Impelled by this Marxist perspective, Brecht devised Mother Courage and Her Children. This play perfectly illustrates the fact that Brecht embraced Marx’s thesis that in an alienated society, the inclination of human beings, their consciousness, is merely a reflection of their environmental conditions, their position in the process of production. …
Brecht shattered the contemporary notions of dramatic theater, whose tenets included the “suspension of disbelief.” In Mother Courage, he created alienating effects, techniques he employed to remind spectators that they were watching the mere enactment of reality, not reality itself. At critical moments, he flooded the stage with white hot light and scripted inane ditties to be wrought at key junctures. He used the device of song frequently in this play. In fact, Mother Courages first appearance on stage is initiated by a song, at once both ensuring that the audience is not empathetic and drawing attention to the action as a play, and enactment of a certain perception of reality. Throughout the play, this is what function the songs served, as well as to make poignant observations and address real issues onto which Brecht wanted to focus the audiences attention. The sudden appearance of song at seemingly unlikely points in the play has an alienating effect and is intended to confuse, creating a lack of moral perspective and irony. In so doing, Brecht jolted the audience out of their complacent, passive expectations. ...
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