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bertolt brecht Quotes

Bertolt Brecht Quotes

Birth Date: 1898-02-10 (Thursday, February 10th, 1898)
Date of Death: 1956-08-14 (Tuesday, August 14th, 1956)



    • People remain what they are even if their faces fall apart.
    • A man who strains himself on the stage is bound, if he is any good, to strain all the people sitting in the stalls.
    • The theater-goer in conventional dramatic theater says: Yes, I've felt that way, too. That's the way I am. That's life. That's the way it will always be. The suffering of this or that person grips me because there is no escape for him. That's great art - Everything is self-evident. I am made to cry with those who cry, and laugh with those who laugh. But the theater-goer in the epic theater says: I would never have thought that. You can't do that. That's very strange, practically unbelievable. That has to stop. The suffering of this or that person grips me because there is an escape for him. That's great art - nothing is self-evident. I am made to laugh about those who cry, and cry about those who laugh.
    • Let nothing be called natural In an age of bloody confusion, Ordered disorder, planned caprice, And dehumanized humanity, lest all things Be held unalterable!
    • Literary works cannot be taken over like factories, or literary forms of expression like industrial methods. Realist writing, of which history offers many widely varying examples, is likewise conditioned by the question of how, when and for what class it is made use of.
    • For this world we live in None of us is sly enough. Never do we notice All is lie and bluff. Caesar beat the Gauls. Was there not even a cook in his army?
    • Do not rejoice in his defeat, you men. For though the world has stood up and stopped the bastard, the bitch that bore him is in heat again.
    • Do not treat me in this fashion. Don't leave me out. Have I not Always spoken the truth in my books? And now You treat me like a liar! I order you: Burn me! Those who lead the country into the abyss Call ruling too difficult For ordinary men. Ah, what an age it is When to speak of trees is almost a crime For it is a kind of silence about injustice!
    • To live means to finesse the processes to which one is subjugated.
    • Mixing one's wines may be a mistake, but old and new wisdom mix admirably.
    • I see with sympathy The swollen veins on his brow, showing How exhausting it is to be evil.
    • It is not enough to demand insight and informative images of reality from the theater. Our theater must stimulate a desire for understanding, a delight in changing reality. Our audience must experience not only the ways to free Prometheus, but be schooled in the very desire to free him. Theater must teach all the pleasures and joys of discovery, all the feelings of triumph associated with liberation.
    • The more innocent they are, the more they deserve to be shot.
    • Some party hack decreed that the people had lost the government's confidence and could only regain it with redoubled effort. If that is the case, would it not be be simpler, If the government simply dissolved the people And elected another?
    • Firebugs dragging their gasoline bottles Are approaching the Academy of Arts, with a grin. And so, instead of embracing them, Let us demand the freedom of the elbow To knock the bottles out of their filthy hands. Even the most blockheaded bureaucrat, Provided he loves peace, Is a greater lover of the arts Than any so-called art-lover Who loves the arts of war.
    • Because things are the way they are, things will not stay the way they are.
    • And the shark he has his teeth and There they are for all to see And Macheath he has his knife but No one knows where it may be.
    • So it happens, for instance, that a man who sees another man on the street corner with only a stump for an arm will be so shocked the first time that he'll give him sixpence. But the second time it'll only be a threepenny bit. And if he sees him a third time, he'll hand him over cold-bloodedly to the police.
    • You may proclaim, good sirs, your fine philosophy But till you feed us, right and wrong can wait!
    • For once you must try not to shirk the facts: Mankind is kept alive by bestial acts.
    • The law is simply and solely made for the exploitation of those who do not understand it or of those who, for naked need, cannot obey it.
    • For the task assigned them Men aren't smart enough or sly Any rogue can blind them With a clever lie.
    • What is the burgling of a bank to the founding of a bank?
    • Mr. Wurlitzer, I am now in a position to receive your organ.
    • Don't be afraid of death so much as an inadequate life.
    • You don't need to pray to God any more when there are storms in the sky, but you do have to be insured.
    • Those who are weak don't fight. Those who are stronger might fight for an hour. Those who are stronger still might fight for many years. The strongest fight their whole life. They are the indispensable ones.
    • The world of knowledge takes a crazy turn When teachers themselves are taught to learn.
    • Andrea: 'Unhappy is the land that breeds no hero.' Galileo: 'No, Andrea: Unhappy is the land that needs a hero.'
    • Science has only one commandment: contribution.
    • What they could do with round here is a good war. What else can you expect with peace running wild all over the place? You know what the trouble with peace is? No organization.
    • War is like love, it always finds a way.
    • Show interest in her goodness - for no one can be good for long if goodness is not in demand.
    • We need a type of theatre which not only releases the feelings, insights and impulses possible within the particular historical field of human relations in which the action takes place, but employs and encourages those thoughts and feelings which help transform the field itself.
    • Society cannot share a common communication system so long as it is split into warring factions.
    • For art to be 'unpolitical' means only to ally itself with the 'ruling' group.
    • If art reflects life, it does so with special mirrors.
    • Art and science coincide insofar as both aim to improve the lives of men and women. The latter normally concerns itself with profit, the former with pleasure. In the coming age, art will fashion our entertainment out of new means of productivity in ways that will simultaneously enhance our profit and maximize our pleasure.
    • Oh why do we not say the important things, it would be so easy, and we are damned because we do not.
    • And when she was finished they laid her in earth Flowers growing, butterflies juggling over her... She, so light, barely pressed the earth down How much pain it took to make her as light as that!
    • Worship with fulness of heart the weak memory of heaven! It cannot trace Either your name or your face Nobody knows you're still living.
    • Oh the harsh snarl of guitar strings roaring! Heavenly distensions of our throats! Trousers stiff with dirt and love! Such whoring! Long green slimy nights: we were like stoats.
    • Marie Farrar: month of birth, April Died in the Meissen penitentiary An unwed mother, judged by the law, she will Show you how all that lives, lives frailly. You who bear your sons in laundered linen sheets And call your pregnancies a 'blessed' state Should never damn the outcast and the weak: Her sin was heavy, but her suffering great. Therefore, I beg, make not your anger manifest For all that lives needs help from all the rest.
    • Here today we huddle tight As the darkest heathens might The snow falls chilly on our skin The snow is forcing its way in. Hush, snow, come in with us to dwell: We were thrown out by Heaven as well.
    • Come in, dear wind, and be our guest You too have neither home nor rest.
    • The rain Never falls upwards. When the wound Stops hurting What hurts is The scar.
    • Spring is noticed, if at all By people sitting in railway trains.
    • On golden chairs Sitting at ease, you paid for the songs which we chanted To those less lucky. You paid us for drying their tears And for comforting all those whom you had wounded.
    • All the gang of those who rule us Hope our quarrels never stop Helping them to split and fool us So they can remain on top.
    • Of all the works of man I like best Those which have been used. The copper pots with their dents and flattened edges The knives and forks whose wooden handles Have been worn away by many hands: such forms Seemed to me the noblest.
    • How long Do works endure? As long As they are not completed.
    • With drooping shoulders The majority sit hunched, their foreheads furrowed like Stony ground that has been repeatedly ploughed-up to no purpose.
    • People will observe you to see How well you have observed. The man who only observes himself however never gains Knowledge of men. He is too anxious To hide himself from himself. And nobody is Cleverer than he himself is.
    • Play your part creatively in all the struggles Of men of your time, thereby Helping, with the seriousness of study and the cheerfulness of knowledge To turn the struggle into common experience and Justice into a passion.
    • Events cast long shadows before. One such event would be a war. But how are shadows to be seen When total darkness fills the screen?
    • The plum tree in the yard's so small It's hardly like a tree at all. Yet there it is, railed round To keep it safe and sound. The poor thing can't grow any more Though if it could it would for sure. There's nothing to be done It gets too little sun.
    • When evil-doing comes like falling rain, nobody calls out 'stop!' When crimes begin to pile up they become invisible. When sufferings become unendurable the cries are no longer heard. The cries, too, fall like rain in summer.
    • The young Alexander conquered India. Was he alone? Caesar beat the Gauls. Did he not even have a cook with him? Philip of Spain wept when his armada Went down. Was he the only one to weep? Frederick the Second won the Seven Years' War. Who Else won it? Every page a victory. Who cooked the feast for the victors? Every ten years a great man. Who paid the bill?
    • The headlong stream is termed violent But the river bed hemming it in is Termed violent by no one.
    • Little changes are the enemies of great changes.
    • Their peace and their war Are like wind and storm. War grows from their peace.
    • General, your tank is a powerful vehicle it smashes down forests and crushes a hundred men. but it has one defect: it needs a driver.
    • General, man is very useful. He can fly and he can kill. But he has one defect: He can think.
    • The man who laughs has simply not yet had the terrible news.
    • In the dark times Will there also be singing? Yes, there will also be singing About the dark times.
    • This is the year which people will talk about This is the year which people will be silent about. The old see the young die. The foolish see the wise die. The earth no longer produces, it devours. The sky hurls down no rain, only iron.
    • Every day, to earn my daily bread I go to the market where lies are bought Hopefully I take up my place among the sellers.
    • High above the lake a bomber flies. From the rowing boats Children look up, women, an old man. From a distance They appear like young starlings, their beaks Wide open for food.
    • And I always thought: the very simplest words Must be enough. When I say what things are like Everyone's heart must be torn to shreds. That you'll go down if you don't stand up for yourself Surely you see that.
    • Art is not a mirror to hold up to society, but a hammer with which to shape it.
    • There is nothing so interesting on stage than a man trying to get a knot out of his shoelaces.
    • In the contradiction lies the hope.
    • Because things are the way they are, things will not stay the way they are.
    • Why be a man when you can be a success?
    • Vices have their point once you see it as such, but stick to two for one will be too much.
    • There are times when you have to choose between being a human and having good taste.
    • Don't rejoice in his defeat, you men. For though the world stood up and stopped the Bastard, the Bitch that bore him is in heat again.
    • Under Capitalism you sell your piss to the urinal.
    • If all people want is to see something they understand, they shouldn't go to the theater. They should go to the bathroom.
    • Finns can be silent in several languages.
    • bertolt brecht

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Bertolt Brecht

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