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Mother Courage

Bertolt Brecht


Key Facts

full title ·  Mother Courage and Her Children

author · Bertolt Brecht

type of work · Drama

genre · Epic theater, social drama

language · German

time and place written · Written during Brecht's exile in Sweden, 1939

date of first publication · 1941

publisher · Henschelverlag Kunst und Gesellschaft, Berlin

narrator · None (though each scene includes a poster summarizing the future events)

climax · As a work of "epic theater," Mother Courage does not adhere to the Aristotelian model of plot and thus does not involve a structure of rising and falling action, climax, and catharsis. In some sense, each scene exists for itself.

protagonists · Mother Courage, Kattrin, Swiss Cheese, and Chaplain

setting (time) · The Thirty Years War (Spring 1624–January 1636)

setting (place) · Throughout Europe (Germany, Poland, Bavaria, and Saxony)

point of view · Point of view is not located as there is no narrator figure

falling action · Again, as a work of "epic theater," Mother Courage does not adhere to the Aristotelian model of plot.

tense · The play unfolds in the time of the present

foreshadowing · Most notably, Courage's game of fortune telling in the first scene foretells the death of her children

tone · Tragi-comic

themes · War as business; virtue in wartime

motifs · The Verfremdungseffekt, allegory, music, business practices, maternity, capitulation

symbols · The red boots

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