The Good Person of Szechuan and the Measures Taken by Brecht Essay Example
The Good Person of Szechuan and the Measures Taken by Brecht Essay Example

The Good Person of Szechuan and the Measures Taken by Brecht Essay Example

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  • Pages: 3 (649 words)
  • Published: December 5, 2017
  • Type: Essay
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Bertolt Brecht’s concept of “goodness” is distorted in comparison with common teachings of ethicality. His writings do not fall in line with the typical plot of good versus evil. Instead, he fades the boundaries between morality and immorality and crumples up timeworn Disney like endings to produce something unexpected and unique. His plays, The Good Person of Szechuan and The Measures Taken, generate two questions. Is it possible to be genuinely good in a corrupt society and is perversion somehow necessary in order to achieve a decent society?At first glance, it appears that the play The Good Person of Szechuan advocates good deeds but, to the horror of Catholic Sunday School teachers, an opposite viewpoint materializes. Shen Te is rendered as a goodhearted woman who is the “Angel of the Slums. ” In the end, however, all her generosity an


d benevolence fails to produce any desirable consequences.

As the altruistic Shen Te, the impoverished community surrounding her takes advantage of her kindliness, because “to extend our hand to a beggar, he tears it off for us”(9a).Her compassion only leads her to trouble and does not better the lives of those she is attempting to help, but somebody else does step in to initiate change. In order to protect her own needs seeing as “the good can‘t defend themselves“ (4a), Shen Te’s counter personality, Shui Ta, acts in a way that can be considered immoral, but his unethical ways spawn societal transformations. With his unemotional, severe and pragmatic methods, he turns Shen Te’s charity shop into a successful tobacco business and employs all those who Shen Te previously helped for free.With the creation of his business, the community

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can now work for themselves and not resort to pulling on the pockets of generous persons who are too sympathetic to defend their own wellbeing.

Given this, it seems impossible to be truly good in a corrupt society without having to cleave yourself in two. Repeated in The Measures Taken, there is one character that is driven to halt any immoralities he witnesses. His version of good deeds do not support what needs to be done in order to successfully change society, but instead they ultimately result in his death.Like Shen Te, this Young Comrade feels the need to individually stand up against any injustice, but his conduct also goes unrewarded. To achieve the transformation of his corrupt society the agitators know that many wrongs need to be overlooked in order to reach a full-blown revolution.

“Control Chorus: But is it not right to act justly and always to combat injustices wherever it may be found? Four Agitators: In order to uphold the great injustice the small justice was conceded. But the great strike was knocked out of our hands.Control Chorus: We agree to that. ”(Act 4). After the Young Comrade reveals himself as a foreigner, the Agitators know that they must kill him to support their effort. Killing another is most definitely not seen as a moral action.

However, the Agitators must commit this unethical act in an effort to support the future changes in society that they are striving for. It supports that good deeds are useless in confrontations of corruption while unethical actions are needed to achieve a decent society.In reality, what does a single good deed produce but a pat on the back for

the doer and a fleeting moment of happiness for the receiver. I can think of no instances in which good deeds alone changed the face of a society. War is the most common pioneer of radical change. One good deed may change the lives of a few, but to change the wellbeing of a whole societal class, drastic actions are undoubtedly called upon. To change society, something can not be given to aid the impoverished and exploited without it being an expense to somebody else.

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