Bertolt Brecht: Mutter Courage [Mother Courage]

(2406 words)
  • Alfred D. White (University of Wales, Cardiff)

Like Brecht’s preceding Galileo, the play has a seventeenth-century setting. But unlike Galileo it is situated during the Thirty Years’ War, a gruesomely bloody clash of nations. The protagonist is a rough and ordinary person trying to find her way through the maze of different petty authorities. The profit motive is not the motor of historical progress, but a necessity for continued individual survival – bought with the death of all Mother Courage’s children, a chilling reflection of the destruction wrought on Germany by this war. The structure is devoted to the ruin of a family in particular circumstances, not, as in Galileo, to the exploration of an exceptional individual. Brecht’s starting-point is …

Please log in to consult the article in its entirety. If you are a member (student of staff) of a subscribing institution (see List), you should be able to access the LE on campus directly (without the need to log in), and off-campus either via the institutional log in we offer, or via your institution's remote access facilities, or by creating a personal user account with your institutional email address. If you are not a member of a subscribing institution, you will need to purchase a personal subscription. For more information on how to subscribe as an individual user, please see under Individual Subcriptions.

White, Alfred D.. "Mutter Courage". The Literary Encyclopedia. First published 16 February 2005
[, accessed 29 September 2016.]