Mother courage Essay

This essay has a total of 365 words and 2 pages.

mother courage



In 1939, on the eve of the Nazi Holocaust, the great German playwright Bertolt Brecht
wrote Mother Courage and Her Children. For the setting of his play, he chose the Thirty
Years' War, the senseless 17th century European conflict that pitted Protestants against
Catholics and laid waste to whole lands and peoples. Spanning the years 1618-1648, it was
the most destructive war in European history until modern times. It was a war which
seemingly no one wanted but which no one could stop once it had gained its brutal
momentum. The play came too late to be of consequence in World War Two, but it has played
to great effect on the world stage ever since, becoming Brecht's most popular work after
The Threepenny Opera. Mother Courage herself has become a theatre archetype of the
indomitable, irrepressible human spirit.

For all its epic scope--rolling through Sweden, Poland, Saxony, Bavaria and Alsace--the
play is an intensely personal journey. It centers on a woman, Mother Courage, who owns a
rolling canteen wagon and who follows the war selling victuals and sundries to its troops.
She is an earthy peasant, a hearty cynic who profits from slaughter, and who actually
fears that peace may break out. Mother Courage knows no loyalty but to her business and to
her family whom she tries to protect from the ravages of the carnage. Eventually, the war
exacts its pound of flesh, its payment for her long feeding upon it. One by one, all her
children become fodder for the ravenous maw of the conflict, victims of the very virtues
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