This title was a play on words, since the German term for "true love" Die wahre Liebe is pronounced the same way. The theme of qualitative " goodness " which seemed so simple and obvious in the title of the play is rendered unstable by application to both genders, as Shen Teh realizes she must operate under the guise of both in order to live a good life. Plot summary[ edit ] The play opens with Wong, a water seller, explaining to the audience that he is on the city outskirts awaiting the foretold appearance of several important gods. Soon the gods arrive and ask Wong to find them shelter for the night. They are tired, having travelled far and wide in search of good people who still live according to the principles that they, the gods, have handed down.
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This title was a play on words, since the German term for "true love" Die wahre Liebe is pronounced the same way. The theme of qualitative " goodness " which seemed so simple and obvious in the title of the play is rendered unstable by application to both genders, as Shen Teh realizes she must operate under the guise of both in order to live a good life. Plot summary[ edit ] The play opens with Wong, a water seller, explaining to the audience that he is on the city outskirts awaiting the foretold appearance of several important gods.
Soon the gods arrive and ask Wong to find them shelter for the night. They are tired, having travelled far and wide in search of good people who still live according to the principles that they, the gods, have handed down. Instead they have found only greed, evil, dishonesty, and selfishness. The same turns out to be true in Szechwan: no one will take them in, no one has the time or means to care for others — no one except the poor young prostitute Shen Teh, whose pure inherent charity cannot allow her to turn away anyone in need.
Shen Teh was going to see a customer, but decides to help out instead; however, confusion follows, leaving Wong fleeing from the illustrious Ones and leaving his water carrying pole behind. Shen Teh is rewarded for her hospitality, as the gods take it as a sure sign of goodness.
They give her money and she buys a humble tobacco shop which they intend as both gift and test: will Shen Teh be able to maintain her goodness with these newfound means, however slight they may be? In a sense, Shen Teh quickly fails the test, as she is forced to introduce the invented cousin Shui Ta as overseer and protector of her interests. Shen Teh dons a costume of male clothing, a mask, and a forceful voice to take on the role of Shui Ta. Shui Ta arrives at the shop, coldly explains that his cousin has gone out of town on a short trip, curtly turns out the hangers-on, and quickly restores order to the shop.
At first, Shui Ta only appears when Shen Teh is in a particularly desperate situation, but as the action of the play develops, Shen Teh becomes unable to keep up with the demands made on her and is overwhelmed by the promises she makes to others.
Where Shen Teh is soft, compassionate, and vulnerable, Shui Ta is unemotional and pragmatic, even vicious; it seems that only Shui Ta is made to survive in the world in which they live. In what seems no time at all, he has built her humble shop into a full-scale tobacco factory with many employees. Shen Teh also meets an unemployed male pilot, Yang Sun, with whom she quickly falls in love after preventing him from hanging himself. Eventually one of the employees hears Shen Teh crying, but when he enters only Shui Ta is present.
The employee demands to know what he has done with Shen Teh, and when he cannot prove where she is, he is taken to court on the charge of having hidden or possibly murdered his cousin. During the process of her trial, the gods appear in the robes of the judges, and Shui Ta says that he will make a confession if the room is cleared except for the judges. When the townspeople have gone, Shui Ta reveals herself to the gods, who are confronted by the dilemma that their seemingly arbitrary divine behavior has caused: they have created impossible circumstances for those who wish to live "good" lives, yet they refuse to intervene directly to protect their followers from the vulnerability that this "goodness" engenders.
It is for the spectator to figure out how a good person can possibly come to a good end in a world that, in essence, is not good. The play relies on the dialectical possibilities of this problem, and on the assumption that the spectator will be moved to see that the current structure of society must be changed in order to resolve the problem.
This version was subsequently licensed through Samuel French. Episode five of the eighth season of the television series Cheers , "The Two Faces of Norm", was based on the play. This retained several features of the version, including the themes of heroin and drug-dealing. Third rev. London: Methuen, Thomson, Peter and Glendyr Sacks, eds. The Cambridge Companion to Brecht. Cambridge Companions to Literature Ser. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.
Der gute Mensch von Sezuan (Brecht)
Vorspiel I. Sie hat den ernsthaften Willen Gutes zu tun. Es betreten die Frau, der Neffe und der Mann ihren Laden. Dabei verliebt sie sich in ihn.
Der gute Mensch von Sezuan
Wang zieht los, ihnen eine Unterkunft zu suchen. Sie geben ihr daraufhin Geld. Als der Schreiner wieder auftaucht, weigert sich Shui Ta, ihm mehr als einen kleinen Teil dessen zu zahlen, was der verlangt. Er befiehlt dann der von Shen Te im Laden geduldeten Familie zu verschwinden. Shen Te kauft ihm einen Becher Wasser ab. Er berichtet ihnen von Shen Te und ihren vielen Wohltaten.
Allerdings verweigern ihnen alle Menschen einen Schlafplatz. Sie sind froh, endlich einen guten Menschen gefunden zu haben. Von dem Geld hat sie sich einen kleinen Tabakladen eingerichtet. Sie hilft mehreren armen Menschen.