Bertolt Brecht ‘s position on the map of theater was that it should arouse its audience to alter. The heroic poem theater, Karl Marx and German managers Max Reinhardt and Erwin Piscator were all inspiration for Brecht ‘s theory on the societal map of theater.
( ? ? ? 2004: 709 )
Brecht ‘s essays ‘Theatre for Pleasure or Theatre for Instruction ‘ and ‘The Modern Theatre is the Epic Theatre ‘ clearly sketch his apprehension of what heroic poem theater is and how it should be used in pattern. In both essays, Brecht explains what makes the heroic theatre different from modern and dramatic theater and discusses the techniques available with heroic poem theater and the effects they can hold on the audience. When comparing his drama Mother Courage and Her Children to the two essays, it is clear that Brecht has used the essays about as guidelines to compose the drama and set his theories on heroic poem theater into pattern. Mother Courage and Her Children is an highly typical Brechtian drama as it contains all the elements that Brecht wanted to include in his dramas in order to show his new signifier of theater which he believed had a greater societal map.
One of the most obvious illustrations of Brecht ‘s essays being put into pattern in Mother Courage and Her Children is Brecht ‘s usage of narrative alternatively of the secret plan. Each scene begins with a narrative description of what will go on in that scene, and the drama itself starts with a prologue which introduces the cardinal character ( Mother Courage ) and reveals what the drama is approximately. Despite the fact that there is a plot line running through the drama, the narrative manner ties in with Brecht ‘s purpose of non giving the audience the opportunity to go emotionally attached to the characters. The manner in which the drama jumps with each scene keeps the storyline general and tied more to the greater societal events running throughout the drama instead than individual, single events in a peculiar scene.
Having spent much of his life in Germany and sing two universe wars, it should come as no surprise that many of Brecht ‘s dramas, including Mother Courage and Her Children, characteristic war as the overruling subject of the drama. Brecht believed that war was ‘a continuance of concern by other agencies. ‘
Brecht ‘s theory on theater meant that he did non desire his audience to emotionally sympathize with the characters on phase. In fact, Brecht intentionally created characters which would be capable to unfavorable judgment from the audience.
In order to ask for this active instead than inactive response from the audience, to arouse a reaction, Brecht instils traits in his characters which tend to do the audience non place with them, but knock them. Mother Courage is portrayed as a strong, witty, formidable adult female whose exclusive intent is to supply a life for both herself and her kids. She is a sacrificial character and her love for her kids draws an audience to like her. What prevents the audience from sympathizing with her is her highly contradictory nature.
Whilst drawing out a knife at the Sergeant and Recruiting Officer to protect her kids, Courage calls refers to herself and her kids as ‘peaceable kinds ‘ . The Sergeant ‘s cool answer of ‘your knife shows the kind you are ‘ farther shows Courage ‘s contradictions. ( Brecht 2004: 715 ) When directing her girl Kattrin into town with the Clerk, Courage tells her non to worry and that ‘nothing will go on ‘ , but upon Kattrin ‘s return where she is wounded, Courage claims she should ne’er hold Lashkar-e-Taiba her travel. When reasoning with the Cook over a possible move to Utrecht, Courage tries to stop the conversation with ‘that ‘s adequate ‘ , merely to go on it herself moments subsequently.
In the same scene, Courage encourages Kattrin for the two to travel with the Cook to run his saloon in Utrecht because ‘life on the route is no kind of life ‘ , but after she sees Kattrin seeking to run away she rapidly turns on the Cook and inquiries what she and Kattrin would of all time make in a saloon. Of class the greatest contradiction of all throughout the drama is Courage ‘s changeless unfavorable judgment of the war off of which she makes her populating. It is this contradictory nature of Courage ‘s which invariably reminds the audience to see the character from a distance, analyse her so to talk, and non sympathize with her state of affairs. Had Mother Courage been presented as a fully-rounded character, the audience would hold been tempted to sympathize ; but her presentation as a self-contradictory character helps to ‘jolt the audience into some sort of reaction.
‘ ( Leach 1994: 136 )
Mother Courage is non the lone character in the drama that is given a specific trait to maintain the audience empathising and going emotionally involved with her. Her boies – Eilif and Swiss Cheese – are both killed in the drama, and it is because of their defects that they are killed. Her eldest boy, Eilif, is strong and intelligent, but his daring costs him his life. Her younger boy, Swiss Cheese, is simple and honest, but he excessively is led to his decease because of his stupidity.
The audience are invariably reminded throughout the drama by Mother Courage that her kids have these traits. ‘I have another who is foolish but honest ‘ is merely one illustration of Brecht giving Mother Courage a specific line for two grounds: both to remind the audience of the paradoxes each character possesses, to halt them from being empathised with, and to back up the heroic poem thought of the drama that each scene should be its ain. It is often seen in Brecht ‘s dramas for an off-stage character ‘s absence to be explained through an on-stage character ‘s duologue. ( ref )
Robert Leach argues that for Brecht, ‘character is merely of involvement in so far as it illuminates the fleeting event which provides the author, or the histrion, with a useable gesture.
‘ What Leach is stating is that for Brecht, the character is merely a map to the greater societal and economical forces which control and shape the universe ( within the constructed world that are his dramas ) , and that the histrions, whilst portraying characters, can utilize them as tools to demo the consequence of these greater societal deductions. This can be linked to Brecht ‘s observation in the essay ‘Theatre for Pleasure or Theatre for Instruction ‘ that ‘actors excessively refrained from traveling over entirely into their function…
‘ in the sense that non merely did histrions make so to ask for unfavorable judgment from the audience of their characters, non merely to pull attending off from the person and topographic point it on the societal, but to besides demo that the characters are merely functional to the societal.
Another one of Brecht ‘s chief purposes was to non concentrate on the single emotions of the character, but to research and demo the importance of the greater societal deductions. In Mother Courage and Her Children, accent is non put on the determinations the characters make but the societal events which dictate the action of the drama. War, faith and household are three chief subjects which run through Mother Courage and Her Children, and finally the destiny of each character is determined by these subjects.
Unlike realistic dramas where accent is normally placed on the person, in Mother Courage and Her Children Brecht focuses on the relationship between the societal deductions and the characters of the drama. All of the characters in the drama are linked together by these subjects, and their inability to alter their single ( or in the instance of Courage and her kids, combined ) state of affairss. ( Examples ) Brecht has created Mother Courage as the cardinal character of the drama, but because it is non merely her, but all the characters that are affected by the war, the witness ‘s focal point is neither on the cardinal character Mother Courage nor any of the character. The witness ‘s focal point is drawn, by associating the characters and doing them unable to alter their state of affairss, to the supplanting societal subjects presented in the drama.
Brecht liked the impression that heroic poem theater allowed for leaps in clip, and this is reflected in Mother Courage and Her Children. There is a leap in clip between each scene of the drama, normally a twelvemonth or two, and the changeless curves and leaps in the drama – the dialectic attack – allow for Brecht to demo a procedure and effects over clip instead than one peculiar point of clip and its single consequence on characters. ( Brooker 1994: 189 ) These leaps in clip besides let the drama to be ‘epic ‘ in the sense that they allow each scene to stand independently. The leaps in clip besides travel hand-in-hand with Brecht ‘s thought that with heroic poem theater, the audience should be looking with ‘eyes on the class ‘ instead than ‘eyes on the coating ‘ .
Swiss Cheese ‘s decease and Mother Courage ‘s refusal to acknowledge the organic structure is his is one of the most intense minutes of the full drama, but it comes every bit early as Scene Three. Besides, the leaps in clip show ‘man as a procedure ‘ instead than ‘man as a fixed point ‘ . Rather than concentrating on the cardinal character ( Mother Courage ) at one peculiar point, Brecht draws out the drama so that the audience position Courage ‘s ‘process ‘ and development as a character topic to the societal and political fortunes. The terminal of the drama sees Mother Courage, now wholly entirely ; walk with soldiers who are singing the same vocal that is sung in the prologue, reminding the audience of the procedure that has begun from the really beginning of the drama and the consequence it has had throughout.
The leaps in clip between each scene of Mother Courage and Her Children are typical of Brecht ‘s purpose to acquire the audience to look at the events that have taken topographic point from a more general period of clip instead than a specific point.
One of the cardinal parts of Brecht ‘s theory on theater was that the audience should invariably cognize that what they are watching is non world but a building being presented on phase. By making so, Brecht could demo to his audience that what they were watching was non world but a presented image of world, and that could animate alteration. To this terminal Brecht used several techniques in many of his dramas ( including Mother Courage and Her Children ) which allowed him to uncover that the drama was so a building.
A typical Brechtian technique used in the drama is the usage of phase waies at the start of each scene, which so uncover what is traveling to go on in that scene. By utilizing these phase waies ( either spoken aloud or displayed with posters on phase ) Brecht is able to both remind his audience that what they are watching is a building. Besides, by stating the audience what will go on before it happens, Brecht can extinguish the daze factor, therefore maintaining the audience off from holding an experience and focused on larning from the action on phase. Openly uncovering that the drama is non existent allows Brecht to forestall any sense of emotional fond regard to the piece.
This can be linked to Brecht ‘s essay ‘The Modern Theatre is The Epic Theatre ‘ where he says: ‘…once semblance is sacrificed to free treatment, and one time the witness, alternatively of being enabled to hold an experience, is forced as it were to project his ballot ; so a alteration has been launched which goes far beyond formal affairs and Begins for the first clip to impact the theater ‘s societal map. ‘
Brecht provinces in his essay ‘The Modern Theatre is Epic Theatre ‘ that ‘words, music and scene must go more independent of one another. ‘ ( mention ) This statement is echoed in Mother Courage and Her Children as Brecht uses non merely duologue and phase waies but vocals and music in the drama, and makes certain that the vocals used are seen on an equal degree to the other elements such as words. In fact, Scene Ten of the drama is constructed wholly of merely a few phase waies and vocal.
By giving the vocals such importance in the drama, on the same degree as phase waies and duologue, Brecht implements his thought into pattern, demoing that he has used his two essays about as guidelines for composing Mother Courage and Her Children. Songs are besides used in the drama to suit in with Brecht ‘s theory that plays should non be presented to the audience as world, but as a building. The direct bringing of a vocal from a character to the audience, therefore interrupting the 4th wall, is one of the ways in which the audience is reminded that they are so watching a drama. The vocals besides tend to reflect the societal and political subjects of the drama and animate the audience to believe about what they are watching.
Looking at ‘Theatre for Pleasure or Theatre for Instruction ‘ and ‘The Modern Theatre is the Epic Theatre ‘ in comparing with Mother Courage and Her Children, it is clear to see that the drama falls into all of the classs that Brecht lists in his two essays for his theory on the map of theater. Throughout the drama the focal point is taken off from the characters ‘ single emotions and drawn to the greater societal and political forces which affect the characters. The drama is used as a treatment forum of kinds for some of the common Brechtian subjects such as war, faith and household. The usage of non-naturalist techniques such as posters and vocals helps to interrupt the semblance that the audience creates and prevents them from developing empathy for and emotional fond regard to the characters.
The leaps in clip between each scene of the drama maintain the audience ‘s focal point on the procedure over clip and non at a fixed point. Mother Courage and Her Children is without inquiry of Brecht ‘s most typical dramas and it is clear to see his essays ‘Theatre for Pleasure or Theatre for Instruction ‘ and ‘The Modern Theatre is the Epic Theatre ‘ have been put into pattern to make the drama and animate the audience to alter, instead than experience.