Author Topic: "The Interrogation of the Good" by Bertolt Brecht  (Read 19090 times)

Cain

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"The Interrogation of the Good" by Bertolt Brecht
« on: February 20, 2009, 12:56:43 pm »
Step foward: we hear
That you are a good man.
You cannot be bought, but the lightning
Which strikes the house, also
Cannot be bought.
You hold to what you said.
But what did you say?
You are honest, you say your opinion.
Which opinion?
You are brave.
Against whom?
You are wise.
For whom?
You do not consider personal advantages.
Whose advantages do you consider then?
You are a good friend
Are you also a good friend of the good people?

Hear us then: we know
You are our enemy.  This is why we shall
Now put you in front of a wall.
But in consideration of
your merits and good qualities
We shall put you in front of a good wall and shoot you
With a good bullet from from a good gun and bury you
With a good shovel in the good earth.

Mu

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Re: "The Interrogation of the Good" by Bertolt Brecht
« Reply #1 on: February 20, 2009, 01:09:01 pm »
I like this poem, thankyou Cain. It confuses me though. Is the poet saying that no matter wheather you are "good" or not, other people will ultimately treat you the same? That was my first impression. It would be interesting to hear what you think about it?
"If the truth can be told, so as to be understood, it will be believed." - The Shamen, Re Evolution, 1992

Cain

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Re: "The Interrogation of the Good" by Bertolt Brecht
« Reply #2 on: February 20, 2009, 01:14:53 pm »
It helps if you know Brecht was a committed Marxist with some interesting history.  Depending on who you ask, he was a committed Stalinist or a subversive revolutionary.  Now, if you think of this poem in the context of the Stalinist show trials...I think it makes more sense.  A man can be good, honest, wise and brave...and yet still an enemy of the Communist Revolution and/or the Stalin regime, depending on whether you think this is implicit criticism or praise of such trials and purges.

Mu

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Re: "The Interrogation of the Good" by Bertolt Brecht
« Reply #3 on: February 20, 2009, 01:23:56 pm »
Wow you must have breezed English at school  :) So depending on which side the person is on they are likely to be viewed as good by one side but not by the other? I guess it helps to look at the history surrounding the context of the poem because that does help make more sense of it.
"If the truth can be told, so as to be understood, it will be believed." - The Shamen, Re Evolution, 1992

Cain

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Re: "The Interrogation of the Good" by Bertolt Brecht
« Reply #4 on: February 20, 2009, 01:53:43 pm »
I did OK  :)

No, I think he's saying these virtues, while all seen as "good" in and of themselves mean very little if you are on the wrong side.  You can be brave and honest and full of integrity...but if you're an SS trooper then what does it matter?  Your good traits are only useful if you put them to good ends.  Otherwise, you're just a more honest and likeable enemy.

Mu

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Re: "The Interrogation of the Good" by Bertolt Brecht
« Reply #5 on: February 20, 2009, 03:46:31 pm »
Oh ok. I get it  :) Yay for deep poetry
"If the truth can be told, so as to be understood, it will be believed." - The Shamen, Re Evolution, 1992

Honey

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Re: "The Interrogation of the Good" by Bertolt Brecht
« Reply #6 on: February 22, 2009, 01:08:20 am »
Like the poem & the insight.   :)

Quote
You never know to whom youre talking.
-Bertolt Brecht, The Threepenny Opera
Fuck the status quo!

The trouble with the world is that the stupid are cocksure & the intelligent are full of doubt.
-Bertrand Russell

Mesozoic Mister Nigel

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Re: "The Interrogation of the Good" by Bertolt Brecht
« Reply #7 on: February 22, 2009, 02:10:28 am »
That was damn good! And I'm usually a bitch when it comes to poetry.
Im guessing it was January 2007, a meeting in Bethesda, we got a bag of bees and just started smashing them on the desk, Charles Wick said. It was very complicated.