Mother Courage

Main Ideas

Key Facts

Main Ideas 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