GER 341, 342, 343 HomepageOregon State University


****To read this material in German, click here: Dramatische und Epische Form des Theaters
In the notes to his opera Mahagonny, Brecht presented the following comparison between the traditional dramatic form of the theater and his own "Epic" form.

Dramatic Form of Theater

Epic Form of Theater

the stage embodies an event the stage narrates an event
draws the spectator into an event makes him an observer, but...
consumes his capacity for action awakens his capacity for action
allows him to have emotions demands decisions from him
provides him with experience provides him with knowledge
the spectator is drawn into the plot the spectator is placed opposite the plot
suggestion is used arguments are used
feelings are preserved feelings are propelled into perceptions
man is assumed to be known man is the object of the inquiry
man is unalterable man is alterable and altering
suspense about the outcome suspense about the progress
one scene exists for another each scene exists for itself
linear development in curves
the world as it is the world as it becomes
what man ought to do what man is forced to do
his instincts his motivations
thinking determines being social being determines thinking

Brecht and the Epic Theater (1)
Brecht and the Epic Theater (2)
Historischer Hintergrund
Literatur 1925-1945