Arguably the most effective part of this play is Professor Bernhardi not surmising to the trial, but also not reacting with the same level of hate and ignorance that he is subject to. This can be seen in the fourth act of the play where the Priest states he believes Bernhardi acted entirely correctly, but felt divine inspiration which compelled him to protect the church.’ To which Bernhardi responds But for that what divides us, and probably must divide us for all time, father ” for that, animosity seems too poor and too small a word.
It is of a higher nature, I think ” and ” of a more hopeless one these final words show an almost now impoverished Bernhardi who has given up hope in fighting a system politically rooted against him. Schniztler’s play is not only a political tool in commenting on the mistreatment of Jews at time, but also a historic one, as it highlights hostile attitudes that begin to explain some of the thoughts of the people at the time that lead to the disgusting actions of the Jewish Holocaust a mere 21 years after the publication of this play.
This play however, is not a political tool in the same sense as Bјchner’s Woyzeck, which intentionally was a play to convey a political message against the system at the time. Schnitzler adamant is on his anti-political stance, which too is reflected in the character of Bernhardi when he claims I don’t belong to any party and have to desire to be claimed by any one of them. He is not commenting on a political view that he disagrees with and is moreover just highlighting what he sees in his community, this allows an audience to question the morality of their community without having political views forced upon them, they are able to make up their own minds on the play, whether they side with Bernhardi or the Priest. This is a concept that was further developed by famous practitioner Bertolt Brecht, after world war one Brecht developed a violently antibourgeois attitude that reflected his generation’s deep disappointment in the civilization that had come crashing down’ he was so outraged by the society he lived in, his plays became so political that he was removed from Germany. In 1933 the Nazis formally removed his German Citizenship and he became a stateless citizen. This is important as we can see the outrage that political theatre can have in a country, especially Germany at the time of the second world war. Brecht used comedy in plays to keep the audience engaged but also created his own weird and illusive tone, that may have been dark or unsettling for some in order for the audience to not truly become emotionally tied to his characters.Brecht’s Play Mutter Courage Und Ihre Kinder’ is a clear response to the inauthenticity of war. He shows how Mother Courage uses war to her advantage, it is her financial gain, and that means more to her ultimately then the lives of her children. She is known as the Parasite of war’ and Brecht wants to highlight the business of war and does this when Mother Courage talks about “the big shots” starting wars for the same reason the “little folk” join them: to make money. This play is clearly an ironic stance on the unmerited profit of war to those in higher powers. It takes a cynical look at war, which specifically at the time was deemed a great honour. You were truly a man if you were to fight and die for your country. War veterans were looked upon as heroes, which is why Brecht’s pessimistic view to war was so controversial. He painted the soldier as nave and one who had fallen into the trap of the scam of war, and Mother Courage as one who has seen the war for what it truly was. Brecht however, uses the humour and light-heartedness of the play to convey these messages, which arguably is the most effective way to highlight an issue as drastic as this to the intended audience of the time, who all encountered the horror of war, first being performed in 1949, 4 years after the second world war. This is why Brecht’s concept of Epic Theatre becomes so necessary. He wants to remove the Dramatic’ element of theatre, with audience absorbing fictional stories in a fictional world with no real impact on them as people, and portray a fictional’ world deeply rooted in the societal values of our world today. A new form of theatre that breaks the emotional connection an audience normally has with the characters on stage and distance them, so they are not so emotionally connected to the characters on stage but more so the story being told. (Verfremdunseffekt) This is the ultimate use of theatre being used as a political tool for change. He creates weird unhuman like characters that speak in weird made up tones and dialects in a historical time period no one really knows about (1618-1648) in order to make a statement on current affairs, with no real plot resolution as Mother Courage just walks of stage, unaffected by the play. This is because the problem is still relevant today, there is no resolution yet, and he does not intend to write one. We as an audience now need to take a step back and have a critical look at the problems in our own society in order to create a resolution. In conclusion, it can be seen that theatre is an outlet to convey political opinion and thus can be used as a tool to incite some form of change to a system. Playwrights tend to take problems they see in their society and bring light to them in the form of theatre. Ultimately, these plays will only be effective if the audience are willing to listen. This can incite some change, as it is information and power of the people that cause political change or resistance to a society.