Mother Courage and her children is a play written by Bertol Brecht in 1939. Critics and readers consider this play to be one of the greatest anti-war plays of all time. It’s Brecht’s most thoughtful and passionate statement against the war. The main character is Anna Fierling ˝Mother Courage˝ a roaming trader who pulls her children and wagon through warfare and blood of Europe’s wars. Beaten by brutality, hardships, depravity and finally death of her children, she finds herself all alone with her wagon ready for a new battle. Brecht has created one of the most fascinating characters in literature.
The story takes place in Europe, mostly in Germany, in the 17th century. Anna Fierling or Mother Courage is the main character. In wartime she, her daughter Kattrin who is mute and sons Eilif and Swiss Cheese travel through the Sweden with the army. Mother Courage travels along with the army and her wagon, a cafeteria. Children do not have the same father.
Drama opens in 1624 in spring during the Thirty Years War. Eilif is seduced by the Recruiting Officer into the army. Courage is not happy with the situation and she demands to leave her sons alone. The Officer wants to know why he can’t recruit her children because she lives off the war. But her son Eilif wants to sign up. Mother Courage predicts the fate of her children: Eilif will die because of his heroism, Swiss Cheese because of his sincerity and her daughter Kattrin because of her compassion. Eilif goes with the Recruiting Officer.
In 1626, Mother Courage argues with the Cook besides the tent of the Swedish Commander over the food. In that moment her son Eilif enters the tent with the Commander and Chaplain. Mother Courage rejoins with Eilif.
After three years, her son Swiss Cheese is now a regiment’s paymaster. Here, we meet Yvette a camp prostitute and Courage’s friend who tells a story about her lost lover. The Cook and the Chaplain talk about politics. All of a sudden, cannons explode. Catholics have attacked. Swiss Cheese hides regiment’s money box in the wagon.
After three days, the characters are sitting and eating nervously. Mother Courage and the Chaplain decide to head for town. Meanwhile, Swiss Cheese attempts to return the money box to his general but fails. Enemies arrested him. Courage and the Chaplain returns from town. Two men bring her son Swiss. They both pretend not to know each other. That same evening, Mother Courage finds the way how to free her son. She tries to bargain with the soldiers, but she bargains for too long and Swiss Cheese is killed. Mother Courage denies her son’s body so the body is tossed into a pit.