Galileo Church v. Hero Essay

Galileo Church v. Hero Essay

Length: 1243 words (3.6 double-spaced pages)

Rating: Strong Essays

Open Document

Essay Preview

Galileo Church v. Hero


It is a volatile point in history: the intersection of science and religion at the height of the Inquisition; it is a time when the Church reigns and a man, a physicist, must choose life or death, himself or science. Galileo Galilei's legendary dilemma and the circumstances surrounding it are presented in Bertolt Brecht's Galileo from a perspective that is clearly criticizing institutions with such controlóin this case, the Catholic churchówhile reminding us that men are simply men, no matter how heroic their actions appear. These issues are expounded throughout the play; however, Scene 11 has the most significant role in Galileo's development, as it simultaneously reveals the extent of the Church's control and humanizes Galileo in just a few lines.

Despite his courage to venture into unexplored realms of science and thought, Galileo is not a hero. He is only a man. Scene 11 is the shortest scene in the play and one of only three scenes in which the title character does not appear. Yet it is here that Galileo is made completely human. In the quest for a hero, one might ignore his almost hedonistic desire for food, thought, and fine wine and the sacrifices that he makes to acquire money. These characteristics of Galileo are revealed early in the play, when he plagiarizes another man's telescope invention in order to get a salary raise from the city (Scenes 1 and 2), and then again in Scene 11 when the Pope says, "He has more enjoyment in him than any other man I ever saw. He loves eating and drinking and thinking. To excess. He indulges in thinking bouts! He cannot say no to an old wine or a new thought" ( Brecht 109). However, one cannot ignore a hero's cowardice in the face of physical pain. I...


... middle of paper ...


... Nobody has planned a part for us beyond this wretched one on a worthless star. There is no meaning in our misery'" (Brecht 84). The people rely on the Church to lead them to a better life in heaven; their faith is all that they know. It is the Pope's duty to preserve the unity that comes from shared faith, and because he is controlled by that which he governs, he cannot refuse to punish Galileo for fear of social collapse.

Brecht cleverly uses Scene 11 to plant seeds of thought in the minds of his audience members. Through the controversy of Galileo's life and the circumstances surrounding his session with the Inquisition, Galileo explores both the dangers of institutional control and the folly of elevating men to a heroic status. One will only be disappointed when both prove fallible.

Bibliography

Brecht, Bertolt. Galileo. New York: Grove Press, 1966.

Need Writing Help?

Get feedback on grammar, clarity, concision and logic instantly.

Check your paper »

The Discoveries of Galileo Galilei Essay

- The telescope was invented based off of a “spyglass” that was created by a Flemish lens grinder. Galileo was a man of many trades; philosophy, astronomy, and mathematics were among his favorites. Before he started studying the skies, Galileo taught math at Pisa and then Padua. After creating his telescope he became known as a hero to many people across Italy and most of Europe. Galileo Galilei was born in Pisa, Italy in February of 1564. As a teenager his moved to a monastery school, and then continued on at the University of Pisa where he studied medicine....   [tags: Biography ]

Strong Essays
907 words (2.6 pages)

Galileo Galilei Essay

- Galileo Galilei Galileo Galilei was one of the most influential men of the Renaissance. He was a mathematician, physicist, astronomer, inventor, and among other things he was a philosopher. He integrated the independent sciences of math and physics, and unified them. The popular view of the public at the time was Aristotle's theory that the Earth is the center of the universe. Galileo stood against that common view and declared to the world that the Earth is not the center. This concept that humans are only a microscopic speck in a boundless universe and are not the center of it frightened many religious leaders....   [tags: Papers]

Free Essays
374 words (1.1 pages)

"Galileo" by Bertold Bretch Essay

- Unfortunately, I have not seen Brecht's Galileo in a theatre. However, I have read the play and like it very much. The author did not make his aim to show us a documentary narration about Galileo's life. He prefers meaningful drama to historical truth; therefore, he does not take into consideration or even change some historical facts about Galileo's life. The author wants to portray Galileo as a great but ordinary man, who can have his strong and weak sides. So, Bertold Bretch does not make the principal character of the play either a hero or betrayer....   [tags: World Literature]

Strong Essays
464 words (1.3 pages)

Galileo, Science, and the Church by Jerome J. Langford Essay

- Galileo, Science, and the Church by Jerome J. Langford      Science and the church, two things that you would not ordinarily think would go together until until Galileo came along. Galileo, a man that stuck his head out to the world, but especially to the church, when maybe he should have done things a little differently. This particular book shows many accounts of the troubles between Galileo and the church, and with other bystanders. The book goes through the ups and downs of Galileo and the church, the hardships, and friendships that people held, and how hard it was to keep those friendships during the days of Galileo....   [tags: Galileo, Science, and the Church]

Strong Essays
757 words (2.2 pages)

Essay Galileo Galilei's Life and Accomplishments

- In 1583, Galileo went into the University of Pisa to study medicine, with very high intelligence and knowledge, he became very fascinated with an extraordinary amount of subjects, mainly mathematics and physics, he told his father he did not want to be a doctor. He was exposed to the Aristotelian view of the world and was intent to be a university professor. Unfortunately, due to financial reasons he declined from the college. A year later Galileo enrolled into the University of Padua for the degree he pursued in the University of Pisa....   [tags: galileo, astronomy, telescope]

Strong Essays
851 words (2.4 pages)

Essay Biography Of Galileo Galilei

- “You cannot teach a man anything; you can only help him find it within himself”. This is a famous quote by the genius Galileo Galilei an astronomer, physicist, mathematician, engineer, and and philosopher. He is well known for his contributions to astronomy, his scientific innovations, and his several published works. Many of his contributions to science are still used today. Galilei greatly impacted world history. Galileo, the son of Vincenzo Galilei, a composer and music theorist, was born on February 15, 1564 in Pisa, Italy....   [tags: Galileo Galilei, Vincenzo Galilei, Telescope, Pisa]

Strong Essays
752 words (2.1 pages)

Galileo Galilei Essay examples

- Galileo Galilei: Changing the World One Experiment at a Time Inventor and astronomer Galileo Galilei is one of the most well-known scientists in the history of the world. Galileo has been credited for many astonishing inventions such as the pendulum and the telescope. Through many years of research and studious acts, he discovered behaviors of the universe that still hold true today. Galileo, “the Father of Modern Science”, changed the world. Galileo was born in February of 1564 to a poor family that resided in Pisa, Italy....   [tags: Galileo Galilei, Pisa, Nicolaus Copernicus]

Strong Essays
1961 words (5.6 pages)

Essay on The Life and Work of John Calvin and Galileo Galilei

- John Calvin was born July 10th, 1509, in Noyon, Picardy. He was raised up in a staunch Roman Catholic family. Early in his life, Calvin’s father was employed by the local bishop as an administrator at the town’s cathedral. With this newly acquired job, John Calvin’s father wanted Calvin to be a priest. Due to the fact that his family had close ties with the bishop and his noble family, Calvin’s classmates in Noyon were aristocratic and culturally influential in his childhood. At the age of fourteen, Calvin set off for Paris to study at the College de Marche....   [tags: John Calvin, religion, theologian, Galileo Galilei]

Strong Essays
1169 words (3.3 pages)

Essay on Biography of Galileo Galilei

- Galileo Galilei was an Italian brilliant mind who revolutionized the scientific world. At the age of seventeen he enrolled in the University of Pisa, where he studied medicine and took interest in mathematics. Due to lack of interest in medicine as well as financial issues, Galileo didn’t complete his degree, but years later he managed to get a position as a professor of the University. A few years later he began working at the University of Padua and remained there until 1610 (Andrade, 1964). It was during this period that he made most of his scientific discoveries....   [tags: scientridic, discoveries, science, church]

Strong Essays
1782 words (5.1 pages)

Essay about Galileo’s Legacy

- In papal Rome in the early 16th century the “Good Book” was the reference book for all scientists. If a theory was supported in its holy pages, or at the very least not contradicted, then the idea had a chance of find acceptance outside the laboratory. Likewise, no theory no matter how well documented could be viewed with anything but disdain if it contradicted with the written word of, or the Church’s official interpretation of scripture. For these reasons the Church suppressed helio-centric thinking to the point of making it a hiss and a byword....   [tags: Galileo Essays]

Strong Essays
1288 words (3.7 pages)