March 27, 2017 Philosophy

Brecht developed the performance style Epic Theatre. Brecht says ???the essential point of epic theatre is that it appeals less to the feelings than to the spectator??™s reason???. Instead of sharing an experience the spectator must come to grips with the issues. Brecht defined epic theatre early as ???a sequence of events or incidents, narrated without artificial restrictions as to time, place or any relevance to a formal plot???.
Epic theatre is the term used generally to describe Brecht??™s theory and technique. His plays were ???epic??™ in that the dramatic action was episodic ??“ a disconnected montage of scenes; non-representational staging, and the ???alienation effect??™. All elements contribute to Brecht??™s overall purpose which was to comment on the political, social and economic elements that affected the lives of his characters.
Brecht??™s aim always was to ensure that his audiences should be made not only to feel emotions but to be made to think, to see that choices can be made, conditions changed; that humankind makes itself and is not dominated by fate or unalterable destiny how to write an essay for medical school.
The ???alienation effect??™ was developed by Brecht in the 1920??™s and 30??™s. It is a technique which ???enstranges??™ the audience and forces them to question the social realities of the situations being presented in the play. Brecht achieved this by breaking the illusion created by conventional plays of the time. He believed that the ???suspension of disbelief??™ created by realistic drama was a shallow spectacle, with manipulative plots and heightened emotion. This theatre is a form of ???escapism??™ and did not challenge the audience at all. Rather than feel a deep connection to the characters Brecht believed that an emotional distance should be maintained. It is only when this happens, that the audience can effectively critique and evaluate the struggle between the characters and understand the social realities of the narrative.
This is evident in Mother Courage and Her Children when we see Mother Courage signing a lullaby to her daughter Kattrin and then later paying for her funeral without any emotion. The ambivalence and irony of the characters, particularly Mother Courage is what is so alienating about the play. We find ourselves constantly questioning the role of Mother Courage. What kind of mother is she How is she courageous The audience questions the presentation they see before them, which is exactly what Brecht wanted his audience to do.
Mother Courage as a character questions the audiences understanding of what a mother is, and how they should act. Mother Courage fails to protect her children, usually as a result of her placing economic advancement above the safety of her children. Her philosophy is that without money and the cart from which they do business, she would not be able to live, yet it is this action of placing her cart before her children that plays a part in their death. In opposition to these so-called ???unmotherly??™ actions, is the character of Kattrin. She is kind-hearted, putting the needs of others above her own and impulsively mothers those in need such as the child whose mother has been hurt. The most notable moment, being when she refuses to stop her banging on the drum in the final scene to ensure that the people of Halle are warned of the approaching enemy soldiers.
Throughout the play, the audience witnesses numerous characters that make a living from the war, as their services would not be so highly regarded in ???peacetime??™. Mother Courage is invaluable during wartime, selling her produce to soldiers and companies who might not be able to get these products from elsewhere. Yvette has an entire army of men with who temp with her services and the commanders and people in positions of authority are transformed from ordinary people to those with power and influence over others. These characters help show that everything is for sale during a war, and anything even loyalty, religion, children and morals can be bought and sold for the right price.
Didactism is the instruction or teaching or a moral lesson. Brecht??™s plays are didactic in that they all serve to teach the audience or send a message about certain aspects of society, politics or economy. There are plays which are designed to educate the performers and audience. It stems from Brecht??™s Marxist beliefs and the plays generally show the middleclass society negatively and the rightness of Marxist morality.


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