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Mother Courage and Her Children

3.66 of 5 stars 3.66  ·  rating details  ·  8,165 ratings  ·  140 reviews
Mother Courage and Her Children is a classic in the repertory of Western theater. Written in response to the outbreak of World War II, this "chronicle play" of the Thirty Years War follows one of Brecht's most enduring characters, Courage, as she trails the armies across Europe, selling provisions from her canteen wagon. However, Courage pays the highest price of all. One...more
Paperback, 192 pages
Published December 18th 2007 by Penguin Classics (first published 1939)
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Apr 14, 2008 Baiocco rated it 4 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: War Mongers, Peace Mongers.
Shelves: plays
Bertolt Brecht is a mutherfucking G! and I don't mean Gangsta, I'm talking straight German! While Baal remains my favorite Brecht play, Mother Courage was one of his most daring. The story of a Mother in charge of an independent supply wagon with her two sons and one mute daughter during the 30 Years War in 17th century war in Poland. Brecht wrote MC in response to Hitler's invasion of Poland, in attempts to find a dramatic counter-act to the rise of Fascism and Nazism in Europe. Rather than co...more
Soon after I finished reading this for class, I saw a documentary on a production of Mother Courage in Central Park using a translation done by Tony Kushner. Apparently Kushner read Mother Courage in college and loved it. Can't say I had quite the same reaction. Maybe it's more effective on stage, but I wasn't really moved by this play. Perhaps because it is so repetitive in its theme of Mother Courage's relentless business sense over family. I don't know. It has its funny moments, one of the ch...more
Prvi susret sa epskom dramom, ispod očekivanja, ali ipak solidno.
Ovu dramu, kao i većinu ostalih, Breht je pisao u inostranstvu (Danskoj, Švedskoj, Americi), jer u nacističkoj Nemačkoj za vreme vladavine Hitlera nije bio siguran. Drama je smeštena u Tridesetogodišnji rat, ali motivi koji se provlače kroz istu predstavljaju motive klasične za svaki rat- prevare, izdaje, prognanstva, besmisao rata, gubitak bližnjih, izopačenost itd.
Majka Hrabrost (glavni lik) zarađuje preprodavajući robu, te joj j...more
Και ενώ η Ευρώπη ετοιμάζεται για το Β' Παγκόσμιο Πόλεμο, ο Μπρεχτ μας μεταφέρει σε έναν άλλο Ευρωπαϊκό πόλεμο, τον 30ετή, 1618-1648. Η Μάνα Κουράγιο, μια γυρολόγισσα με τα 3 παιδιά της, τη μουγγή Κατερίνα, τον Άιλιφ και το Σβάιτσεκαζ, ακολουθεί τα μισθοφορικά στρατεύματα και ζει από αυτά, πουλώντας τους φαγητό, ποτό και εμπορεύματα. Εκθειάζει τα καλά του πολέμου και τρέμει την ιδέα της ειρήνης, ακόμα κι όταν ένα ένα τα παιδιά της χάνονται από αυτόν. Τα πιο μεστά μηνύματα, ανησυχία και φόβος του...more
Hamid Hasanzadeh
ننه دلاور و فرزندان او اثر جاودانه برتولت برشت در بحبوحه ی جنگ جهانی دوم به رشته تحریر در آمده است، و این نکته از آنجا حائز اهمیت است که در طول نمایشنامه شخصیت های آن در تعامل با این جنگ شکل می گیرند.
به ننه لقب دلاور از آن جهت داده شده که تواناست به این که تهدید جنگ را برای خود و فرزندانش به فرصتی پر سود تبدیل کند . اما ما متوجه می شویم که این لقب بی جهت به او داده شده و برای تماشاگران آواز "تسلیم بزرگ" را سر می دهد. تضاد و کشمکش های درونی انسان و برخورد اخلاقی یا غیر اخلاقی در زندگی در برخورد ب...more
Dayton Shanahan
Mother courage and her children is a book that takes place in 1624, during a time of war.
In the beginning of the book, mother courage pulls up to a sergeant and recruiting officer who are trying to recruit soldiers into the swedish army because they are campaigning in Poland. Mother courage has a daughter, Kattrin, who is dumb, and two sons, Eilif and "Swiss Cheese". So anyways they pull up in a wagon to the recruiting officer, and he tries to recruit Eilif into the army. Mother Courage tells h...more
نمایش نامه بر مبنای داستان "مادر" گورکی (1906) نوشته شده، روایتی طنزآلود از واقعیت وجودی انسان، که بازیچه ی عوامل قدرت است؛ انسان در موقعیت. خوش بینی ساده انگارانه ای که انسان را در موقعیت مضحکی که چشم و گوش بسته در آن غرق شده، تقدیرگرا می سازد. در این موقعیت انسان ساده دل، خود را از غلبه بر ترس ناشی از سرنوشت مقدر، عاجز می بیند. در واقع ناتوانی تحمیل شده بر انسان، در مسیر سخت و طولانی برای رسیدن به رهایی. مادر به دلیل وضعیت خانواده و فرزندانش در تنگنای جنگ، تن به نتیجه ی حاصل می دهد، مبارزه برا...more
Amir Mojiry
این کتاب را هم به همراه «اندوه عیسی» برای فهم تئاتر «ننه دلاور، بیرون پشت در» (به کارگردانی سجاد افشاریان) گرفتم. ناخودآگاه مدام در ذهنم بین آن اجرا و این نمایشنامه دنبال شباهت می گشتم. و با توجه به فضای نسبتن کمیک نمایش، انتظار داشتم این نمایشنامه هم طنز باشد. اما ننه دلاور، طنز نیست گرچه طنز می آفریند. موقعیت، کاملن جدی است. جنگ است و مرگ، سربازگیری است و بی رحمی، اعدام است و باج خواهی. اما وقتی شخصیت های نمایش، آن قدر با جنگ خو گرفته اند که به راحتی با آن کنار آمده و به سادگی از مصائب آن سخن...more
Mother Courage is Brecht's anti-war play, originally written around the beginning of WWII as a warning to the German people. As such, it is a bitter, dark play. Although Brecht tries very hard to make the reader/viewer hold Mother Courage accountable for the loss of her children (because of her overzealous concern for her cart -- i.e., capitalism), it's hard not to see her children's deaths as a result of the senselessness of war.

Mother Courage is classic Brecht with all the "alienation" techni...more
A play of devastating power and unbearable structural symmetry, as Mother Courage, a small time war profiteer fails to learn anything from a sequence of tragedies and continues onwards hoping to find business opportunities, whereas in fact it's only the rich who can make a profit from such misery. Morality and politics and truth are all identical in this magnificent work.
I read this 40 years ago or more. Coming back to it, I realised how much I had missed the first time round, and how powerful a play it is. Written by Brecht in exile just before the Second World War, and given its first performance in Germany in the late 1940s, his attempt to tackle questions such as 'mitmachen'/collaboration and 'war as business' entertain his audience/reader as well as stimulating them to profound reflection. He does not give clear answers. I think his intention is not to prov...more
Lisa Savage
Historical fiction written as fascism was rising in 20th century Europe, it is just as much a tale of living in the heart of the U.S. empire and its perpetual wars in 2013. I first read this in college and everytime I re-read it I understand more deeply.
Depressing! During college I had to design the costumes for this play and all the colors I chose were drab blues and grays. I think that adequately sums up the tone of this Brecht piece.
This review contains spoilers:
I think that it is unfortunate that this play has recieved such low ratings. Granted there are some very dry, unsuccessful translations, but this translation is actually quite good.
The thing about Mother Courage is that it, like all plays, should be seen and not read.

I think that seeing the play really shows you whether or not the characters are affected by their losses and the hardships they must endure. And yes, Brecht did want you kept at a distance so that you c...more
After I finished the play, I changed my perspective towards Mother Courage. At first, she gave me the impression of being a tough woman because she knows how to bargain and benefit off from the war. Also, she seems like a mother who only cherishes Eilif because the Commander praised him for his accomplishments. As for Swiss Cheese, I do not think she valued him as much because she thought that Swiss Cheese was too stubborn for wanting to protect the cash box and got killed, so she negotiated th...more
I remember it capturing well the confusion, hopelessness, stubbornness and irony of war. Bertholt Brecht chose the setting of the play to occur in the 1620's - 30's, during the Thirty Year War. This war, one of the most devastating and heinous to take place in Europe, substantially reduced the total population. If my memory serves me correct, (and someone please correct me here if I am wrong) I believe the death toll, including some of the ensuing plagues, was an astounding 50-70 percent of the...more
J.M. Slowik

"He thought so little of this earth
He cursed the hour of his birth."

I'm going to keep seeing this sentiment, aren't I? Earlier today I cited an almost identical line from Strindberg's Miss Julie, in which she curses the hour she was conceived.


"What won't a soldier do in wartime
His savage lust to satisfy!
But after all, 'twas said aforetime:
Be fruitful, lads, and multiply!

"If you ignore this high injunction
The war will have to stop, my friend:
Perform your biologic function
And then t
Rowland Bismark
The Verfremdungseffekt, alienation or "distanciation" effect, is the primary innovation of Brecht's epic theater. By alienating the spectator from the spectacle, its devices would reveal the social gestus underlying every incident on-stage and open a space for critical reflection. Often alienation also means making the workings of the spectacle possible, and decomposing the unity of the theatrical illusion. Brecht called for the spectator's alienation to oppose the mystifying tendencies of the c...more
"After all, they ain't wolves, just humans out for money. Corruption in humans is same as compassion in God. Corruption's our only hope." (This translation is different from the one I read, but I like this better. I'm starting to dislike my textbook's taste in translators.)

This line from the play encapsulates everything within Brecht's Mother Courage and Her Children. We watch the gradual emptying of each character as they hungrily chase after their pipe dreams, which, for most, is the acquisiti...more
Sepsun Pasaribu
I first read this when I was at college. At that time I didnt really like it. I didnt really understand and I prefer the Good Woman of Setzuan. A week ago, I decided to read it again cause I was planning to watch the Indonesia Teater Koma's Production of it entitle "IBU" (means mother).

It was my second time watching profesional theater production (the first one is "Jabang Tetuko") and I am glad that I read again and watched the production. it changed my view regarding the play. I even changed i...more
Trata de las peripecias y miserias de quienes se ven envueltos, directa o indirectamente, en los hechos de la guerra. Basada en la crónica de la guerra de los treinta años (1618-1648) entre cató¬licos y protestantes Brecht la estreno en 1937 para denunciar los preparativos bélicos del nazismo, Madre Coraje va de uno a otro campo de batalla empujando su pesada carreta para obtener susten¬to pura sus hijos, sufre maltratos pero su destino es la vida. Sus hijos se enrolan al ejercito, solo su hija...more
Brecht used his classic alienation effect to convey the situation of woman during the 30 year war. This book portrays Mother courage as a cold hearted person who only care about making money and surviving through the war. Brecht's goal for this book is to just read the story and not get emotionally connected to any character.
He feels that in a story, we should just read the entire story with out feeling sympathy or empathy for any of the characters because that can distract you from getting t...more
Mother Courage is a true herald of free enterprise. In the middle of the thirty years war (1618-1648) she travels confidently with her wagon full of goods to sell, family and hangers-on. Everybody needs her goods. She can sell intoxicating beverages to both the Imperial and Protestant soldiers. She can always make money and profit from everybody's misery.

However her belief in the triumph of market forces blinds her to the fact that her situation, family and hangers-on are the product of the war....more
Sitara Kashif
i read this drama for a course in university but i fell in love with it when i saw my seniors performing it, her dumb girl is the most lovely thing she has and she looses her and her son as well and she manages to move on with life. her moving on mocks the war thoughts and human attempts to civilize themselves.
This story takes places during a war (typical German lit) presumably WWI. It is a war character story where Mother Courage looks after a myriad of "her children." Brecht comically names the honest son "Swiss Cheese." Brecht perhaps points to the reason Germany is in a constant state of war: "You know what the trouble with peace is? No organization. And when do you get organization? In war? Peace is one big waste of equipment." (p.23) "War feeds its people better... War is a business propostion."...more
Parvathi Preethan
One of the most contradictory figures in literature. Mother Courage. You end up intensely hating her, loathing her, only to feel absolute pity and empathy later. Makes us question conventional views on nationalism and it's implications for the bourgeoise and proletariat classes.
Ooooh, let's read all the random books you stole from your brothers because they don't give a crap about the books they read in high school!


So, after I gave up on Three Strong Women, I grabbed The Pearl because I thought I had read it before and because it was short. As I'm reading the part about the baby getting stung by a scorpion and the doctor's "treatment" of him, Greg says to me, "You know that book's the saddest thing ever written, right?"

"The baby's toast,...more
What was it like to sell wares during the Thirty Years' War in the seventeenth century? It was probably very frightening! On balance, however, it was indubitably the best of times - not just a time to survive, but to survive with flair, zest, elan, and joie de vivre. And... it was a time for love. #YOLO.

I read the Eric Bentley translation. In a foreword he asks whether Mother Courage should be likable or not - BB apparently tried to make changes because everybody liked her so much. Is she a wise...more
I read this play and then saw it performed in a theater production. I think this is an amazing play about a woman during war times (the 30 year war) who was willing to do anything for her children. She fought, lied, cheated and stole whatever was possible to survive.

The one thing I remember about seeing this preformed that I wasn't a fan of was the cursing. It felt like every other line a swear word was thrown in. Sometimes swearing is just swearing and isn't always needed for dramatic effect....more
Mmmh. Mi aspettavo molto, molto di più da questo testo teatrale.
Intendiamoci, non è male. I dialoghi sono brillanti, il messaggio anti-bellico più che chiaro. Tuttavia, forse mi ero fatta un'idea sbagliata riguardo il personaggio di Madre Courage: come suggerisce il nome, m'immaginavo una mamma che, in tempo di guerra, lottava per difendere i propri figli. Invece no, il nome indica piuttosto un contrasto tra le due parole: la donna è sì Madre, madre di tre figli che la guerra le porterà via, ma...more
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Just Literature: Mother Courage and Her Children 3 6 Aug 11, 2014 03:55PM  
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Bertolt Brecht (born Eugen Berthold Friedrich Brecht) was a German poet, playwright, and theatre director. A seminal theatre practitioner of the twentieth century, Brecht made equally significant contributions to dramaturgy and theatrical production, the latter particularly through the seismic impact of the tours undertaken by the Berliner Ensemble—the post-war theatre company operated by Brecht a...more
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“I won't let you spoil my war for me. Destroys the weak, does it? Well, what does peace do for'em, huh? War feeds its people better.” 3 likes
“MUTTER COURAGE Mir scheint, ich hab zu lang gehandelt.” 1 likes
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