CAUCASIAN CHALK CIRCLE by Bertolt Brecht

SCENE ONE: THE NOBLE CHILD
The singer ARKADI performs the song. In his song, he tells a story of the Caucasian City where Governor GEORGI ABASHWILI was the richest Governor in the whole of Grusinia. He had so many soldiers, so many horses, so many beggars and so many petitioners at his gate.
On Easter Sunday, the Governor and His wife NATELLA and child MICHAEL attend the church service. NATELLA tries to draw the governor’s attention to the child’s wellbeing. From this we infer that, the governor loves his child more than the wife who tries too hard to show that she loves the child.
The FAT PRINCE sardonically welcomes the Governor but his mannerisms are such that one can read mischief in his demeanour and talk. There is unusually a large number of IRONSHIRTS in the yard than usual.
The Governor declines to receive any visitors until the service is over. Meanwhile, we are introduced to a soldier, SIMON SHASHAVA and a kitchen maid GRUSHA VASHNADZE. From the outset we learn that SIMON is interested in GRUSHA. Their conversation is petty and playful with a tinge of jealous on the side of SIMON.
The war breaks out and the Governor GEORGI ABASHWILI is assassinated. The FAT PRINCE takes over the leadership. NATELLA helped with the ADJUTANT is hurriedly fleeing the city. She does not want to leave her most expensive line behind. She commands her servants to take every precious thing to the carriage. She forgets about the baby. In her hurry, Michael is left behind.
GRUSHA VASHANADZE in the ensuing melee is engaged to SIMON SHASHAVA who gives her a silver ring to wear. SIMON leaves to join the war. GRUSHA finds the CHILD left alone. She is about to leave the child behind but something draws her back to the child.
Meanwhile, we are able to understand the impact of war on the common majority. One of the workers is so touched by the death of the Governor and wonders how the Governor’s wife feels. A YOUNG WOMAN comments, ‘They even have their weeping done for them’ referring to the governor’s wife who flees away not caring to mourn her late husband.
SIGNIFICANT EVENTS IN SCENE ONE
1. The celebrations of Easter Sunday which brought out sharp contrast between the governor and his subjects.
2. Blossoming relationship between GRUSHA VASHNADZE and SIMON SHASHAVA which ends up in a betrothal.
3. The Governor GEORGI ABASHWILI is assassinated after a successful coup by the FAT PRINCE. His wife NATELLA ABASHWILI escapes leaving behind her child MICHAEL ABASHWILI.
4. GRUSHA VASHNADZE looks after the child left behind and thereafter leaves wuth the child.
QUESTIONS FROM SCENE ONE
1. Do you think it was justifiable to oust Governor GEORGI ABASHWILI out from power? Drawing the reasons from the scene explain.
2. A good mother is the one who sacrifices her all to bring up a child. Justify this statement drawing examples from scene one.
3. Explain three relevant themes that can be obtained from scene one.
4. Discuss the character of Governor GEORGI ABASHWILI
OBSERVATIONS MADE FROM SCENE ONE
1. The contrasts shown between Governor GEORGI ABASHWILI and his subjects brings out a leader who is egocentric and arrogant. He is ruthless in his leadership paying little attention to his subjects. The governor is presented as a man who only gives handouts to starving subjects not regarding the situation that so creates such impoverishment. He represents egocentric African dictators who bathe in wealth, own half of their country’s property and still engage in unscrupulous deals with the west drowning the impoverished countries in foreign debts while creating dumping sites in the name of Bilateral trade agreements. Such leaders Blanket subjects with petty promises and along the road handouts which amount to despondency.
2. NATELLA represents reckless mothers who before their husbands will pretend to love kids but when the husband looks the other was, they immediately forget about the child. During the grand entry to the church, she brought to the governor’s attention, the condition the child was in(he is coughing). During chaos, she only remembered her expensive jewellery and linen.

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One thought on “CAUCASIAN CHALK CIRCLE by Bertolt Brecht

  1. caucasian chalk circle is the only play that outlines clearly the class stratification in the globe .It is a book that can be read by a large range of people ,not only students but also professors .

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