Reality and Illusion

Essay by saifefluCollege, UndergraduateB+, November 2014

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Bertolt Brecht (1898-1956) a non-conformist German playwright, was the most important single influence in the development of epic theatre. His political beliefs and experiences were his motivation to try to change the world through drama. Through the theatre he created he made people realize the wrong doings of the society in which they lived. Brecht was a pacifist and, therefore, wrote a number of plays with strong political messages to intellectually stimulate and politically motivate his audiences. Brecht's plays were originally rejected by the society in which he lived because they were unconventional and against the ideological beliefs that his society embraced.

In his work, Brecht explored themes related to war, ownership, sacrifice, the notion of justice and the theme of the inequalities produced by 'superior' people in power over the 'inferior' lower class. He challenged society's opinion of the oppressed. Brecht tried to teach his audiences not to accept the world as they found it.

He also tried to teach his actors the same thing.

Brecht's "The Caucasian Chalk Circle" is set in the time of a civil war. It clearly demonstrates and exemplifies the Brechtian style, showing evidence of alienation, historification, epic structure and the use of a narrator, chorus and song. Furthermore the themes it contains reflect Brecht's personal ideologies, which were strongly influenced by Marxist theory.

"The Caucasian Chalk Circle" has an epic structure. Each individual incident focuses on a particular sociopolitical lesson. The text serves to teach the audience that the wealthy are not always right - that in fact, the underprivileged poor people are often the most honest people of our society. It serves to reinforce the notion that people cannot be judged by their class and that to give preferential treatment to wealthy people or to discriminate against poor...