Social And Society In Bertolt Brecht's The Caucasian Chalk Circle

1327 Words6 Pages
The audience’s understanding of a text is altered by the society in which they live. Bertolt Brecht’s 1944 Epic play, The Caucasian Chalk Circle, is a politically inflected play that interrogates notions of justice in a capitalist society. The prologue functions as a primer for the story and sets up the conflicting political ideologies of socialism and capitalism which inform the audience’s reading of the play performed by the singer Arkadi Cheidze. The play within a play, split into two episodes, is a parable of the peasant mother Grusha fighting for custody of her adopted son against his noble, biological mother; the episodes are connected by the singer in the converging stories of the judge Azdak and Grusha in her trial. Through a Marxist reading, it is evident that Brecht criticises the classist and vacuous capitalist society that enabled the oppression of the lower class to show the benefits of a socialist society. However, Brecht’s perspective would have been received differently by a 21st century audience who have been extricated from the fear of political extremes during the 1940s. Modern political and…show more content…
The play was written in 1944 which was a period of ideological conflict due to the emergence of extreme ideologies during WWII. The oppression from fascist Nazi Germany and the power of communist Soviet Russia was displayed during the war exposing the world to both extremes of the political spectrum. Consequently, nations tried to maintain a distance from being associated with extreme political ideologies in fear of recent events. In his exile in 1933, when Adolf Hitler became chancellor of Germany, Brecht witnessed the social structures of communist, Liberal and democratic nations (Sweden, Finland and America respectively) in his travels. This informed his political alignment and hence his socialist stance presented in The Caucasian Chalk
Open Document