herself. Six is when she risks her life and Michael's life to cross the bridge. The remaining developmental steps occur in the next act. As was mentioned earlier, each of the seven sacraments is performed at one point in the play. Another sacrament occurs here, that of Baptism: "I'll wash you, son, and christen you in glacier water." This is a secularized version of baptism, meaning that it has been stripped of all its religious significance.

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Act Three Grusha walks across the glacier for another seven days until she reaches her brother's house. Her brother Lavrenti greets her. When he realizes that she has a baby, he asks her if there is a father. She tells him no, and he asks her not to tell his wife Aniko that there is no father, explaining that his wife is "religious." Aniko tries to come up with several excuses for why Grusha cannot stay with them, saying that the countryside is too boring for city folk or hinting that Grusha might have scarlet fever or tuberculosis (consumption). Lavrenti persuades her to allow Grusha to stay. Grusha remains with her brother through most the winter months. As spring approaches, she tells Michael that they must be "small as cockroaches" so that Aniko will let them remain until it is springtime. Lavrenti enters her room and asks Grusha if it is too cold. She hastily pretends that it is warm enough for her. In his desperation to get her out of his house, Lavrenti informs Grusha that must marry a dying man from the other side of the mountain. That way she leaves the house and Michael is made a "legitimate" child since he will then have a father. She protests, but Lavrenti explains that "you don't need a man in bed - you need a man on paper." Since the man is dying, Grusha finally agrees to marry him so that she can become a widow. She crosses the mountain and meets with the man's mother. Lavrenti has agreed to pay the woman 400 piasters to arrange the marriage. When the woman discovers that Grusha has a child, she demands more money. Lavrenti agrees to pay an additional 200 piasters in order to ensure that Grusha can live on the farm for at least two years after her future husband dies. A drunk monk arrives and performs the ceremony. The dying man does not even move, but his mother says "yes" to the marriage for him. As soon as the marriage is over, the monk asks the mother if she wants him to perform Extreme Unction, a sacrament for anointing the dead. The mother refuses, saying that the wedding already cost enough. The peasants that have arrived to watch the wedding and eat the reception food comment on Jussup's condition. They indicate that everyone originally thought that Jussup was only faking his sickness in order to avoid getting drafted into the war. However, now that it appears that Jussup is about to die, they regret having felt that way. While all the guest continue to talk and eat the food, Jussup suddenly sits up and then sinks back into the bed again. Suddenly all the guests start talking about the latest news which has just arrived. It turns out that the Grand Duke has gathered together a new army and is returning to fight with the princes that rebelled against him the previous year. When one of the guests remarks that the war is over and that the army can no longer draft anyone, Jussup suddenly sits upright in bed. Jussup then gets out of bed and throws out all the guests. After several weeks Jussup demands that Grusha start to have sex with him, that she perform her "wifely duty." She reluctantly agrees. Many months pass and Grusha starts to slowly forget about her promise to Simon. One day she is washing linen by the stream. Michael is with her and he goes to play a game with some children. They reenact the beheading of the Governor, Michael's father. However, instead of playing the part of the Governor like the other children want him to, Michael insists that he be allowed to behead the fat boy, who represents the Fat Prince. Grusha laughs at the children playing, but when she looks up she sees Simon. He has returned to marry her. She sadly informs him that she is now married and she tries to explain that Michael is not her real child. He first demands that she give him the silver cross back, but she refuses. Simon then waits while two Ironshirts grab Michael. The soldiers ask Grusha is Michael is her child. Grusha is forced to say that Michael is in fact her child. As soon as she makes this claim, Simon leaves her. The Ironshirts state that the child actually belongs to Natella, the Governor's wife, and they take Michael with them. Grusha follows them back to the city where the her case is given to Azdak, the city judge. Analysis Throughout this act Brecht makes fun of religion again. Jussup is meant to represent Joseph who married Mary when she was already pregnant. The depiction of him as a draft dodger is actually quite comical when performed onstage. Lavrenti's wife Aniko is constantly described as religious, even to the extent that she uses "religion" as an excuse for kicking Grusha out of her home. The final parody of religion is presented in the form of a drunk monk. The monk who performs the wedding ceremony is a "cheap monk" who does not do a very good job.

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Three more sacraments are presented in this act, those of marriage, holy orders, and extreme unction. All occur when the monk is present. He himself represents Holy Orders, or at least a parody of Holy Orders. He then performs the marriage ceremony and immediately thereafter, he asks the mother if she would like him to perform extreme unction, a sacrament in which the dead are anointed. She refuses, claiming that the wedding cost too much already. Grusha now completes her development in the plot by going through the last four steps. The seventh step is when she gets denies to Lavrenti that she is cold. This allows her to stay in her brother's house for a while longer. Eight is when she gets married, thus breaking her promise to Simon. Nine is when she agrees to have sex with Jussup, thereby losing her virginity. Ten is when she is confronted by the Ironshirts and must choose between claiming Michael as her child and losing Simon or disclaiming Michael and getting Simon. She chooses Michael, thereby sacrificing Simon. At this point she has given away everything that she has to give in order to keep Michael. The children's game is important because it not only makes a mockery of the adult world, but it also foreshadows the death of the Fat Prince. Michael is initially asked to play his father and allow the older boys to behead him. Instead he chooses to behead the Fat Prince, indicating that there will be soon be a change in the regime. It is important to realize that the children are foreshadowing only the action in the play; in terms of sequential action the Fat Prince has already been beheaded since the Grand Duke returned to power several months earlier during Grusha's wedding. Act Four The play now goes back two years to the time when the Governor was beheaded by his brother the Fat Prince. A scrivener named Azdak finds a fugitive and agrees to protect the man. He takes the man back to his hut. The man promises to pay Azdak 100,000 piasters for a night's lodging. When Shauwa, a policeman, arrives and demands that Azdak give him the fugitive, Azdak slams the door in his face and makes him leave. The fugitive takes off the next morning. Azdak, realizing that he has given shelter to the Grand Duke, goes and makes Shauwa arrest him. He then drags Shauwa into the city and denounces himself, informing everyone that he protected the Grand Duke and therefore must be killed. The soldiers think that he is a fool and refuse to believe him. When he asks for the judge, they show him that the judge has just been hung. Azdak then sings a song for the Ironshirts, but the song is about the injustice of war. The Fat Prince arrives with his nephew. He is planning on appointing his nephew to be the new judge. However, because his power is not yet solidified, he offers to allow the soldiers to choose the next judge, thinking that they will obviously choose his nephew. They do a mock trial in which the nephew pretends to be the judge and Azdak pretends to be the Grand Duke. When accused of running a war badly, Azdak blames the princes rather than himself. This implicates the Fat Prince as well. Azdak continues to speak the truth, much to the delight of the Ironshirts, but he eventually causes the Fat Prince to demand that they hang him. Instead, the Ironshirts make Azdak the new judge. Azdak next proceeds to give judgment on four very unusual cases. He begins all his cases by saying, "I accept," meaning that he is willing to be bribed. The first case is between an invalid and a doctor. The Invalid claims that he paid for the Doctor to study medicine and that he then had a stroke when he heard that the Doctor was practicing for free. He blames the stroke on the Doctor and wants to be paid back the money he spent in getting the Doctor trained. The other case is that of a Blackmailer who demanded money from a landowner who had raped his [the landowner's] niece. However, the Blackmailer refuses to divulge the name of the landowner. Azdak rules that the Invalid must pay 1000 piasters as a fine, but that the doctor must treat him for free if he suffers a second stroke. The Blackmailer is required to pay the court half of his blackmailing fees since he would not give the landowner's name. Azdak then advises the Blackmailer to study medicine. The next case is that of an Innkeeper who is bringing suit against his stableman, whom he claims raped his daughter-inlaw, Ludovica. The Innkeeper claims to have caught the stableman in the act. Azdak tries to get a bribe from the Innkeeper by asking for a "little roan," but the Innkeeper refuses to pay him. Azdak then has Shauwa drop and knife which he makes Ludovica pick up. He watches as her hips sway. He then says, "The rape is now proven...you have raped that unfortunate man." Azdak then fines the Innkeeper the little roan that he wanted and lastly takes Ludovica to the stables on the pretext of investigating the scene of the crime.

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The last case is that of Granny, an old peasant woman who has had several miracles occur. She claims that she miraculously was given a cow, that she had a ham fly into her house through a window, and that her landlord waived her rent. Three farmers are also present, each claiming that Granny's brother-in-law Irakli has stolen a cow, stolen a ham, and killed the landlord's cattle until the rent was waived. Azdak rules in Granny's favor, and fines the farmers for not believing in miracles. He then has wine with Granny and her brother-in-law. After two years the Grand Duke returns to power and Azdak fears for his life. He tells Shauwa that the rich and powerful want to kill him because he has always ruled in favor of the poor people. The Governor's wife soon arrives and demands to have her child back. Azdak promises to oblige her, bowing all the while. Analysis The amounts of money become much larger in this act than before. This is purposefully done by Brecht to show the difference in the levels of wealth between the various social classes. Because of these differences in wealth, Azdak becomes a "Robin Hood" figure, taking from the rich and giving to the poor. Thus, he fines the rich Invalid, the Blackmailer, the Innkeeper, and the Farmers, all of whom have wealth or land. Another sacrament that appears in this act is that of Penance. Azdak is primarily a truth figure, and thus the Penance serves as a representation of his telling the truth. The brilliance behind his confession is the way he does it: all the soldiers ignore him and think that he is a fool. Even when he sings them a song against war, he gets away with it by claiming the song was taught to him by his grandfather. And in front of the Fat Prince, Azdak directly blames the war on the princes, but again instead of being punished he is rewarded. His truthfulness is revealed through the way he takes bribes; he is bribed publicly so that all can see rather than secretly. The last sacrament of the Eucharist, or the Holy Supper, also appears in this act. Azdak shares wine with Granny and Irakli. The Singer comments that "Broken law like bread he gave them." This is almost a direct comparison of Azdak to Christ. Brecht will continue this comparison in the next act, when Azdak is "killed", "resurrected" by the Grand Duke, and finally disappears. Like Grusha, Azdak goes through ten developmental steps as well. A quick list is given here: first, he protects the Grand Duke, second he denounces himself, third he is made the judge, fourth he judges the case of the Doctor and the Invalid, fifth he judges the case of the Blackmailer, sixth he judges the case of the Innkeeper, and seven he judges the case of Granny and the miracles. The remaining three stages of development occur in the final act.