The Resistible Rise of Arturo Ui

Critical response

At the time of the first stage production, in Stuttgart, Siegfried Melchinger, a West German critic, called it a "brilliant miscarriage", and complained that the play omitted the German people,[1] echoing the complaint of the East German critic Lothar Kusche, who had read the play in manuscript. Brecht's answer was, in part

Ui is a parable play, written with the aim of destroying the dangerous respect commonly felt for great killers. The circle described has been deliberately restricted; it is confined to the plane of state, industrialists, Junkers and petty bourgeois. This is enough to achieve the desired objective. The play does not pretend to give a complete account of the historical situation in the 1930s.[11]

In his 1992 study, Hitler: The Führer and the People, J. P. Stern, a professor of German literature, rejects both Arturo Ui and Chaplin's The Great Dictator, writing: "[T]he true nature of [Hitler] is trvialized and obscured rather then illuminated by the antics of Charles Chaplin and the deeply unfunny comedy of Bertolt Brecht."[12]

The play was listed in 1999 as #54 on Le Monde's 100 Books of the Century.


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