Brecht, Bertolt "The Threepenny Opera". Social Sciences Essay (Essay Sample)
GERM 1027 Essay #2
Length: Approximately 1,000 words
Citation Format: MLA
Here are some possible essay questions. Choose one. Essays should be around five pages (not including the bibliography). As with the essay samples that I have included on Brightspace, you do not need a title-page; instead, you just need to include your name, your student number, the course number, my name, your TA’s name, and the date in the top right hand corner of the first page. Your essay should have a title that reflects not only your topic but your argument about that topic; an introductory paragraph that introduces your topic, suggests how it will be approached in regards to the text, and closes with a clear and specific thesis statement; supporting paragraphs organized around points that support your thesis and that open with a strong topic sentence; specific evidence from the primary text itself; and a strong conclusion that reinforces your thesis and suggests something about its wider implication.
When it does come to preparing, I would recommend that pick a topic that interests you, that you establish your thesis/argument, that you chart out 3-4 argumentative points that can serve as your paragraphs and help to support that thesis, and that you find the relevant passages/quotations that you will use for support in your essay. When it comes to quoting from the text in the test, shorter passages can be quoted in their entirety, while longer passages (anything more than three lines) can be quoted with the first few words, an ellipsis, and the last few words, e.g. “I have perhaps not yet learnt enough ... now with my other eyes” (161-62). If you use the edition of the play assigned for the class, then you do not need to include the publication information at the end of the test booklet; however, if you do use another text or printout, you must include the publication information (you will lose points if you do not).
Just to reiterate, you can bring your books (or printouts if you do not have a paper copy). You can also bring your thesis statement and your 3-4 supporting points in jot note form. While writing out extended notes and/or drafts can be helpful prior to the test, they cannot be out during the test. Some students have requested the use of dictionaries for language reference, and this is acceptable. Laptops and phones are not allowed; if either are out during the test, your test will be taken away and you will receive an automatic zero.
As always, please let me know if you have any questions.
1. How does Brecht explore the corruption of society and the brutality of humanity? How does he tie these to capitalism? To what ends?
2. Describe the thin (or even non-existent) line between the lawful and the unlawful in the play, and the possible reason(s) for why this is so.
3. How does Brecht dramatize the struggle between the demands of self-interest and the duties of love? To what ends?
4. How does Brecht explore (and satirize) such themes as morality, immorality, and amorality? Likewise, in what ways are moral righteousness, moral arbitrariness, and moral ambiguity prominent in the play? To what ends?
5. As a Marxist, Brecht was highly critical not only of the modern world but of the middle-classes and of the capitalist system more widely. How are the flaws and crookedness of capitalist society explored in the play? To what ends?
6. As a dramatist, Brecht was heavily intrigued by the dramatic (and political) possibilities of exploiting irony on the stage. Discuss.
How does Brecht explore the corruption of society and the brutality of humanity? How does he tie these to capitalism? To what ends?
In the 20th Century, Bertolt Brecht’s contribution to European theatre was unrivaled. As a writer, theatre theorist, and director, Brecht created theatre appropriate for a scientific age. In the late 1920s, Brecht has become aware of the need to engage in a new type of dramatic writing that would oppose the bourgeois theatre system. The result was the production of The Threepenny Opera (1928). The film ironically went ahead to become the victim of its own success. While bourgeois viewers ignored the film by treating it as an entertaining joke, this was to their disadvantage. In the mid 1920as, Brecht began to study Marx, which brought him a new understanding of Marxism. Brecht’s film explores the corruption and brutality in society as a result of the widespread capitalism where injustice prevails. Capitalism has ravaged society since individuals have to survive through corruption and brutality.
Brecht demonstrates that people lie, steal and bribe their way through the planet. As he introduces such individuals in London’s underworld, he does not condemn their survival tactics. While Brecht knows that such survival means are immoral and unfair, he refrains from casting judgment upon them in the play. He aims at demonstrating that a society that is established on selfishness and corruption forces its people to adopt the same practices.
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