Brecht's infulence on Dürrenmatt: The effect of Epic Theatre in The Visit

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In The Visit by Friedrich Dürrenmatt you feel unattached and are constantly reminded that you are in fact watching a play, nothing else. Dürrenmatt constructs this play using Bertolt Brecht’s epic theatre, a twentieth-century theatrical movement that was a reaction against popular forms of theatre, Dürrenmatt uses epic theatre in his work, The Visit, because he wants his audience to analysis what is being said and done instead of what they see and hear. An intellectual audience member will make connections when watching an epic play.

Epic plays often relate back to a fable or a historical event (McDonald). This helps the audience relate to the play because they are aware of that subject matter. Brecht wanted his theatrical form to not be sensational by taking away anything that can attract attention. Therefore, he removed the classical view of dramatic theatre and made epic theatre more simple and straight to the point. This is why epic theatre is written in an episodic style-a style where the scenes are detached with one another and end in musical interludes, gestures, or captions (McDonald). It was presented this way to allow the audience to reflect on what is happening and to think critically and to prevent the illusion of reality.The objective was to break all ties with what was being seen. Generally this form of theatre has one character who represents humankind as a whole, someone who also breaks all empathetical connections the audience may have with the actors (McDonald).

The epic actors must be be able narrate and demonstrate simultaneously as well as to follows Brecht’s rule on being detached from their character. The actor must always remember that they are an actor on stage expressing another’s emo...

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...the play because if the play was done correctly, the audience will walk out wondering about this question. The schoolmaster claims they have “connived at injustice.” (Dürrenmatt 91), Claire’s justice is the only reason. But from earlier on in the play, we see that even the townspeople are hesitant and find her justice to be backed by revenge because she waited so long to come back and because she isn’t driving the people. Instead she waits cruelly.

The Visit is an epic theatre play because it makes you think about what is going on at all times. There isn’t a time in the play when you just get attached and try making personal connections. There are times where you are close to it, but Dürrenmatt adds something to the plot and you loose that feeling. He generally makes the townspeople act unrealistic or breaks up the story line with the four men who act as nature.

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