Analysis Of Bertolt Brecht's Alienation Effect

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The topic of war is one that has been discussed thoroughly in plays and musicals; some use it as a dramatic device to move the plot forward and others use it to make a political statement, but often it does both jobs either way. One playwright who used war in his work to make a political statement was Bertolt Brecht and besides having strong views on war he also had strong views on theatre. Brecht believed that theatre was more effective if it distanced the audience from the world of the play, thereby forcing the audience to think clearly and critically about the play. This was the basis of Brecht’s ‘Alienation Effect’ which he then used in his play Mother Courage and Her Children to express his opinions about the dangers of war on society. …show more content…
In theory the Alienation Effect is a great idea to get audiences to think critically about the themes of a play in this case war so that when they exit the theatre they have a new perspective. However, in practice this theory doesn’t hold up as well since audiences have been programmed their entire lives to try and find a way to relate to and understand the characters they see on the stage whether or not they should. A highly emotional musical such as Miss Saigon runs the risk the Brecht feared that audiences will see it as entertainment and not take anything from their experience outside of the theatre but because it is so powerfully emotional it has the power to completely change an audience member’s perspective by making them feel like they’ve gone through these experiences themselves or at least seen someone they now feel like they know go through it. If the characters, story, and emotion feel real to the audience an emotional show like Miss Saigon has the power to completely transform a person’s view. As it is said in the song “Bui-Doi” from Miss Saigon “some pictures never leave your mind”. This lasting change could theoretically also be done with the alienation it is not as effective as Brecht hoped it would be and it is by no means the only way to transform the views of an audience because it has the power to change the mind but not necessarily the

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