Key Difference Between Chekhov And Brecht

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Another key difference between Chekhov and Brecht is evident in the techniques implemented in their work. As previously stated, Brecht’s work features the use of Verfremdungseffekt or the V-effect in order to distance the audience so that ‘every spectator is enabled to become a participant’ (Benjamin, 1996, 68) as they take an active role in critically analysing the onstage action. Chekhov, however, adopts a different approach, as his plays immerse the audience in that particular world and allows them to emotionally engage with the characters. In contrast, Brecht did not favour emotional catharsis as he felt that it left the audience complacent and that it was an unnecessary distraction. The V –effect acted as a crucial element so that the …show more content…
Interruption plays a significant role in contributing to the V-effect in Brechtian theatre. When there is a break in the dramatic action, this prevents the audience from becoming over-absorbed in the world of the play, allowing them to reflect and examine the issues presented. Poetry and song act as these interruptions in a great deal of Brecht’s work. According to Benjamin ‘like the pictures in a film, epic theatre moves in spurts. Its basic form is that of shock with which the single, well-defined situations of the play collide. The songs, the captions, the lifeless conventions set off one situation form another. This brings about intervals which, if anything, impair the illusion of the audience and paralyze its readiness for empathy. These intervals are reserved for the spectators’ critical response’ (1996, 69). For example, Fear and Misery of the Third Reich includes a short poem as a prologue to the play and features a poem at the start of the playlets. Not only does this allow break up the playlets, indicating to the audience that the dramatic action is changing to a different situation, it also emphasises the overall themes that the playlet depicts. These poems set the tone of the piece, before the characters begin their …show more content…
Chekhov achieves this through the juxtaposition of tragedy and comedy. The Cherry Orchard, may easily be read as a tragedy due to the adverse sequence of events that happen to the family. However, Chekov had the intention of portraying this play as a comedy and was outraged when Stanislavski infamously staged it in a tragic nature. Yet, one is not able to state that The Cherry Orchard is definitively comedic or tragic. Chekhov uses a mixture of both genres in order to create an authentic reality that reflects real life. Comedy is clearly evident in this play through the behaviour and reactions of the characters. Tragic and comedic elements are consistently implemented in order to highlight the absurd and illogical nature of the characters actions. For example, Renevskaya’s behaviour throughout the play is completely irrational. We are presented with the tragic element of the loss of her childhood home, yet her absurd actions are emphasised as she continues to lavishly spend money even though she is broke. She gives money to Pishchik, a gold coin to a beggar and spends her limited funds frivolously on an orchestra. According to Remaley ‘Chekhov develops a comic incongruity between the serious situation and the trivial response, an incongruity, which emphasises the

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