Bertolt Brecht: Mutter Courage [Mother Courage]

(2409 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 …

Please log in to consult the article in its entirety. If you are not a subscriber, please click here to read about membership. All our articles have been written recently by experts in their field, more than 95% of them university professors.

White, Alfred D.. "Mutter Courage". The Literary Encyclopedia. First published 16 February 2005
[, accessed 03 July 2015.]