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Additional info for Brecht’s Early Plays

Example text

It's better to disappear than to sleep. ". By this omission Brecht obscured both the suicidal and the romantic nature of Kragler's decision to join the fighting. The change enabled him to suggest that Kragler's refusal in Act v to go on with the revolutionaries was an act of betrayal, a retraction of a moral commitment rather than a common-sense decision to live with Anna rather than be mown down while offering pointless resistance to the heavier fire-power of the government's artillery. This suppression ofKragler's existential motives for going to the barricades also inevitably obscured the dramatic unity of the play as a conflict of emotionalism with control.

Sie trotten von allen Seiten her, es ist ein starker Anblick. (B, so) Baal: [leans back in his chair] At twilight, in the evening- It has to be evening, of course, and of course the sky must be cloudy, "Baal" when the air is mild and a slight breeze is blowing, then the bulls will arrive. They will trot in from all sides, it will be a powerful sight. The pleasure aroused by the sight of the bulls' vitality is inseparable in Baal's mind from the fact that they will be seen in a setting of wind, clouds and evening sky, the beauty of which heightens and is heightened by the mood of transience it expresses.

Brecht's presentation ofBaal's life aims to unhinge our normal moral judgements. The various ways in which he suggests the exciting texture of Baal's experiences are part of this strategy. The constant focus on the fact of his transience also contributes to the task of moral subversion, as does the lack of morality in many of Baal's competitors, since this makes him appear to be simply more successful at playing life's dirty games than others. Where his victims are not seen to merit rough treatment because of their moral faults, the characters' own weakness or stupidity make it seem that they share at least some of the blame for Baal's exploitation of them.

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