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Mother Courage and Her Children Questions
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How Brecht showed the theme DUMBNESS and Silence in the story?
Kattrin's dumbness is deeply symbolic. That is, real virtue and goodness are silenced in the time of war. Brecht even makes clear that Kattrin's dumbness is due directly to the war: "a soldier stuck something in her mouth when she was small." The play itself deals similarly with several significant silences: Mother Courage's refusal to complain after the Song of the Great Capitulation, the chaplain's denial of his own faith when the Catholics arrive in Scene 3 ("All good Catholics here!"), and the way Mother Courage denies her own son at the end of the scene, first in life and then in death. Weigel's silent scream at the end of this scene is itself an emblem of how war neuters human response.
An antithesis to dumbness is eloquence, and Kattrin's death (itself conducted through loud noises, and answered by the noises from the town after she has died) is perhaps the single most eloquent act in the play.
Key scenes to analyze in writing about this theme: Scenes 3, 6, and 11.
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