• 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. "At the conclusion of " 'Tis Pity She's a Whore" do you condemn or ...

    Act 3 Scene II where she mocks Soranzo and rejects his advances with witty comebacks, saying that if she could see his heart, he would be dead. Just the fact that she is declining his proposal would be enough to shock a 17th centaury audience as this would not be

  2. The Caucasian Chalk Circle - Bertolt Brecht Ayla Schafer

    He sounded very haughty and conceited. The most chilling point of his character was his hollow, echoing repulsive laugh that he repeated over an over again and was a way of distancing the audience from his character. Another character that Bryan Pilkington played was the Corporal, which was in some ways similar to Prinze Kazbeki, very arrogant and egocentric.

  1. Westside story, plot and sub plot

    Also Doc is a key character during this story because he is the man who tells Tony about Chino shooting Maria which alters the whole play. Riff is first introduced into the story at the beginning with Bernardo who are shown to be the leaders of both gangs and both

  2. Bouncers Plot adn Sub Plot

    Again showing the clash of personalities. * We then go to a flashback by the bouncers to an incident involving a college rugby team called 'Zulu Warriors'. Les, Judd and Eric become the students and Ralph remains a bouncer. Ralph starts to narrate the situation which starts off with Les

  1. 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

  2. Road by Jim Cartwright - Notes on the plot and Subject matter of the ...

    in reality there is and they are just as bad as the one in road. =It seems to be of a political nature, I think its aims were to convince its audience, both inside and outside the theatre, that the values of status quo should be changed into the progressive

  1. Dear Mr Smith, I am writing to you with reference to your proposed production ...

    She disowns her father whom she thinks is guilty. Unlike Kate, Ann is not waiting for Larry, her ex boyfriend to come back from the war, as she knows he is dead. Now she is in love with Chris, Kate's other son, and wants to marry him.

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

    In this scene Brecht show that Mother Courage's business is more important to her then her children and she denies knowledge of Swiss Cheese so she can move on and carry on trading quickly. Scene 4 is set in Poland in 1629.

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