Takes us back to the time of war. It is the story of AZDAK, the village Scrivener. AZDAK in his kind heart houses a beggar who turns out to be the GRAND DUKE! AZDAK is shown to be arrogant in the way in which he hunts the FAT PRINCE’s rabbits which he sarcastically blames for eating weeds. He puts his friend SHAUWA , the policeman, in a difficult situation.
AZDAK realizing he had housed the GRAND DUKE, who is sought after by the PRINCES, takes himself to court. HE shouts all over the streets confessing his sins. On arriving in court, the IRONSHIRTS notify him that the JUDGE was hanged by the CARPET WEAVERS. AZDAK sings the song that tells of what happened in PERSIA. He is silenced from his excitement by an IRONSHIRT who brings him to the present crisis in his own town. AZDAK in fear retreats into a corner.
THE FAT PRINCE brings in his nephew BIZERGAN KAZBEKI to act as new JUDGE. The IRONSHIRTS are displeased by this gesture and decides to hold a mock trial as advised by AZDAK. In the mock trial AZDAK plays the role of the GRAND DUKE. He satirically pronounces the evils of the PRINCES who benefited from the war by purchasing poor arsenal. He says that GRUSINIA may have lost the war but the PRINCES did not.
The nephew declares the THE GRAND DUKE must be hanged. The Ironshirts realize that, if the nephew takes the JUDGE’s seat, his judgment will be influenced by the FAT PRINCE. They elect, AZDAK as a JUDGE!
AZDAK’s judgment were skewed. He took from the rich and gave to the poor. He handled case with fairness and witticism to the surprise of the people of GRUSINIA. Back in the CAUCASIAN CITY, he handled the case of NATELLA ABASHWILI. NATELLA confesses that she does not like the new JUDGE.

1. The GRAND DUPE, AZDAK is duped by the grand duke. Having learnt the social class mannerisms, AZDAK discovers he has been duped.
2. AZDAK forces SHAUWA to take him to court to be charged for housing a fugitive.
3. From the IRONSHIRTS, we learn that the carpet weavers have gone on a rampage killing the JUDGE.
4. THE FAT PRINCE brings his nephew to be appointed as a new judge but he fails the test by inclining to the judgment of THE FAT PRINCE.
5. AZDAk administers justice allover Grusinia in a way never seen before. He is partial and shrewd at the same time.
6. After the end of war, NATELLA ABASHWILLI comes bsck to look for her child, MICHAEL ABASHWILLI. The case of parenthood will be heard by JUDGE AZDAK.

1. Outline the character traits of AZDAK.
2. Do you think NATELLA ABASHWILLI will receive a fair hearing? Explain.
3. Relate the FAT PRINCE’s behavior to leadership and appointments in KENYA.

1. The Act exposes the futile attempts of the leader masquerading as a peasant beggar being housed by a fair minded scrivener. AZDAK plays out the role of humanity in the way he handles the GRAND DUKE. He shows how the simple have the heart to help in time of chaos while those with resources hide in simplicity.
2. In the play with a play, AZDAK showcases his knowledge on the GRAND DECEPTION. He proclaims that THE FAT PRINCES fought for war tenders, did not supply horses and other ammunitions, enriched themselves and led to the defeat in the war.
3. AZDAK’s time as judge exposes witticism in trying to manipulate law and to apply NATURAL JUSTICE in a way that the rich do not have their way and that the oppressed received a fair trial.


On the day of the case, AZDAK is conspicuously missing. He is later brought beaten up by KULAKS. Later a message is brought in that AZDAK has officially been appointed by the GRAND DUKE as the new JUDGE.
A COOK confides in GRUSHA that AZDAK is a good judge who is fair to the poor. SIMON promises, gloomily, to support her.
When the case begins, AZDAK receives something from NATELLA’s lawyers. GRUSHA is wounded and engages the Judge. She is charged 30 piasters for contempt of court. SIMON too is charged 10 piasters for using indecent languages when he engages the judge in a proverb duel. The duel exposes the double edged sword of language.
AZDAK confides in GRUSHA. He tells her that if she were fair to the child she would have let the child enjoy the luxury in affluence. The major undoing of NATELLA and her LAWYERS was that they exposed their interest in the late GOVERNOR GEORGI ABASHWILI’s estates.
Meanwhile, AZDAK adjourns the current case to handle a divorce case of two elderly couples who were in marriage for forty years. He adjourns the present case again and resumes the previous one. In his judgement, AZDAK uses the CHALK CIRCLE to determine the real mother.
GRUSHA has not the heart to pull at MICHAEL and therefore AZDAK, in his wisdom, determines that the child belongs to GRUSHA VASHNADZE. AZDAK calls for celebration. Before he joins in the celebration. He divorces the wrong couple, GRUSHA AND JUSSUP.
The book underscores the application of basic wisdom in solving some cases where the law seems rigid. In Kenya we call it NATURAL JUSTICE.

1. AZDAK is appointed as a new judge by the GRAND DUKE.
2. AZDAK oversees the case between GRUSHA VASHNADZE and NATELLA ABASHWILLI.
3. GRUSHA loses her cool and calls AZDAK a corrupt judge. She is fined 20 piasters for contempt of court.
4. SIMON engages AZDAK on a proverb war in which he is charged a fine of 10 piasters for contempt of court.
5. AZDAK suspends the case over parentage and calls upon a case of divorce brought in by an elderly couple.
6. To resolve the case of the true mother of MICHAEL, AZDAK engages the test of the chalk to which GRUSHA is considered as the loving parent and given the care of MICHAEL.
7. AZDAK divorces GRUSHA from JUSSUP instead of the ELDERLY COUPLE. He invites everyone to a dance where he disappears never to be seen again.


1. Explain the character of NATELLA.
2. Compare the characters of SIMON and AZDAK.
3. Relate the way AZDAK handled the cases with how justice is administered in your country.

1. From the excitement in the air, it is clear that the peasant enjoy the way AZDAK handles the cases. We are also able to infer that, AZDAK clearly knows that the path he has taken will lead to his ruin and therefore, he treads carefully. When he is brought in by the KULAKS chained and beaten, we come to the conclusion that, human beings can sometimes outlive their usefulness especially when the prevailing circumstances change.
2. SIMON’s proverb confrontation reveals the double-edged sword of proverb language in which, one proverb demerits the other.
3. From how AZDAK solves the case of parentage, we infer that, common Law is in some occasion supreme to the written law that is not conforming to the needs of the society. Constitutional law is static while common law depends on reason and personal assessment.


8 thoughts on “THE CAUCASIAN CHALK CIRCLE BY Bertolt Brecht

  1. Azdak Is Never Interested In Constitutional Since It’s Utterly Punitive. In All Situations, REASON SHOULD PREVAIL. LONG LIVE AZDAK.

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