Few authors have had such a dramatic effect as Bertolt Brecht. His work has helped to shape a generation of writers, theatergoers, and thinkers. His plays are studied worldwide as texts that changed the face of theater.The Caucasian Chalk Circle is a parable inspired by the Chinese play Chalk Circle. Written at the close of World War II, the story is set in the Caucasus Mountains of Georgia. It retells the tale of King Solomon and a child claimed by and fought over by two mothers. But this chalk circle is metaphorically drawn around a society misdirected in its priorities. Brecht's statements about class are cloaked in the innocence of a fable that whispers insistently to the audience.No translations of Brecht's work are as reliable and compelling as Eric Bentley's. These versions are widely viewed as the standard renderings of Brecht's work, ensuring that future generations of readers will come in close contact with the work of a playwright who introduced a new way of thinking about the theater.
*(An alternative metaphor, given the subject matter of the play, would have been "stealing a baby.")
(And I may never get an answer to this, at least in this context, but did anyone else pick up a massive 'early SNES RPG' vibe from this book? _This_ is the style and atmosphere that the likes of _Final Fantasy 4_ and _A Link to the Past_ were *trying*, and failing, to produce...)
Little fishes have their hour.
This might be the Master at his finest, remarkably both modern and ancient, timeless parables are bracketed in the struggle against fascists with an all too human squalor that likely made Stalin squeal.
The play within the play is apparently from an ancient Chinese tale, it proved unexpectedly surprising. Grusha is a wonderful, highly developed protagonist, unlike the Portia of Venice, her motivation isn't guile but an almost childish concept of loyalty and justice. No doubt Brecht embraced this unlikely refuge even as the world around him was collapsing into barbarism. The title refers to the Chinese story of a judge placing a child in a chalked circle and the two women claiming to be the mother are asked to remove the child, the nominal reason being that only the true parent could extricate the young one. As the reasoning goes the judge awards the child to the woman who didn't attempt to remove the child for fear of harming it. This is replicated by Brecht with certain human caveats about the stewards of justice and the greasing of palms.