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The first use of language is that of the narrative language. This is used through out the performance by a character called the singer. Even though he is given a character name he does not exist throughout the play other than narrating. The first example is on page 9 at the start of scene 2. The narrator first says “once upon a time” which shows this is a story being told in a past tense. The narrator sets the scene for the Governor and his wife “His name was Georgi Abashvilli”. The scene is then set telling us about the revolution, which is taking place at this time.
He tells us this by referring to deaths “a time of bloodshed”. He then sets the scene of the Governors past lifestyle before the revolution. We know he is describing before the revolution as he says “once upon a time” after each sentence. I believe this is narrated by a singer because Brecht uses techniques which let the audience know that they are actors in a role and so the audience do not believe the characters are real. He does this as he believes acting is telling a story and that the audience must know this. He does this successfully with the narrator. This is a Brectian technique which relates to alienation.
The Circle Narrator
This technique also gives the audience chance to become critical themselves of the performance and decide what the characters are feeling. The singer is quite a loud, over the top exaggerated character and shows this through the style of acting used. Brecht often uses exaggerated characteristics (the guest) as part of his style of writing. In this use of language Brecht also uses the narrator to use a rhetorical question. This shows the narrator is on his own and simply talking to an audience not another character. This is affective to alienation as it is showing that the narrator is telling a story not acting.
When we did this work for our practical we dressed the narrator in plain black clothes so they did not looked dressed as a character. We used the technique of the guest and the narrator was very exaggerated in what he said nd told it like a story teller. He was stood centre stage and faced the audience. We used spotlight to highlight him. He also used hand movements towards the audience so they knew he was talking to them. A second piece of language is that of Simon and Grusha. I chose this one and they use subtext and metaphoric language. Subtext is trying to get across one meaning but saying another which is metaphoric.
This is in scene 4 at the bottom of page 57 when Simon enters. Simon first uses subtext when he says to Grusha “The door is still on its hinges? As they say”. This means have you remained faithful and are still open to me but she is not. She then replays “my name is no longer when it was”. Simon doesn’t understand then she replies “When do women change their names Simon? ” which shows she can not tell him straight. She tries to explain she is unfaithful by name but not in bed but Simon fails to understand this and then sees Michael.
Grusha then says “How could I hide it? like it is her child and she says this like she was lying and it is hers but in the same sentence she says “don’t let it worry you it is not mine. This is acted by the character in a confused way. It is not easily understood by the audience so is helped to be understood by the narrator who every so often tells the story. Another use of metaphoric language, or proverbs, that are used at the end of the play between Azdak and Simon when they are arguing. “When the horse was shod, the horsefly stretched out his leg”. Which means when the horse has a new shoe, the horsefly stretches out his leg for one to.
This, to the story, means that the poor take from the rich. Azdak then replies “Better a treasure in the sewer than a stone in the mountain stream”. This means that the governor’s wife may be lying but he believes it is better to pay for justice than justice itself. They then have a metaphoric argument as if to argue they are trying to prove themselves. When we performed this piece, the actors used sarcastic voices to show that it was metaphoric and meant something else. A third piece of language is the monologue which Grusha uses to talk to Michael.
Firstly she sings to Michael which shows the Brectian technique of alienation again as in a real world the actors would not sing like this. She sings about Simon as it is referred to the battles. She says She then says “don’t throw yourself in at the front line”. This is referred to Simon Chachava as she wants him to come home to her. She then says gives tips of how she wants Simon to fight so he comes home to he “in front is red fire, in the rear is red smoke, stay wisely in between, as the first ones always die and the last ones are also hit, those in the centre come home”.
She then talks to Michael in a monologue. In this monologue she says to Michael that they much make themselves “really small, like cockroaches”. This is a metaphor to how she feels as she feels small and wants to escape the fact that the sister-in-law does not want her there. She then tells Michael not to “cry because of the cold” as “being poor and cold as well puts people off”. She says this as she doesn’t want to look poor and wants to be respected as a person with a child without being questioned all the time.