How does Brecht develop the plot of Mother Courage and Her Children to communicate character and their situation?

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 How does Brecht develop the plot of Mother Courage and Her Children to communicate character and their situation?

Brecht wrote Mother Courage and Her Children in 1939 when he was in exile from persecution in Germany and the Second World War had started. Brecht had to travel a lot as a refugee and this is reflected in Mother Courage. The play was written as a warning to people who were supporting the war and the Nazis. Brecht created the concept of Epic Theatre which was the opposite to Aristotle’s theory of time, and action known as Dramatic theatre.

Scene 1 is set in 1642 in Sweden. In scene 1 we are introduced to the characters of Mother Courage and her children, we also learn a bit of background and Mother Courage’s feelings about the war. She doesn’t want the children involved and predicts their deaths if they do get involved in the war. Despite her warning Eilif her eldest son joins the army. In this scene Brecht shows Mother Courage’s concern for her children is tempered by her love of business.  She is rude and angry to the recruitment officer and sergeant, yet when they offer to buy something she is eager to help. This gives Eilif the chance to sneak off with the recruitment officer.

Scene 2 is set in 1626 in Poland. Mother Courage is haggling with the general’s cook over a small capon. She is offering an outrageously high price but the cook pays it as he needs the food. This shows that food is the currency of war and Mother Courage takes advantage of this so she can make a larger profit. Also in this scene Mother Courage hears her son Eilif being congratulated for killing some peasants and taking their cattle, however instead of praising him, Mother Courage slaps Eilif because he didn’t run away when he was being attacked.

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Scene 3 is set in Poland in 1629. Mother Courage meets Yvette the town prostitute, who has VD. Mother Courage warns Kattrin, her daughter who can’t speak, not to get involved with soldiers or she will end up like Yvette, however Kattrin still tries on Yvette’s boots and copies her walk. This shows Kattrin’s sexual frustration and desire for a husband. The Imperial forces take over the camp and Swiss Cheese, Mother Courage’s other son and the regimental paymaster, is killed for stealing the cash box. His body is shown to Mother Courage but she shows no sign of recognition. ...

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