Bertolt Brecht Quotes

People remain what they are even if their faces fall apart.
Bertolt Brecht (1898-1956), German dramatist, poet. Garga, in In the Jungle of Cities, sc. 9.
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What's breaking into a bank compared with founding a bank?
Bertolt Brecht (1898-1956), German dramatist, poet. Mac, in The Threepenny Opera, act 3, sc. 9 (1928).
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To live means to finesse the processes to which one is subjugated.
Bertolt Brecht (1898-1956), German playwright, poet. On Politics and Society, "Notes on Philosophy," (1941). Brecht's view of individual survival under fascism and capitalism.
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The theater-goer in conventional dramatic theater says: Yes, I've felt that way, too. That's the way I am. That's life. That's the way it will always be. The suffering of this or that person grips me because there is no escape for him. That's great art—Everything is self- evident. I am made to cry with those who cry, and laugh with those who laugh. But the theater-goer in the epic theater says: I would never have thought that. You can't do that. That's very strange, practically unbelievable. That has to stop. The suffering of this or that person grips me because there is an escape for him. That's great art—nothing is self-evident. I am made to laugh about those who cry, and cry about those who laugh.
Bertolt Brecht (1898-1956), German playwright, poet. On Theater, "Entertainment or Education?" (1936). Perhaps the most succinct formulation of the difference between conventional theater and Brecht's epic theater.
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Art and science coincide insofar as both aim to improve the lives of men and women. The latter normally concerns itself with profit, the former with pleasure. In the coming age, art will fashion our entertainment out of new means of productivity in ways that will simultaneously enhance our profit and maximize our pleasure.
Bertolt Brecht (1898-1956), German playwright, poet. On Theater, "Little Organon for the Theater," (1949). Brecht's positive vision of theater in the coming age of technology.
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It is not enough to demand insight and informative images of reality from the theater. Our theater must stimulate a desire for understanding, a delight in changing reality. Our audience must experience not only the ways to free Prometheus, but be schooled in the very desire to free him. Theater must teach all the pleasures and joys of discovery, all the feelings of triumph associated with liberation.
Bertolt Brecht (1898-1956), German playwright, poet. On Theater, "Essays on the Art of Theater," (1954).
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The alienation effect in German epic theater is achieved not only through the actors, but also through music (chorus and song) and sets (transparencies, film strips, etc.). Its main purpose is to place the staged events in their historical context.
Bertolt Brecht (1898-1956), German playwright, poet. On Theater, "Alienation Effects in Chinese Theater," (1954).
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The law was made for one thing alone, for the exploitation of those who don't understand it, or are prevented by naked misery from obeying it.
Bertolt Brecht (1898-1956), German dramatist, poet. Peachum, in The Threepenny Opera, act 3, sc. 7.
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A man who sees another man on the street corner with only a stump for an arm will be so shocked the first time he'll give him sixpence. But the second time it'll only be a threepenny bit. And if he sees him a third time, he'll have him cold-bloodedly handed over to the police.
Bertolt Brecht (1898-1956), German dramatist, poet. Peachum, in The Threepenny Opera, act 1, sc. 1.
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You don't need to pray to God any more when there are storms in the sky, but you do have to be insured.
Bertolt Brecht (1898-1956), German dramatist, poet. Pelagea Vlasova, in The Mother, sc. 10.
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