How did Brecht make use of character and audience in order to successfully relay his socio-political messages?

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Bertolt Brecht was a renowned German theatre practitioner and dramatist whose works are credited as having been at the leading edge of 20th century theatre. Being a socialist-Marxist, Brecht he was deeply concerned with the society in which he lived, and so desired to change the way people both thought and acted towards their fellow man. His concept of the Epic Theatre sought to dramatically change the way in which theatre is to be performed, opposing many of the 19th century dramatic conventions outlined for the ‘well-made play’. Dramatic Theatre is generally thought to be constructed of a number of things; including the use of detailed characters, containing a robust plot, having evolutionary determinism, and progressing with linear development. On the other hand, Brecht’s Epic Theatre focuses on narrative, episodic scenes, curved storylines, and creates a broader picture of the world for the spectator. The primary intention of a ‘well-made play’ is to simply entertain, and as Brecht stated, ‘from the first it has been the theatre’s business to entertain people’ (Brecht, 1964, pg. 180). However, Brecht personally believed that theatre should primarily be a place for learning and social correction – using the stage as a political platform to both inform and inspire its audience members. Although this is not to say that Brecht completely dismissed the notion of having theatrical entertainment, since his plays were also filled with music, comedy and lighting. Thus, theatre should not merely try to represent society – it should attempt to shape it too. The main area that I wish to address is how Brecht made use of both character and audience in an attempt to push forward his own political and moral interests. To do this, I will be l...

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