Diana

Diana: Mother Courage opens in Dalarna, spring 1624, in the midst of the Thirty Years War – a war that fought primarily in Central Europe between 1618 and 1648. One of the longest and most destructive conflicts in human history, as well as the deadliest European religious war in history, it resulted in eight million fatalities). The quote on the board (“Though they are now largely silent, the voices from the seventeenth century still speak to us from the innumerable texts and images we are fortunate to possess. They offer a warning of the dangers of entrusting power to those who feel summoned by God to war, or feel that their sense of justice and order is the only one valid” (Peter H. Wilson, Europe’s Tragedy: A New History of the Thirty Years War) is another sum up of the horrid experience just to help you visualise the setting of the play. A Sergeant and Recruiting Officer are looking for soldiers in Poland. A canteen wagon appears, bearing Mother Courage, her daughter, Kattrin, and her sons, Eilif and Swiss Cheese. Although the characters are introduced, Brecht’s main intention of the play was always to provoke his audience to think about war which is exactly what the initial dialogue explores, implying this is a major as well as a thorough theme; the second sentence is “I’ve been thinking about suicide” (Brecht, 1980, p.1) and “this place has shattered my confidence in the human race” (Brecht, 1980, p.1). This highlights that the play will exploring war’s effect on lower class people – and I believe that mother courage is a major example of someone whose notions and beliefs have been utterly crushed by war.
Beth: I disagree with the previous point, as Mother Courage showed lack of compassion for any of her children and that has nothing to do with war but simply her character. In the first scene, when asked who she is, she responds with ‘business folk’ implying that her business is more important to her than her children, who do nothing more than carry her cart. Their identities are only revealed when she is called ‘trash’ by the Sergeant and decides to defend her character. All of them have different fathers, from different countries, implying that MC will never settle. Her cart is her family and her life, as well as her career. I do agree with the point about the implications of war globally. Bertolt Brecht LEFT Germany as soon as Hitler gained power in 1933 and began writing Mother Courage in 1938/1939, when he suspected war. It does not come as a surprise that the play acts as an allegory as the Thirty Years of War represent the upcoming WW2. Unlike other playwrights who would offer escapism, Bertolt Brecht wants to alienate and confront the audience with global issues that are still relevant to this day..