What is the most important message to society through Mother Courage and her Children?

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Ashley Kannan eNotes educator| Certified Educator

I think that one of the most important messages that emerge from Brecht's work is to question the cost and value of commerce.  War is shown as a financially successful venture.  Peace is shown as challenging to profit motives.  Mother Courage works for the benefit of her family, but clearly, she is driven by the condition of war that brings profit for her.  Yet, war robs her of her children, who all fall to the destruction of war.  Mother Courage operates with business and profit as superseding all, outlasting even her children.   Brecht is asking the audience to evaluate what the value of profit might be if it comes at such loss.  If profit is valued above all, then war as a business can supersede the value of human life.

Brecht is demanding that the audience question this assertion.  Essentially, the message of the drama is to ask a question:  Do we find it acceptable that profit is worth more than human life?  This is a message that is relevant in Brecht's time and in our own.  It is one in which individuals must examine what is in light of what can or even what should be.  The message of the drama seeks to transform individual thinking about the world and their place in it.

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Mother Courage and Her Children

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