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موضوع: Mother Courage by Bertolt Brecht

  1. #1
    عضو فعال آواتار Obscure
    تاریخ عضویت
    Nov 2011
    موقعیت
    Tehran
    ارسالها
    114

    Red face Mother Courage by Bertolt Brecht

    Mother Courage by Bertolt Brecht




    Plot Overview


    Mother Courage opens in Dalarna, spring 1624, in the midst of the Thirty Years War. A Sergeant and Recruiting Officer are seeking soldiers for the Swedish campaign in Poland. A canteen wagon appears, bearing the infamous Mother Courage, her dumb daughter, Kattrin, and her sons, Eilif and Swiss Cheese.
    The Recruiting Officer attempts to seduce Eilif into the army. Courage demands that he leave her children alone. The Sergeant protests and asks why, since Courage lives off the war, it should not ask something of her in return. When Eilif admits that he would like to sign up, Courage foretells the fate of her children: Eilif will die for his bravery, Swiss Cheese for his honesty, and Kattrin for her kindness. Courage readies to leave. The Recruiting Officer presses the Sergeant to stop them. While the Sergeant feigns to buy one of Courage's belts, the Recruiting Officer takes Eilif away.
    In 1626, Courage appears beside the tent of the Swedish Commander, arguing with the Cook over the sale of a capon. The Commander, a Chaplain, and Eilif enter the tent, the Commander lauding his brave soldier for raiding the local peasants. Courage remarks that trouble must be afoot. If the campaign was any good, he would not need brave soldiers. Courage reunites with her son.
    Three years later, Courage and Kattrin appear folding washing on a cannon with Swiss Cheese, now a paymaster, and Yvette Pottier, the camp prostitute, look on. Yvette recounts the story of her lost beau, Peter Piper.
    The Chaplain and Cook appear and they talk about politics. The Cook remarks ironically that their king is lucky to have his campaign justified by God: otherwise, he could be accused of seeking profit alone. Suddenly cannons explode; the Catholics have launched a surprise attack. The Cook departs for the Commander. Swiss arrives and hides his regiment's cash box in the wagon.
    Three days later, the remaining characters sit eating anxiously. When Courage and the Chaplain go to town, Swiss departs to return the cash box unaware that an enemies are lurking about to arrest him. When Courage and the Chaplain return, two men bring in Swiss. Mother and son pretend to not know each other.

    That evening, Kattrin and the Chaplain appear rinsing glasses. An excited Courage enters, declaring that they can buy Swiss' freedom. Yvette has picked up an old Colonel who will buy the canteen; Courage only plans to pawn and reclaim it after two weeks with the money from the cash box. Thanking God for corruption, Courage sends Yvette to bribe One Eye with the 200 guilders.
    Yvette reports that the enemy has agreed. Swiss, however, has thrown the cash box into the river. Courage hesitates, thinking that she will not be able to reclaim the wagon. Courage proposes a new offer, 120 guilders. Yvette returns, saying that they rejected it, and Swiss' execution is imminent. Drums roll in the distance. Two men enter with a stretcher, asking Courage if she can identify Swiss Cheese's body. Courage shakes her head, consigning the body to the carrion pit.
    Courage then appears outside an officer's tent, planning to file a complaint over the destruction of her merchandise. A Young Soldier enters, threatening the captain's murder. Apparently he has stolen his reward for rescuing the Colonel's horse. Courage tells him to quiet down, since his rage will not last. Defeated, the soldier leaves, and Courage follows.
    Two years pass, and the wagon stands in a war-ravaged village. The Chaplain staggers in; there is another wounded family of peasants in the farmhouse. He needs linen. Courage refuses, as she will not sacrifice her officers' shirts. The Chaplain lifts her off the wagon and takes the shirts.
    The canteen sits before the funeral of Commander Tilly in 1632. Mother Courage and Kattrin take inventory inside the canteen tent. Courage asks the Chaplain if the war will end—she needs to know if she should buy more supplies. The Chaplain responds that war always finds a way. Courage resolves to buy new supplies, and sends Kattrin to town. Kattrin returns with a wound across her eye and forehead, as she was attacked en route. Counting the scattered merchandise, Courage curses the war. Immediately afterward she appears at the height of prosperity, dragging her new wares along a highway. She celebrates war as her breadwinner.
    A year later, voices announce that peace has been declared. Suddenly the Cook arrives, bedraggled and penniless. Courage and Cook flirt as they recount their respective ruin. The Chaplain emerges, and the men begin to argue, fighting for the feedbag. When Courage defends the Cook, the Chaplain calls her a "hyena of the battlefield." Courage suggests they part company. Suddenly an older, fatter, and heavily powdered Yvette enters. The widow of a colonel, she has come to visit Courage. When she sees the Cook, she unmasks him as the Peter Piper that ruined her years ago. Courage calms her and takes her to town.
    Both men are now convinced that they are lost. Eilif then enters in fetters. He faces execution for another of his raids and has come to see his mother for the last time. The soldiers take him away and cannons thunder. Courage appears, breathless. The war resumed three days ago and they must flee with the wagon. She invites the Cook to join her, hoping that she will see Eilif soon.
    It is autumn of 1634. A hard winter has come early. Courage and the Cook appear in rags before a parsonage. Abruptly the Cook tells her that he has received a letter from Utrecht saying that his mother has died and left him the family inn. He invites her to join him there. However, they must leave Kattrin behind. Kattrin overhears their conversation.
    Calling to the parsonage, the Cook then sings "The Song of the Great Souls of the Earth" for food. It recounts how the great souls meet their dark fates on account of their respective virtues—wisdom, bravery, honesty, and kindness. Courage decides she cannot leave her daughter. Kattrin climbs out of the wagon, planning to flee, but Courage stops her. They depart.
    It is January 1636 and the wagon stands near a farmhouse outside Halle. Kattrin is inside; her mother has gone to town to buy supplies. Out of the woods come a Catholic Lieutenant and three soldiers, seeking a guide to the town. The Catholic regiment readies for a surprise attack. Convinced there is nothing they can do, the peasants begin to pray. Quietly Kattrin climbs on the roof and begins to beat a drum. The soldiers shoot Kattrin. Her final drumbeats mingle with the thunder of a cannon. She has saved the town.
    Toward morning, Courage sits by Kattrin's body in front of the wagon. Courage sings Kattrin a lullaby. The peasants bring her to her senses and offer to bury her daughter. Courage pays them and harnesses herself to the wagon. "I must get back into business" she resolves and moves after the regiment.

    </H3>
    منبع:sparknotes
    You are my heart
    my soul,
    my treasure,
    My today,
    my tomorrow,
    my forever,
    My everything!



  2. #2
    عضو فعال آواتار Obscure
    تاریخ عضویت
    Nov 2011
    موقعیت
    Tehran
    ارسالها
    114

    پیشفرض

    Character List


    Note: Mother Courage features a multitude of minor characters, most of whom named by their social position or military position (e.g. Young Peasant or Sergeant), who encounter Mother Courage through the course of her journeys. This list does not include them.

    Mother Courage - The play's wise woman. Courage delivers shrewd commentary on the realities of the war.

    Kattrin - Courage's dumb daughter. Undergoes a lot of trauma during the war, and ends up disfigured.

    Eilif - The first child Mother Courage loses to the army. Eilif is the warlike son, eager to join the war and carry out its brutal business. Ostensibly, his fatal virtue is his Caesar-like "bravery," though the accolades he receives are certainly in question. His rise to power—reflected in his costume—involves nothing more than a series of cunning, murderous raids on the local peasantry, raids motivated by the need to keep his men fed.

    Swiss Cheese - The first of Mother Courage's children to die. Swiss Cheese suffers from an excessive sense of duty and honesty and ultimately dies because of it—in other words, during the war, his virtues cost him his life. Courage instills these qualities in him because he is not particularly bright.

    Cook - The Chaplain's rival for Courage's affections and bread. The Cook is an aging Don Juan, a bachelor long past his prime. Darkly ironic, he is all too aware of the war as a continuation of business as usual, continually unmasking the divinely inspired military campaign as another massive profit scheme. In understanding his social position, he bears no loyalty to the rulers who would exploit him: as he tells the Chaplain, he does not eat the King's bread but bakes it.

    Chaplain - One of two characters dependent on Mother Courage as their "feedbag." The Chaplain initially appears as a cynical, wooden character. He remains loyal to the Swedish monarchy and the campaign as a war of religion though cannot but notice the horrors around him. The Chaplain also reveals more sympathetic qualities, particularly when he defies Courage and attempts to save the local peasants at the Battle of Magdeburg. At Magdeburg, the Courage Model Book shows him recalling a sense of his former importance and understanding himself as someone oppressed by the war. Indeed, as he will tell the Cook, his life as a tramp makes it impossible to return to the priesthood and all its attendant beliefs.

    Yvette Pottier - Initially appearing as a camp prostitute, Yvette is the only character who will make her fortune through the war, marrying and inheriting the estate of a lecherous old Colonel. A woman ruined by the war, she mourns her lost love yet remains bent on securing her interests. Brecht underlines the price she pays for her wealth with her "disfigurement," Yvette returning obese and grotesque after her years of marriage. Notably, Yvette functions as both a sort of object lesson and object of fascination for Kattrin. She would at once harden Kattrin to love and embody a feminine eroticism that Kattrin playfully imitates.

    منبع:sparknotes
    </H3>
    You are my heart
    my soul,
    my treasure,
    My today,
    my tomorrow,
    my forever,
    My everything!



  3. #3
    عضو فعال آواتار Obscure
    تاریخ عضویت
    Nov 2011
    موقعیت
    Tehran
    ارسالها
    114

    پیشفرض

    Scene One


    Summary

    Mother Courage opens in Dalarna, in spring of 1624. A Sergeant and Recruiting Officer are recruiting soldiers for the Swedish campaign in Poland. They stand shivering on a highway outside a town. The Officer complains of the difficulty in recruiting soldiers from the untrustworthy townspeople. The Sergeant declares that the people could use a good war. Without war, there is no organization.

    A harmonica is heard, and a canteen wagon appears on stage. The infamous Mother Courage sits on it with her dumb daughter, Kattrin, and her sons, Eilif and Swiss Cheese pull it along. Introducing herself to the officers, she sings her trademark song. A "sales pitch" of sorts, it markets the wares that will help the soldiers march to their deaths. She calls the soldiers to wake: "Let all of you who still survive/ Get out of bed and look alive!"
    The Sergeant demands to see her license. Fishing out a number of papers, Courage mocks his request. He again bemoans the lack of discipline in the army and asks the group's names. Courage reveals her family's rather colorful lineage, each of her children being the offspring of a different, and perhaps forgotten, father of a different nationality. The two officers deride her, and Eilif threatens to punch them out. Courage silences him and offers the men her wares.
    The Recruiting Officer reveals his intentions and attempts to seduce Eilif into the army. Courage demands that he leave her children alone, ultimately drawing her knife. The Sergeant protests, saying that since Courage lives off the war, the war should not ask something of her in return. The war has not done him any harm. Looking into the future, Courage disagrees. To her, the Sergeant is a corpse on furlough.
    To confirm her prophecy, she has the Sergeant choose his fortune. Courage puts two strips of parchment in his helmet, drawing a black cross on one of them. She mixes them, and he draws. To his horror, the Sergeant has chosen his death.
    Unbeknown to Courage, the Recruiting Officer has continued his pursuit of Eilif. When Eilif admits that he would like to sign up, Courage similarly foretells the fate of her children. Each draw the black cross as well. She laments their fate. Eilif will die for his excessive bravery, Swiss Cheese for his honesty, and Kattrin for her kindness. Sorrowfully, she readies to leave.
    The Recruiting Officer presses the Sergeant to stop them. The Sergeant examines one of Courage's belts, taking her behind the wagon. Simultaneously the Recruiting Officer takes Eilif off for a drink. A horrified Kattrin leaps from the wagon and starts screaming. Courage emerges and stands still, realizing she has lost her child. Bitterly the family departs. Looking after them, the Sergeant delivers his own epigrammatic prophecy: "When a war gives you all you earn/ One day it may claim something in return!"

    Analysis

    Despite all of Brecht's efforts, many critics received initial productions of Mother Courage as a tragedy bemoaning how people have little control over their fate and find themselves powerless before the forces of war. But no interpretation is further from Brecht's text.
    As Brecht was fond of noting, Mother Courage is a "business play." War is not some fatidic entity but the "sum of everyone's business transactions," it is the continuation of business "by other means." Courage is all too aware of war as a set of business practices. For example, she charges that the Recruiting Officer only seeks her son for his five-guilder commission. Courage also makes explicit the brutality in these circuits of exchange—circuits involving the purchase and payment of blood and flesh. As she sings: "The blood they spill for you is red, sir,/What fires that blood is my red meat." Courage makes her living off this economy. As the sergeant notes, the war is her "breadwinner." Similarly, her participation in the business of war causes her to lose "blood and flesh."
    Note that this "demystification" of the war's social underpinnings does not exclude war from what the mystifications of rhetoric. The war is anthropomorphized. For example, the Sergeant refers to a "poor war," who must ask nothing in return and look after itself. This anthropomorphism is necessary to the play's allegory of war as business. War is Courage's deadly partner.
    War does not figure as an interruption of "business as usual": instead, it is both its precondition and consequence. Thus the Sergeant will declare that there is "no organization" without war. In his fantasy of peace, people eat what they will, leave their possessions uncounted, and even come to have no names. In war, "everyone registers," and all the goods are counted for the army to take away. He then concludes: "That's the story: no organization, no war!" War and organization are mutually constitutive. In other words, war brings the organization of society, and, more provocatively, perhaps, the organization of society brings war. Initially the wandering Courage appears to elude this system of organization. For example, note her derision at the Sergeant's request for her papers and the account of her children's uncertain lineages. At the same time, as the theft of Eilif indicates, she is also its victim.
    This scene proceeds through a number of other allegories as well. Take, for example, the telling of the children's destinies, a sequence prefigured by the metaphor of war as a deadly gambler. In this sequence, Mother Courage plays seer, holding a helmet, metonymically evoking a skull, from which each of her children draws lots. As she tears the parchment for these lots, she cries that her family will be torn in two if they involve themselves too deeply in the war. These lots are in turn mixed together just as we are in the womb. The allegory seems clear enough, that the parchment represents the renting of the family, and each child's selection of his fate tearing him from the mother.
    Courage then narrates the fatal flaws that will lead the children to their demise: bravery, honesty, and kindness. Thus, Mother Courage announces how war will make virtues fatal to those who exercise them. Brecht clearly has the tradition of the morality play—which featured an Everyman as its protagonist and various characters personifying Vices and Virtues—in mind. There is obviously a reason why the heroine's name is Courage.
    Mother Courage is no morality play. First, its heroine is not an Everyman, nor will Courage offer a "universal figure" with which the audience can immediately identify. Second, the play finds irony in its personifications. Courage, for example, becomes Courage for her mercenary nature when she drove through a bombardment to keep a cart full of bread. Similarly, Mother Courage subjects its allegories to alienation by exploiting allegory's most irritating features: its heavy-handedness and the apparently arbitrary relationship between its terms. Brecht makes the arbitrariness in an allegory evident. Kattrin is a "cross in herself," war is a dice player. This revelation of the gap between allegory's terms functions to alienate or distance the spectator from the spectacle in hopes of generating his critical reflection.
    The other major "distanciation effects" in this opening scene lie in Brecht's stage techniques. Again, recall that Mother Courage in large part offers a model for the epic theater. A key device in this scene is the emptiness of the stage. Brecht understood the void produced in this first scene as a horizon lying open to the enterprising family that prefigures the space of measureless devastation in which the play ends. Moreover, the spectator was to understand the void as the actors' tabusa rasa. In seeing this void take shape, the spectator would in turn subject the actors' interpretations to scrutiny.

    منبع:sparknotes
    </H3>
    You are my heart
    my soul,
    my treasure,
    My today,
    my tomorrow,
    my forever,
    My everything!



  4. #4
    عضو فعال آواتار Obscure
    تاریخ عضویت
    Nov 2011
    موقعیت
    Tehran
    ارسالها
    114

    پیشفرض

    Scene Two


    Summary

    In 1625–1626, Mother Courage journeys through Poland with the Swedish army. The scene begins in the tent of the Swedish Commander and the adjacent kitchen outside the besieged town of Wallhof. Courage is arguing with the Cook over the sale of a capon, a castrated rooster. She cries that the soldiers are starving, chasing after field rats and drooling over boiled leather—no food is left. If the Cook does not buy the capon, the Commander will take his head. Nonplussed, the Cook begins to prepare an old cut of beef.
    The Commander, a Chaplain, and Eilif enter the tent, the Commander lauding the young man for a recent raid on the local peasants. Angrily he calls for meat. Having overheard the conversation, Courage rejoices at finding her son again and forces the capon on the Cook for a pretty penny.
    Eilif recounts the raid. Upon learning that the peasants had hidden their oxen, he began to deprive his men of their meat rations to make them desperate for food. When his company attacked, however, they found that the peasants outnumbered them. Four cornered Eilif. Laughing, he bid on the oxen to confuse them and then he retrieved his sword and chopped them to pieces. "Necessity knows no law, huh?" he chuckles.
    The Commander asks the Chaplain what he thinks of the tale. Cynically, the Chaplain notes that Jesus told men to love their neighbor at a time when their bellies were full, but this is no longer the case. The Commander remarks that Eilif got his men meat, and any act done for the least of God's children is done for God. He celebrates Eilif's bravery, calling him Julius Caesar, and declares that he should be presented to the king. In the kitchen, Courage remarks that trouble must be afoot. If the Commander's campaign were any good, he would not need brave soldiers. Indeed, great virtues always signal that something is amiss.
    The Commander declares that Eilif's father must have been a great warrior. The boy concurs and sings a song of warning Courage taught him called "The Song of the Wise Woman and the Soldier." It tells of a soldier who joins the fight against the advice of a wise woman and dies, vanishing like smoke and leaving nothing but glorious deeds that cannot console the living. Courage picks up the song from the kitchen, beating on a pan with a spoon. Eilif enters and embraces her. She boxes him on the ear for failing to back down when the peasants attacked him.
    Analysis

    Scene Two continues to elaborate the brutal business of war. Simply put, the people are starving—to put it otherwise would probably contravene Brecht's dark antiwar humor. Note the trope of meat: the Commander screams for meat; for the Commander, the peasants stuff their priests with beef at both ends; the farmers want to make mincemeat out of Eilif. Everyone is out for flesh and the depravity of war is clear. Eilif's glorious deeds, told in the barest terms, are theft and murder. His ostensible bravery, the virtue that supposedly does him in, is more brutal than heroic. All too quickly in this war waged in the name of God does the Commander's religious sophistry justifies his crimes, though certainly the Chaplain disapproves of the young murderer. Mother Courage exploits the situation to gain an extra buck.
    Along with appearing as the opportunist ever bent on her survival, Courage figures anew as the wise woman, taking up her voice in Eilif's song as she foretells the soldier's death. Like much of the play's music, this song functions autonomously as a "plot within the plot" that once again foreshadows the son's demise. The Frankfurt School theorist Walter Benjamin notes the profusion of such thinkers and wise men in Brecht's plays, characters he describes as "untragic heroes." For Benjamin, these thinkers evoke an uncharted tradition of attaching a third party observer to the action. Such device generally remains artificial according to most standards of dramaturgy but appears consistent with the principles of epic form—in particular, with pedagogical intentions and its decomposition of the theatrical illusion.
    In this scene, the thinker is an eavesdropper, commenting on the conversation in the adjacent playing space. Courage's reflections are once again on virtues during wartime. Here virtues serve as evidence that soldiers are unwittingly under the thumb of incompetent officers. The soldier's bravery can only cover over a leadership that needs it. In a well-regulated country, everyone could be ordinary, middling, and even cowardly.
    Key staging elements include the use of the half-curtain, back projection, and poster. First, Brecht's famous half curtains serve to create various playing spaces on stage. This scene reveals one of its uses in its construction of eavesdropping. As we will see, the multiplication of playing spaces will allow for dialectical confrontations between events on-stage. As noted in the Courage Model Book, the Berlin production set the stage for these confrontations by attempting to eliminate all romantic remnants of atmosphere. It primarily did so by replacing background projections, traditionally used to convey certain locales, with the countries' names in stark, black letters. This anti-illusion device would at once locate the action in its historical context and force the spectator to become the action's critical observer.
    Also of note is the introductory poster sketching the scene. Mother Courage meets her son, successfully sells a capon, and learns of Eilif's exploits. For Benjamin, these posters exemplify the epic progression of the play. By emphasizing individual events, the epic "loosens the joints" of the linear plot and allows itself to cover vast spans of time. Suspense lies not in outcome but in the events themselves. Thus, for Benjamin, the epic puts itself in league with the true and decidedly non-linear movement of history.
    </H3>
    You are my heart
    my soul,
    my treasure,
    My today,
    my tomorrow,
    my forever,
    My everything!



  5. #5
    عضو فعال آواتار Obscure
    تاریخ عضویت
    Nov 2011
    موقعیت
    Tehran
    ارسالها
    114

    پیشفرض

    Scene Three—Part I


    Summary

    Three years later, Mother Courage and Kattrin fold washing on a cannon. At the same time, Courage bargains with an Ordinance Officer over a bag of bullets. Swiss Cheese, now in a paymaster's uniform, and Yvette Pottier, the camp prostitute, look on. Yvette's red boots stand nearby.
    Courage declares that she will not buy military property, reproaching the officer for selling ammunition when his soldiers have nothing to shoot with. The officer encourages her to sell them to another regiment and Courage buys the bullets. Giving Swiss Cheese his underwear, Courage enjoins her son to balance the regiment books. Even if the seasons do not come, the books must balance. He leaves with the Officer.
    Courage remarks to Yvette that the war is drawing in more countries, thus her business prospects improve as well. Yvette is desperate because of rumors that she is ill and none of the men will touch her. She starts recounting a familiar story of her Dutch army beau, Peter dubbed Piper for the pipe he always carried in his mouth. The story should harden Kattrin against love. Yvette sings it in "The Fraternization Song," telling of his arrival, their affair, and his departure. She has spent the past five in a futile search for her lover. She moves behind the wagon, and Courage warns her daughter against military affairs.
    The Chaplain and Cook appear. Eilif has requested money; Courage gives some to the Chaplain, chiding her son for speculating in maternal love. The Cook says she is too hard: her son may die at any moment. The Chaplain rejoins that to fall in a war of religion is a blessing to his skeptical interlocutors.
    The three move behind the cart, talking of politics. This campaign has cost the Swedish King a great deal. Neither the Poles nor Germans wanted their freedom from the Kaiser, forcing him to subjugate if not execute them. He got nothing but trouble for his outlays and so he had to levy an unpopular salt tax back home. In any case, his justification by God kept his conscience clear. Without it, he could be accused of seeking profit alone. Courage and the Chaplain chastise their friend for his disloyalty and he eats the king's bread. The Cook disagrees; he does not eat his bread, but instead bakes it.
    While the three converse, Kattrin's dons Yvette's boots and imitates her sashay. Suddenly cannons, shots, and drums explode: the Catholics have launched a surprise attack. The Ordnance Officer and a Soldier enter and attempt to move the cannon. The Cook departs for the Commander, leaving his pipe behind. The Chaplain remains, wringing a cloak from the reluctant Courage to disguise himself. Discovering Kattrin, Courage rips off the boots and smears her face with dirt. When a clean face appears before a soldier, another whore comes into the world. To her horror, Swiss Cheese arrives and stupidly hides the regiment cash box in the wagon. They quickly take down the regiment flag.
    Analysis

    Scene Three opens with a scene of haggling and ends with Courage nearly refusing the Chaplain a cloak, again presenting war as the continuation of business by other means. The metaphor appears most explicitly in a discussion of the war's politics by Courage, the Chaplain, and the Cook, a discussion that exemplifies the pedagogical intentions of the epic theater.
    Initially Courage and the Chaplain share the received, nationalist opinions about the war, that the King only intended to liberate the Poles and Germans from the tyrannical Kaiser and had to retaliate when so unreasonably attacked by these nations. As Courage notes that the Cook is no Swede. The war, as the play suggests throughout, is about profit. Thus the economic metaphor is very appropriate, because the King got nothing but trouble for his outlays and goodness, forcing him to raise taxes back home. Religious serves to allay any guilt over his profiteering. The Cook's awareness of his social position contravenes any blind allegiance to the monarchy. As he tells the Chaplain, he does not eat the king's bread, he bakes it. The Cook understands himself in the service of the King's profiteering.
    Ultimately Courage concurs, adding her own views. For example, the men serving the King are out for profit as well. Moreover, in such desperate times, the fact that men are simply out for money is their salvation, because it is the only means available by which the innocent can protect themselves. Later, like the Cook, Courage will note that the interests of the top and bottom socially are rarely synonymous, and often times the top's defeat is the bottom's victory. Ironically, the Chaplain protests these heresies by invoking the flag on Courage's wagon. As becomes clear in the sequence to follow, national loyalties change colors when survival is in question.
    More important than the content of the trio's dialogue is that dialogue's staging. The talk takes place entirely behind the wagon. The play literally puts distance between the characters and the audience, hampering the spectator's tendency to identify with characters and thus hopefully impelling them to subject the dialogue to a new mode of analysis. This sequence, however, does not only confront the audience with disembodied voices floating across an empty stage. Instead, Kattrin appears trying on Yvette's boots and imitating her sexy walk. Such explicitly polysemic staging, that is, staging that makes use of multiple structures of Signification, has lead many critics to identify Brecht as a forerunner of postmodern drama.
    In this case, the scene juxtaposes two apparently un-related forms of action. How a spectator might read them together remains unclear. In combining the most innocent character with a prostitute, Brecht notes in the Courage Model Book that Kattrin tragically seeks love through the only means available to her during war: that of prostitution. This reading probably overstates the case and it assumes Kattrin's identification with Yvette. It implies, in other words, that Kattrin wants to become a whore.
    Thus Brecht's reading reduces Kattrin's fantasy to identification alone. Notably Kattrin dons the boots, which archetypal fetish object that is Yvette's most memorable feminine lure, in fantasy, as if she is daydreaming. Kattrin imagines herself in an erotic life that the war largely makes impossible. As we will learn later, the war will ultimately disfigure her, ruining her hopes of marriage. Moreover, Courage will intimate that her muteness is perhaps the result of some sexual trauma: "A soldier stuck something in her mouth when she was little." Certainly Courage herself would like her mute and stone-like, or free of any sexual desire. The condition she imposes on her daughter is a wartime necessity. As Courage notes, the boots and Kattrin's pride in feminine self-display stand to make her a whore—a victim of rape.
    </H3>
    You are my heart
    my soul,
    my treasure,
    My today,
    my tomorrow,
    my forever,
    My everything!



  6. #6
    عضو فعال آواتار Obscure
    تاریخ عضویت
    Nov 2011
    موقعیت
    Tehran
    ارسالها
    114

    پیشفرض

    Scene Three—Part II


    Summary

    Three days later, the remaining characters sit eating anxiously. Swiss Cheese worries that his sergeant is wondering about the cash box, and the Chaplain complains of having no one to preach to. Mother Courage has sworn herself a Catholic to keep the canteen safe. The Chaplain asks Swiss Cheese what he plans to do with the cash box. Spies are everywhere, the Chaplain even found a one-eyed fellow sniffing his excrement. Courage also commands her son to leave the cash box where it is. She leaves with the Chaplain, and Kattrin clears the dishes.
    Swiss Cheese resolves to return the cash box, daydreaming about his sergeant's reaction. Two men-an enemy Sergeant and the Man with the Bandage over his eye—confront Kattrin. They ask if she has seen a man from the Second Protestant Regiment and she flees in terror. The men withdraw after seeing Swiss Cheese. Oblivious to the imminent danger, Swiss Cheese prepares to leave. Kattrin does all she can to warn him but to no avail.
    When Courage and the Chaplain return, Kattrin desperately tells her mother what has happened. Suddenly the two men bring in a struggling Swiss Cheese. Mother and son pretend to not know each other. Nevertheless, Courage strongly suggests that Swiss Cheese give up the cash box. The men take him away, and Courage follows.
    That evening, Kattrin and the Chaplain appear rinsing glasses and polishing knives. The Chaplain sings "The Song of the Hours," a song that recounts the passion of Christ. An excited Courage enters, declaring that they must buy Swiss Cheese's freedom. Yvette has picked up a hoary old Colonel who might buy the canteen from her. Courage plans to pawn the wagon and reclaim it after two weeks with the money from the cash box. Yvette seduces the Colonel into the purchase. He exits. Stopping her as she counts the merchandise, Courage sends Yvette to bribe One Eye with the 200 guilders. She thanks God men are corruptible, as corruption is their only hope.
    Yvette returns and reports that One Eye has agreed. She also relates that Swiss Cheese confessed under thumbscrews that he threw the cash box into the river when he was near capture. Courage hesitates and decides that she will not be able to reclaim the wagon. She asks Yvette to return with a new offer of 120 guilders.
    Courage sits to help polish the knives. She muses that they will get Swiss Cheese back, that the war will never end, and that she was once offered 500 guilders for her wagon. Kattrin flees, sobbing behind the wagon. Yvette returns, One Eye rejected her offer, and Swiss Cheese's execution is imminent. Desperately, Courage orders Yvette to tell him that she will pay 200. "I believe—that I've haggled to long" she murmurs.
    Drums roll in the distance. Yvette appears and Swiss Cheese has eleven bullets in him. The army remains convinced that they are hiding the cash box. They are coming with the body. She asks if she should keep Kattrin away and Courage asks that she bring her. Two men enter with a stretcher with a sheet over the top. Raising the sheet, the Sergeant asks Courage if she can identify the body. Courage shakes her head. The Sergeant orders that the body be thrown into the carrion pit: "He has no one that knows him."

    Analysis

    Here Mother Courage loses another child while conducting business. Her haggling over the bribe poses a question prefigured in her joke earlier that Eilif has been speculating in maternal love: how much is a child worth to its mother. Using Yvette as a messenger, this carefully crafted scene raises the tension on- stage with each of her successive and increasingly angry entrances, entrances that foretell Swiss Cheese's demise. As if the butt of some grim joke, Swiss Cheese ends up riddled with bullet holes. He suffers twice over, dying a sort of "second death" in the presentation of Swiss Cheese's body, a death Yvette also announces. His mother refuses to identify him. This symbolic death, denying him recognition and his membership within Courage's family, exiles him to the carrion pit. This death is already prefigured in the first scene, where Courage and her son must pretend that they are strangers.
    In some sense, if Courage cannot bear witness to her son's murder, the silent Kattrin does so for her brother. Kattrin first emerges as witness in Scene One with the recruitment of Eilif. Here, she functions as witness twice, helplessly watching Swiss Cheese walk off to his demise and standing by her mother when she refuses to identify the body. In a sense she bears witness to her brother with her silence in a way the garrulous Mother Courage, forced to lie twice for her survival, cannot. Left impotent in her muteness, the innocent Kattrin appears as a sort of horrified bystander, literally silenced by the traumas of war. Raising her voice against the war will ultimately mean her demise, the act of intervention demanding a self-sacrifice that brings the witness to martyrdom.
    The play's investment in Kattrin's martyrdom seems strange in its commitment to exploring the social contradictions at the heart of the war, since it remains critical of martyrdom almost everywhere else. The Chaplain's comparison of Swiss Cheese to the crucified Jesus seems awkward and overly pious at best. Swiss Cheese does not die a noble death, the irony of his demise lying in his stupidly unwavering honesty. Simply put, the audience wonders why he does not let the cash box go.
    Interestingly, Brecht's production of Mother Courage underscored the strangeness of the play's music to the action by lowering a musical emblem on- stage whenever a song did not directly arise from action or arose from it but remained clearly apart nevertheless. This unrealistic element intended to break the illusion on-stage and raise the music to its own reality, a reality distinct from the action. This decomposition of the dramatic illusion, an effect Brecht pitted against Wagnerian notions of the "total work" of art, would again distance the spectator from the spectacle and force him to consider the interaction between the various elements of the play.
    Along with the fatal haggle, this sequence features another extended scene of exchange: the pawning of the canteen. Yvette, the camp prostitute, figures as another commodity in this economy of flesh, exchanging her body by the money to buy the canteen which will in turn allow Courage to buy her son's life. In the Model Book, Brecht presents Yvette's Colonel as a "negative entity," a lecher whose primary function is to demonstrate, somewhat violently, the price Yvette pays for her work.


    </H3>
    منبع: sparknotes
    You are my heart
    my soul,
    my treasure,
    My today,
    my tomorrow,
    my forever,
    My everything!



  7. #7
    عضو فعال آواتار Obscure
    تاریخ عضویت
    Nov 2011
    موقعیت
    Tehran
    ارسالها
    114

    پیشفرض

    Scenes Four and Five


    Summary

    Scene Four

    Mother Courage appears outside an officer's tent, complaining to a Clerk that the army has destroyed her merchandise and charged her with an illicit fine. She plans to file a complaint with the captain. The Clerk responds that she should be grateful they let her stay in business.
    A Young Soldier enters, threatening the captain's murder. Apparently the captain has stolen his reward for rescuing the Colonel's horse, squandering it on food, drink, and whores. He is hungry and wants to eat. The Commander ordered the army into the fields the year previous, not thinking they would remain in the area. The soldiers ruined the crops, and famine has been the result.
    An Older Soldier tries to calm the younger one. Courage tells him to quiet down, saying that the screamers never last long. His rage will not last. He wonders how much time it will take in the stocks before he realizes that he can bear with injustice. Suddenly the Clerk announces the captain's imminent arrival and orders the group to sit. They follow and Courage remarks that it is better to not rise again.
    Courage then sings "The Song of the Great Capitulation." It tells of a proud man who joined the army and quickly came to submit to its discipline and ultimate capitulation. The soldier leaves and the Clerk informs Courage she can see the captain; she exits as well.
    Scene Five

    Two years have passed and the wagon crosses Poland, Moravia, Bavaria, Italy, and Bavaria again. In 1631, it stands in a war-ravaged village after Tilly's victory at Magdeburg. Mother Courage and Kattrin serve two soldiers at the counter. One wears a stolen women's fur coat. Victory marches play throughout the scene.
    Courage demands that the men pay and they protest that their "humane" commander was bribed and only allowed one hour for plundering. The Chaplain staggers in and there is another family of peasants in the farmhouse. He needs linen, and an excited Kattrin tries to get her mother to fetch some. Courage refuses, as she has sold all her bandages and will not sacrifice her officer's shirts.

    The Chaplain brings in a wounded woman and peasant who stayed behind to protect their farm. All look to the unmoved Courage. Kattrin threatens her with a board. The Chaplain lifts her off the wagon, takes out the shirts, and begins tearing them in strips. From the house comes the cry of a child in pain. Kattrin rushes into the collapsing building.
    Torn in two directions, Courage anxiously watches for Kattrin and warns the Chaplain to go easy on her linen. Kattrin emerges triumphantly with a baby. Courage commands that she return it to its mother. Kattrin rocks the baby and hums a lullaby. Courage demands that the victory marches stop; the victory has only cost her money. She sees a soldier trying to make off with a bottle of schnapps and snatches his fur coat as payment. The Chaplain murmurs that there is still someone in the farmhouse.
    Analysis

    Scene Four is a scene of education and capitulation is its lesson. As Brecht notes in the Courage Model Book, it features Courage as the soldier's teacher, instructing him on the impermanence of his rage and their automatic deference to authority that they share. This deference involves a collective submission. Thus, they will all sit when commanded and not rise again in revolt. Similarly, note how the pronouns of the "Song of the Great Capitulation" shift from "you" to "we." Courage herself learns by teaching, capitulating once she realizes the limit of her own rage.
    For Brecht, this scene shows Courage at her most depraved. At the same time, she remains aware and angered by her depravity. Note in this respect the ironic parenthetical remarks that interject into the "Song." These remarks and other devices similarly "alienating" her lesson carry with them a certain political urgency. Brecht considers this scene especially dangerous if played without techniques of alienation, fearing that it might seduce the audience into the pleasures of capitulation.
    Scene Five elaborates on Courage's depravity further. Brecht understands this scene as presenting a "new Courage." Having lost her son, she defends the wagon and its merchandise with her teeth bared. So attached is she to the wagon that she appears torn between it and her daughter. Bent on protecting her own interests, Courage becomes complicit in the suffering of the war's victims. Though ultimately the Chaplain tends to the wounded, the scene denies the audience any momentary relief, cathartic or otherwise, which this act might offer. Instead, it ends with Courage's crude act of theft and the indication that others remain in the crumbling farmhouse, refusing to release the spectator from the realities of war.
    This scene also develops a number of characters. As noted in the Model Book, the Chaplain to this point has appeared as an ineffectual, pious, and wooden man who rather tenuously hangs onto the wagon as an outsider needing protection. Thus, he decidedly does not intervene into the horror around him. For example, recall Courage's haggling over Swiss Cheese. In deying Courage and attempting to save the victims of Tilly's victory, he regains a sense of his old importance and Brect comes to understand himself as someone oppressed by war as well.
    This scene is above all dependent, however, on Kattrin, who, through mime, reveals her increasing rage at her mother's inhumanity. The scene insists on the intelligent, willful nature of Kattrin's character. She is not prey to dumb animal instincts, and though she is ostensibly the most helpless creature in the play, she consciously decides to intervene. At the same time, there is something sinister in her self-sacrificing rescue of the baby. Brecht notes in the Model Book that if her mother's spoil is the fur coat, hers is the baby. Indeed, she almost plays the thief in her rescue of the baby, running out of the farmhouse with the child above her head. She coddles and comforts it, apparently ready to take it from its mother. Moreover, it appears she has done this before. One wonders if she stages revenge against Mother Courage, violently supplanting the "bad mother" by playing the good one herself.
    </H3>
    You are my heart
    my soul,
    my treasure,
    My today,
    my tomorrow,
    my forever,
    My everything!



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