• Join over 1.2 million students every month
  • Accelerate your learning by 29%
  • Unlimited access from just £6.99 per month

Threepenny opera plot

Extracts from this document...

Introduction

Plot in 'The Threepenny Opera' Bertolt Brecht's play, 'The Threepenny Opera' is set in nineteenth-century Victorian London during a period of great corruption and poverty. The play is based upon central character Mac the Knife along with different characters of diverse status in society. The play is often referred to as a great example of 'epic theatre'; 'The Threepenny Opera' was created with the intention to educate the audience rather than serve as pure entertainment for the audience to feed upon (also known at the alienation effect). The audience is left with an unexpected ending and are forced to think about the raised issues for themselves; Brecht's style causes constant questioning of situation and character at any possible moment. The play is introduced to the audience with a prologue, a song sung about central character, 'The ballad of Mac the knife' is heard whilst the stage is filled with the different characters one would find in lower-class Victorian London; beggars, thieves and prostitutes are displayed 'working' whilst the song commences. The lyrics of the song reveal things about the character of Mac the Knife, swaying our judgement of this character before we are even introduced. Words in the song convict Macheath with acts of murder and rape; the prologue ends with a man stepping out of a crowd whilst one of the whore's tells the audience that the man was, indeed Mac the knife. ...read more.

Middle

At this, Mac takes his leave and scene two begins. It is in the beginning of this scene that we are introduced to Jenny; Mrs Peachum is instructing her to turn Macheath in to the authorities. Jenny has her doubts that Mac will show up at the brothel but is reminded that he is 'A mighty genius stuck on prostitution'; as predicted Macheath enters the brothel where the girls are working. We become known that Mac is a regular visitor at the whorehouse, highlighting the significance of sex and how it remains as a driving human force. We can only guess that Brecht includes this force as sources suggest that he had many partners and liked to experiment himself. The girls laugh as Jenny reads his palm, foreshadowing her inevitable betrayal, making crude comments throughout. The rough nature of the whores portray another social cast in the play, the whores make the audience feel uneasy but allow them to become aware of Victorian society. Jenny leaves the house to find the authorities to betray Mac; the whores are left listening to a song which Mac sings about his past with Jenny. It is in this song that the audience becomes aware of Jenny's reasoning to rat out her past lover as the song's lyrics reveal Mac's physical abuse of Jenny. This song gets the audience to query their liking of Macheath but remain fairly swayed with his natural charm despite his violence. ...read more.

Conclusion

Whilst the audience prepare themselves for the action, Peachum suddenly steps out of character and begins to talk to the audience, exclaiming that the play will be ending differently announcing that a royal official will now appear on his horse. This royal official has with him an order from the Queen announcing that Macheath is reprieved. The official can be looked at as a 'deus ex machina' which is a Latin term literally meaning 'God out of the machine'; this device was used in ancient Greek theatre where a 'God' would be lowered to the stage using a machine, this God would solve all the problems occurring at the time, in this case Macheath's death penalty. The 'deus ex machina' used in this play is very raucous due to the loose ends that had been tied by the characters, such as Lucy forgiving Macheath, this conclusion seemingly spelt out imminent death for Macheath, but the audience is mistaken. The play comes to an end with a final speech from Peachum who delivers a final moral. Brecht takes a very unfamiliar approach as Peachum's words force the audience to not become caught up in the emotion of Macheath's freedom, he asks the audience to accept the happy ending which in real life would have been seldom. Peachum's final words make the audience leave the play considering the issues that arose throughout 'The Threepenny Opera'. ...read more.

The above preview is unformatted text

This student written piece of work is one of many that can be found in our AS and A Level Plays section.

Found what you're looking for?

  • Start learning 29% faster today
  • 150,000+ documents available
  • Just £6.99 a month

Not the one? Search for your essay title...
  • Join over 1.2 million students every month
  • Accelerate your learning by 29%
  • Unlimited access from just £6.99 per month

See related essaysSee related essays

Related AS and A Level Plays essays

  1. Deliberate Alienation: Surrealism and Magical Realism

    It also allows him to defy seemingly immutable law, as he has attempted to in his stories: "And then the great beast awakes. The groggy Cyclone coughs, sputters, rises from the ground. "Borges lifts into the sky. Thinks Borges, rising, What am I doing?

  2. How does Brecht develop the plot of Mother Courage and Her Children to communicate ...

    Brecht is showing here that in war law and order changes and people can get away with things that are forbidden during peacetime. At the end of this scene war has broken out again and Mother Courage is happy, she can still carry on with her business.

  1. Crucible plot

    having taken part in any witchcraft, evidence late used by Proctor in a mission to expose her false claims in trial, leading to his downfall later on in the play. The psalm is heard by the two characters downstairs which causes Betty to once again awaken with a whine; triggering

  2. Bouncers Plot adn Sub Plot

    The lads then quickly visit the toilets then decide to split into groups to avoid trouble with bouncers and then they head off after Judd pulls the short straw and is paired off with Eric. * We then move to the girls in the pub, this is the parallel scene to the lads at the pub.

  1. Free essay

    hunt of the royal sun

    With this honesty I fell that he makes a bond with his men but in hind sight he also promises too much compared to what is actually attained at the end. This is here to introduce the character of Pizarro and also its purpose it to let everyone know that

  2. What do we learn about New York and the programmes themselves through the openings ...

    Editing has increased the speed of clouds in the sky, showing the very quick pace of life in New York, and showing us that sometimes, the world and her life actually moves around Carrie, while she stays still. This also reinforces the idea of New York being a very busy and demanding city.

  1. Westside story, plot and sub plot

    The first is the rumble scene right at the beginning of the play between the two gangs; this grabs the audience's attention immediately, and because the story has not yet developed they are wanting to know why are they doing this, what has happened in the past that makes such hatred between both gangs.

  2. The Resistible Rise of Arturo Ui Visual, Aural and Spatial Visual: ...

    For instance, in scene 13 Brecht's utilisation of the tolling bells amplifies the extensively sombre nature of the scene, it being a funeral. This feeling is then developed further by the introduction of 'organ' music to the scene. Once again, Brecht utilises an unconventional technique in a play based on

  • Over 160,000 pieces
    of student written work
  • Annotated by
    experienced teachers
  • Ideas and feedback to
    improve your own work