Theater: Intellectual Firestorm

Mother Courage and Her Children, by

Germany's late Bertolt Brecht, is a play of bottomless ironies and paradoxes. It is a stubbornly antiheroic play with a mulishly magnificent heroine. It is an antiwar play that assumes war will never end. Coming from a Communist, it is an anti-bourgeois play, but it negates all ideologies by farcically reducing them to futility. It is a play ostensibly demonstrating the relentless sweep of history, but actually revealing the tenacious, indomitable life force in human beings that survives history. Finally, Mother Courage is a black, corrosive comedy that almost alone among 20th century plays approaches the...

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