Is Azdak a hero in Bertolt Brecht's Caucasian Chalk Circle??

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thetall eNotes educator| Certified Educator

The true protagonist of the story is Grusha who took care of the baby against all odds. Her love and maternal instincts are affirmed by the chalk circle test administered by Azdak. Azdak as the judge is also considered a hero because, apart from his weaknesses, he was able to discover the baby’s true mother. In the story, Azdak presided over the case between Grusha and Natella, the governor’s wife. Natella claimed back her son from Grusha, for her own selfish interests. Natella discovered that the governor’s estate would only be accessible through the child and this prompted her to reclaim her son.

To make the decision, Azdak asked an officer of the court to draw a circle on the floor and place the child in the middle. He suggested that the true mother would pull the child off the center and out of the circle and confirm her relation. Once the test commenced, Natella pulled the baby from the center of the circle. Azdak noticed Grusha’s lack of participation and requested an explanation. Grusha stated that she would not hurt the baby by pulling him from the circle. This revealed that Grusha loved the baby more than Natella and she was also concerned for the child’s well-being. Apart from this decision, Azdak also dissolved Grusha’s previous marriage so she could marry Simon. Coupled with his other rulings in favor of the weak and poor, Azdak shared the hero position in the story with Grusha.

His balances were crooked/ But they shouted in the streets:--Good, good, good is Azdak/ And the measure that he metes!