The Caucasian Chalk Circle

by Bertolt Brecht

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The Caucasian Chalk Circle Themes

The three main themes in The Caucasian Chalk Circle are war, motherhood, and greed.
  • War: The play follows Grusha, a peasant woman who is forced to flee her city due to a political uprising and civil war.
  • Motherhood: Grusha risks her life to save and care for the child of the governor’s wife and is ultimately granted custody of the boy.
  • Greed: Natella, the governor’s wife, fights for custody of her son only because she wants to inherit her late husband’s wealth.


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Last Updated September 5, 2023.

One of the themes revealed in The Caucasian Chalk Circle by Bertolt Brecht is war. In the play, a political uprising occurs, which sees the governor being killed. Furthermore, the war results in the governor’s wife losing her child to Grusha, the house help. Because of the war, Grusha flees the city with the child.

Another theme that is revealed in the play is motherhood. The question of motherhood comes into play when Natella, the governor’s wife, looks for her child. Despite her being the biological mother, the judge decides that Grusha should keep the child because she is the "real" mother. The author reveals that motherhood involves raising a child in addition to bringing it into the world.

The theme of greed is also revealed in the novel. Natella wants to have a share of her late husband’s estate. The only reason that she looks for her child is that the latter is the legitimate heir to the estate. She takes Grusha to court and fights for her child’s custody for all the wrong reasons. However, the judge realizes that Natella does not care for the child: she only wants to inherit the late governor’s money.

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