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Mother Courage and Her Children

3.65 of 5 stars 3.65  ·  rating details  ·  9,142 ratings  ·  163 reviews
Widely considered one of the great dramatic creations of the modem stage, Mother Courage and Her Children is Bertolt Brecht’s most passionate and profound statement against war. Set in the seventeenth century, the play follows Anna Fierling (“Mother Courage”), an itinerant trader, as she pulls her wagon of wares and her children through the blood and carnage of Europe’s re ...more
Paperback, 128 pages
Published January 11th 1994 by Grove Press (first published 1941)
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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
From BBC Radio 4 Extra:
Mother Courage follows warring armies with her travelling canteen - selling provisions - but at what cost? Sheila Hancock stars as Anna Fierling, nicknamed "Mother Courage".

One of the great plays of the 20th century, written just before the outbreak of the Second World War in 1939, it was penned as a warning to those who sought to profit from war. As Bertolt Brecht was to do often, he took one era to stand for another, setting Mother Courage during the Thirty Year War.

Czarny Pies
Nov 13, 2014 Czarny Pies rated it 2 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Don't read this grossly overrated play. Go attend a performance of the Three penny Opera instead.
Recommended to Czarny by: It was on an undergraduate course that I took.
Shelves: german-lit
As I am writing this review, I am reading the Good Reads description above which is a stunning masterpiece of misstatement:

"Widely considered one of the great dramatic creations of the modern stage, "Mother Courage and Her Children" is Bertolt Brecht's most passionate and profound statement against war."

Now for the truth. Bertolt Brecht was a communist who wrote parodies to show the workers what is a not to been done. Mother Courage is a vile lower middle class shopkeeper whose obsession with h
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
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
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
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.
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
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
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
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
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
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.
Ahmad Sharabiani
عنوان: ننه دلاور و فرزندان او؛ نویسنده: برتولت برشت؛ مترجم: مصطفی رحیمی
Mutter Courage by Berthold Brecht
Berthold Brecht is appreciated as a major playwright and his modern theater is acclaimed, I guess worldwide. But he is definitely not my cup of tea.

Mutter Courage is one of the bravest heroines…what else?!
She is determined, resilient, tough as nails, inspirational to a certain degree and I would say progressive and ahead of her time.
There are some darker aspects of her character, even if that may be just my conservative upbringing and feminists would say that eve
Dorottya Bacsi
As much as I love theatre, there is a rare occasion when a written play gets to my heart in that extent. Now, this one wasone of them. I loved how multi-faceted and multi-tiered it was. I don't even know if it could be turned into a perfect performance in my eye, especially because of the variedness of interpretations.
I loved how it dealt with the effect of war on people, like having to make heartbreaking decisions to survive and being surprised that what was acceptable or even heroic to do in t
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.
Dan Richter
Die Sprache und die einzelnen Szenen hervorragend. Aber als Stück funktioniert es nicht. Eine arme Frau versucht, sich und ihre Kinder auch in schlimmen Zeiten über Wasser zu halten, indem sie dem Krieg hinterher reist. Die Dilemmata, in die sie gerät sind nachvollziehbar. Und wir sollen diese Frau nun verurteilen, die wir im Theater über vier Stunden begleiten? Am Ende, wenn sie den Wagen alleine zieht, "Ätschebätsche" sagen?
Es funktioniert nicht. Und die positive Verwendung von "Mutter Courage
Gina Lyle
Working on an essay on this play at the moment, but I'll not bore you. Interesting to find out that Brecht rewrote parts of the play after reviewers empathised with Mother Courage. Brecht doesnt want you to empathise with his characters; he wants you to judge them.
It's a great play pushed forwards by the conflicting demands of commerce and motherhood in wartime. There's some great information about the staging from the National Theatre for free on iTunes at the moment that's worth a look if you'
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
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
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
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 católicos 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 sustento pura sus hijos, sufre maltratos pero su destino es la vida. Sus hijos se enrolan al ejercito, solo su hija Ca ...more
Debi Robertson
I saw the play at Stratford this year. It is not my usual cup of tea. It was well done but I'm not sure I enjoyed it that much. I read the play to see what I missed. Interesting play but it took me a few days to digest what I thought it was telling me. I'm certain that others would get different messages. It is one of those reads that will involve your background and a dozen people will see thirteen different interpretations. worth the time spent.
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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.” 5 likes
“MUTTER COURAGE Mir scheint, ich hab zu lang gehandelt.” 1 likes
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