A comparison of three songs of Brecht's "Mother Courage and her Children" with the parados and 3rd stasimon of Sophocles' "Antigone"

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The play, “Mother Courage and her Children” was written by Bertolt Brecht in 1939 as an anti World War II play. “Antigone”, by Sophocles, was written somewhere between 400 and 500 B.C and talks about the debate between family laws and state laws in the form of a popular drama.  

Through analyzing the three songs “The Fraternisation Song” (scene 3), “The Song of the Wise and the Good” (scene 9) and “The Song of the Hours” (scene3), it will be seen that these songs can be contrasted with the parados and 3rd stasimon of the play “Antigone”.

“The Fraternisation Song” is a song of caution voiced by Yvette, the camp prostitute, to the gullible Kattrin. Yvette denounces the opportunistic façade of love and the foolishness of belief in the higher concepts of love. In the first stanza consisting of 12 lines, Yvette portrays her deflowering by the enemy. The three types of rhyming patterns are “abcb”, “aabb” and “abba”.  In the second stanza of 12 lines, Yvette gives us a closer look at the idiocy when she gave herself up to the camp cook and saw other girls do the same. The third stanza of 12 lines relates the birth of recognition and understanding in Yvette as it dawns upon her that war brings nothing but melancholy and disaster in its wake.  She describes how men condescended with her notions of love and how love was twisted to rape towards December. The month December is an allegory for the departure of the soldiers as well as the loss of innocence. There is grief and a sense of terrible loss etched in those two words: “December came.” Her song brings to light the general futility of conflict and the personal loss of her innocence. The second and third stanzas follow the same rhyming pattern as the first.

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“The Song of the Wise and the Good” boldly criticises and ridicules virtues during times of war. The first stanza of 10 lines is a simple tale of the wise Solomon who was acclaimed for his lofty ideals and his throne like position above the littleness of mortals. The first stanza goes on to tell the readers how Solomon was cut down because of his wisdom. The second stanza of 10 lines describes Julius Caesar’s mighty fall from his invulnerability due to his reckless courage. The third stanza of 10 lines shows the death of Socrates because of his ...

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