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The Resistible Rise of Arturo Ui

3.85  ·  Rating details ·  1,805 ratings  ·  82 reviews
The Resistible Rise of Arturo Ui, (Der aufhaltsame Aufstieg des Arturo Ui) was written by the great German dramatist Bertolt Brecht over the course of 3 furious weeks in 1941, while a refugee in Helsinki, Finland. A dizzyingly intelligent political satire on the (ir)resistibleness of political thuggery, Arturo Ui satirizes the rise of Hitler in Nazi Germany by dressing it ...more
Paperback, 125 pages
Published February 11th 2001 by Arcade Publishing (first published 1941)
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Dave Schaafsma
Jan 27, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: politics, plays
The Resistible Rise of Fascism in 2017

“Art is not a mirror held up to reality but a hammer with which to shape it.” --Brecht

1. Trump claims because he is famous he has premier access to any woman he wants; he can just grab her pussy or whatever he wants.
2. Several women from his past claim sexual harassment.
3. Trump denies all claims of above and commits to defund Planned Parenthood and other organizations devoted to women’s equality, at the same time claiming he “loves all women, and they love
Not and I have this long-running argument about translations. In nearly every case, I think it's better to read the original, even if my knowledge of the source language isn't particularly good: it means I'm hearing what the author actually said, as opposed to what the translator thought they said. Not disagrees, but I find her arguments unconvincing.

Or, to be more exact, I find her arguments unconvincing in most cases; there are a few rare exceptions. I think this is one of them. Brecht had the
Nat K
"Bada bing bada boom..."

Considering how long ago Bertolt Brecht wrote this play, it sure packs a punch, and is still very valid.

I wanted to read this as I'll be seeing a production by the Sydney Theatre Company shortly. I don't make a habit of reading the plays that I'm about to see, as the element of surprise is always nice. But I'd seen a production around twenty years ago, and it's one of those plays that gets under your skin, and has always stuck in my mind.

Arturo Ui is a gangster with a vis
Sidharth Vardhan
Aug 23, 2018 rated it really liked it
A dark comedy on US gangsters. It is a powerful play in as far as it acts as an allegory of how a corrupt world creates monsters of violence in general. But I don't think it is a very powerful metaphor for particular case of Hitler (who seems to be refered directly in epilogue). ...more
Maru Kun
Apr 25, 2019 rated it really liked it
No matter the translation, the epilogue is the point:

Therefore learn how to see and not to gape.
To act instead of talking all day long.
The world was almost won by such an ape!
But don't rejoice too soon at your escape -
The womb he crawled from still is going strong.
Tyler Jones
I read this close on the heals of a biography of Hitler and found that Brecht did a great job using this parable to show how the rise of Hitler came about.

The epilogue is chilling:

Therefore learn how to see and not to gape.
To act instead of talking all day long.
The world was almost won by such an ape!
The nations put him where his kind belong.
But don't rejoice too soon at your escape -
The womb he crawled from is still going strong.
Nov 25, 2019 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
3.5, rounded down.

I've never much cottoned to the plays of Brecht, considering them for the most part the 'glue' one needs to put up with to hear some beautiful Weill songs. And the one production of this I've seen was long and boring, a one note screed against fascism. I actually read this only because I am such a HUGE fan of Bruce Norris, who did the adaptation here, as I wanted to see what he came up with - and it's clever, but still rather long winded and doesn't go much further than the cen
Jalen Lyle-Holmes
Apr 06, 2015 rated it it was ok
Shelves: plays
Found it very hard to get into initially, I think it would be a lot easier in performance. It would function perfectly well on its own terms without any knowledge of what it is representing (Hitlet's rise), which I think is part of good theatrical allegory or metaphor. ...more
Sep 20, 2013 rated it really liked it
I read this because I was obliged to, but I can tell I loved Brecht's parallelism. Having read various biographies of Hitler, this was supposed to be no different, but instead this was definitely my favourite. It must have been the wit, the characters, even the catchy setting or the language used. My personal favourite bit is when Ernesto Roma tells him (read it in Albanian so the following is my adaption) "Step on the world, but not on your same feet", inferring Ui's betrayal to him, as part of ...more
Tom O'Brien
Aug 29, 2016 rated it really liked it
Shelves: plays
I've never read any Brecht before, and he takes a little getting used to, if this is anything to go by.

A funny; both ha-ha and odd, parody of Hitler's rise to power, and more importantly the circumstances that allowed it, using an Al Capone stand in taking over the cauliflower business in Chicago.

Chilling, mechanical, smart, emotionally distancing, controlled, didactic, selective, political...there is a lot going on, even before noting that the play has Shakespeare references galore and is wri
Amrita Kanjani
May 28, 2020 rated it really liked it
If you are looking for a complete depiction of Hitler's rise to power, this play neither does that, nor does it claim to. But what it does do, and does really well, is outline the significant events leading up to Hitler's rise to power: seemingly insignificant events that have not received their due mention, making this play unique in that sense.
Brecht also reminds us that the second world war is not the last of its kind. In the current climate of nationalistic fervor, it is imperative that we
Feb 07, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Brecht's comedic look at how Hitler came to rise. Hitler is in the form of Arturo Ui, a man who claims to be "for the people," especially those in the cauliflower trade. Ui does bad things and allows bad things to happen, but people doubt it could be him because he is interested in protecting "The common man."

It is a serious look into what can happen if people don't learn their history.
Stef Smulders
Feb 17, 2021 rated it liked it
Well-written by a clearly experienced playwright, it still is a bit disappointing. For a satire or parable to succeed it needs to exaggerate, to ridicule otherwise it is just reality in disguise and what's the sense of that (unless written under pressure of censure)? In the case of this play the exaggeration is missing. ...more
Nathan Albright
Jun 25, 2019 rated it it was ok
Shelves: challenge-2019
I must admit to having strongly mixed feelings about this particular play.  In general, I have not been impressed by the plays of Brecht; their dialogue is generally stilted, the political biases and ideological axes to grind are pretty irritating, and there is a distinct feeling that the author seems obsessed with gangsters as a way of discrediting capitalist and middle class mentalities without doing so openly.  This play adds to the general lack of openness about its purpose by deliberately c ...more
Sep 27, 2014 rated it liked it
The Resistible Rise of Arturo Ui by Bertold Brecht
Der aufhaltsame Aufstieg des Arturo Ui

Spoiler alert: I will not give you away the finale, the author does. He thinks the Ascension can be stopped. But since I did not enjoy what I heard of the play, I am likely to write about anything except Brecht.
There have been a small series of accidents, books that I did not enjoy.
With Zhivago and Prometheus Bound, there is he Resistible Rise of Arturo Ui.
Yes, the message is worthy and the title, from where
Jul 28, 2013 rated it liked it
Most of my favorite Brecht plays are those written while he was in a self-imposed exile from Germany following Hitler’s rise to Chancellor (1933), including The Life of Galileo, The Good Person of Szechwan, The Caucasian Chalk Circle, The Visions of Simone Marchard, and this play.

The dynamic time period, and his life in exile, seemed to focus Brecht and, in his better plays of this period, limited his odd theories about socialism (as in The Threepenny Opera). In this time of unprecedented strif
Roman Clodia
Jan 25, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
"Although the world stood up and stopped the bastard / The bitch that bore him is in heat again"

Brecht's savage, witty, black and sometimes shocking satire on the rise of Hitler seems ever more relevant to our own times. Based closely on real people (Hitler himself, of course, Goering, Rohm, Goebbels, Hindenburg) and real events (the Reichstag Fire, the Night of the Long Knives, the annexation of Austria), this replays the events of the early 1930s via a 'parable' (Brecht's own term) of Chicago
Jul 11, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: plays
Update 14//5/19

Such a powerful play to make people think, and push then to act rather than talk!

Update 8/2/19

Fascinating to reread and to understand this play without the signs at the end of each scene!

The Resistible Rise of Arturo Ui is disturbing, chilling. How a little man, despised and laughable, rises without any resistance, without any intervention from people who could prevent him from wrecking havok. Disturbing. And so, so, so frustrating and infuriating!

Still more chilling is the en
Harry Boyd
Aug 20, 2012 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: plays, favourites
Bertolt Brecht was a genius. This play is fantastic, I couldn't talk about all the reasons why I think this because there are just too many. To list a few, the parallels between the play and the rise of Hitler in the Weimar Republic are masterfully presented and very true to real historical events. All Brecht's qualities like spass, the alienation effect, demonstration of characters and presentation to spectators are all present here. But the best thing about it is what the title suggests, Artur ...more
Oct 08, 2016 rated it did not like it
please never again...
I did not understand most of the plot whereas the subject is interesting.
too many characters I don't care about.
I was counting the pages from the middle of the book till the end. this book was way too long for my liking.
I'm not a theatre person so I might not get the deepness or emptiness of Brecht. This is the second book I'm forced to read from him and I can say that I'm not a fan of his writing. NOT SORRY.
Mar 05, 2012 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
For a book that I have to read for class it was very enjoyable. The idea of taking something something as huge as the nazi's rise to power and placing it in a setting of something so dull as the power of cauliflower selling. I particularly loved the epilogue "But do not rejoice too soon at your escape — The womb he crawled from is still going strong." ...more
Mar 27, 2012 rated it liked it
Shelves: plays, textbooks
This was a chore to read. I bet it would be fun to watch, though.
Oct 15, 2012 added it
Shelves: plays
Hitler re-imagined as Chicago gangster. What else might you want?
Jan 04, 2013 rated it liked it
Shelves: plays, german-dutch
Educational microcosm and parody that describes the rise of Hitler as an American mobster transplanted to America and Chicago to help American audiences understand the growing threat in Europe.
Nov 22, 2013 rated it liked it
Do you ever wonder what Hitler might be like as a Chicago gangster who monopolized the cauliflower racket? Me too.
Apr 11, 2014 rated it really liked it
'm somewhat fond of Brecht, and tragicomic plays like this, which explains Hitler's rise via the story of a two-bit gangster from Chicago, are the reason why. ...more
May 01, 2014 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Read, performed and watched in Ms. Gelfand's drama class ...more
Sep 28, 2015 rated it it was amazing
I love Brecht, and I pretty much love all of his plays. Including this one.
Nov 12, 2015 rated it really liked it
I had to read what the different characters represented...and then I really enjoyed this!
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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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“If we could learn to look instead of gawking,
We'd see the horror in the heart of farce,
If only we could act instead of talking,
We wouldn't always end up on our arse.
This was the thing that nearly had us mastered;
Don't yet rejoice in his defeat, you men!
Although the world stood up and stopped the bastard,
The bitch that bore him is in heat again.”
“Therefore learn how to see and not to gape.
To act instead of talking all day long.
The world was almost won by such an ape!
The nations put him where his kind belong.
But don't rejoice too soon at your escape -
The womb he crawled from is still going strong.”
More quotes…