(Mother Courage and Her Children)
First performed in Zurich in 1939 for an audience of pacifist and anti-fascist German expatriates, the play is a praise song of sending children to their deaths.
Of course not.
What do you expect from Brecht?
The setting is the 30-Year war (17th Century, Europeans killing each other in order to decide which cut of clerical dress represents a more direct line to God).
The characters are not one-, but two-dimensional. The mother (I first heard of Niobe in this context: look her up and impress your friends!) is also a war-profiteering capitalist; the cook is also a womanizer; the preacher is also a coward; the grown children she loses have less depth: Strong, Honest, and Innocent.
Don’t get me wrong, I love Brecht. And slogans like
Peace is sloppy, only war creates order.Or
Wherever there are great virtues, it only proves that something is rotten.Always find a willing audience in me.
There was also a bit where the preacher said that Jesus first multiplied the loaves and the wine and then taught brotherly love because it’s easier to love your neighbor on a full stomach. All classic Brechtian ideas.
A worthwhile read, but it doesn’t oust the Three-Penny Opera as my favorite.