Bertolt Brecht: Der kaukasische Kreidekreis [The Caucasian Chalk Circle]

(3069 words)
  • Peter J. Yang (Case Western Reserve University)

Brecht's Der kaukasische Kreidekreis [The Caucasian Chalk Circle] takes its name from a test used to discover which of two women is the real mother of a child. In the Bible, King Solomon decides such a dispute by threatening to divide the contested child with a sword, at which point the true mother offers to cede the child to the fake mother. The trial in the Buddhist tradition follows similar lines: the judge places the disputed child in a chalk circle and asks each claimant to hold one of the child's hands. He announces that the woman who tugs with most force will prove who is the child's biological mother, but of course the test works in the opposite direction to what most people in the court presume: not wanting to …

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Citation:
Yang, Peter J.. "Der kaukasische Kreidekreis". The Literary Encyclopedia. First published 30 June 2004
[http://www.litencyc.com/php/sworks.php?rec=true&UID=11582, accessed 19 April 2014.]