How Mother Courage And Her Children Essay

How Mother Courage And Her Children Essay

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In order to discuss how Mother Courage and her Children is a piece of epic theatre, I must first define it. Roland Barthes stated “In epic theatre (which proceeds by successive tableaux) all the burden of meaning and pleasure bears on each scene, not on the whole. At the level of the play itself, there is no meaning, no maturation: there is an ideal meaning (given straight in every tableau), but there is no final meaning, nothing but a series of segmentations, each of which possesses a sufficient demonstrative power.” Brecht has said that it can best be described by Döblin who “provided an excellent criterion when he said that with an epic work, as opposed to a dramatic, one can as it were take a pair of scissors and cut it into individual pieces, which remain fully capable of life.” Aristotelian theatre can be described as being cathartic - i.e. the 'hero/heroine ' goes through an experience that leads to a realisation or new understanding and we identify with the experience of suffering of the hero and 'feel ' what they feel.
Brecht’s epic wants us to be distanced emotionally so that we can see the bigger political/ social picture. Mother Courage doesn’t learn anything but the audience sees the manipulations and futility of war. Brecht turns the spectator into an observer, he is made to face something, there is a central argument presented (political/social aspect), the human being is alterable and able to alter. Brecht also wants to appeal to reason and not emotion, each scene is for itself (not necessarily following a plot), the development is not linear but happens in curves and jumps. Throughout this essay I will attempt to analyse and explain how Mother Courage and Her Children could be understood as being ‘Epic’. I w...


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...oduction, she stated that “I happened to see a performer called Duke Special in Los Angeles, who had short hair on one side of his head, dreadlocks on the other, wore red bell-bottoms and some sort of cravat, and played a lot of peculiar instruments. He seemed quite Weimar to me, so I asked him to write the music for the play. What he wrote was so thrilling, we 've invited him to crash on to the stage and sing alongside us. That feels very exciting – I feel we 're making a brand new thing. Tony Kushner 's translation is also new, although true to the original. Like Brecht, who used a peculiar German for the play, he has written a hiccupy English, which often has the verb at the end of a sentence.” The national theatre’s production did have the desired effect that Brecht would have wanted, as they did leave the audience members inspired and wanting to change society.

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