The Invisible Protagonist: A Reassessment on Brecht's The Good Person of Szechwan

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More often than not, we as readers are presented with a prescribed set of characters already paired with their assigned role in the text: protagonist, antagonist, mentor, tempter, etc. As a result, the circumstances that surround the characters befall them in accordance to the role that they play in the text. Sometimes, these assigned roles are very explicit and unquestionable, such as in Shakespeare's Romeo and Juliet, where Romeo and Juliet themselves are the protagonists, a certainty that is underscored by their names being the title of the play, and a subject to which I will return to later. On other occasions, however, the lines between these roles become blurred and one has the liberty- or even the duty- to question the "predetermined" character assignments in the work. Such an occasion arises with Bertolt Brecht's The Good Person of Szechwan, a play in which the reader is steered toward the belief that the protagonist is the central and most pivotal character, and therefore must be the one to whom the title refers. While this logic isn't necessarily wrong, it doesn't stand to reason that it is necessarily right.


German Language and Literature

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