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WORKSHEET: Der Hauptmann von Köpenick


Play: Der Hauptmann von Köpenick. Ein deutsches Märchen in 3 Akten.

Film: Der Hauptmann von Köpenick.


Zuckmayer based his play on an actual incident that took place on October 6, 1906. An ex-convict named Wilhelm Vogt obtained a captain's uniform and took control of the city hall of Köpenick, a town outside Berlin.


While you are watching the film, try to pick out some of the different speech patterns:


To think about while watching the film; we will discuss these points in class.

  1. Describe Willem's problem(s)!

  2. What is Willem's attitude toward his predicament, i.e. how does he react and what does he try to do? Does anything he does help?

  3. What is the function of the scene in the cafe?

  4. Describe the prison and what happens there.

  5. Willem's sister and brother-in-law.

  6. What happens to Willem next?

  7. What disappointment does Friedrich have?

  8. The scene between Willem and Friedrich after he has gotten the notice that he must leave is very important for Zuckmayer's message.

  9. Describe the effect of the uniform, both on Willem and on the people around him!

  10. Why has Willem stolen the uniform?

  11. How do people react when they find out about the Captain of Köpenick?

General thoughts:

Zuckmayer wrote his play in 1931. He is considered a representative of Neue Sachlichkeit and a supporter of democracy and the Weimar Republic. You have recently learned what was happening in Germany around 1931. Based on your knowledge of history and Neue Sachlichkeit, consider the following:

  1. What was Zuckmayer's overall message in his play?

  2. How did he try to get his message across?

  3. Do you think this method of communicating his message to his audience was effective in those days?

  4. Is this method effective today? Does the play still have meaning today?

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