Reading Bertolt Brecht: “The beggar, or the dead dog”

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This weekend I came across a small one-act play of that is called “The beggar, or the dead dog” and nearly reaches the five pages. It is about the dialogue between a king, who rushes to celebrate his victory, and a beggar, who is very sad because his only companion, his dog, died the previous night.

 

I was completely amazed by a part of the dialogue that shows how easily we can give at least two interpretations of everything, a positive, a negative and million intermediate gradations. It really reminded me some events and words of the past, which made me feel sad or inadequate, but I could deal with them differently and give them a positive meaning. This text I’m talking about:

 

“You have a feeble voice,
therefore you are timid;
you ask too many questions,
therefore you’re a flunkey;
you try to set traps for me,
therefore you’re not sure of anything,
even the surest thing;
you don’t believe me
but listen to me all the same,
therefore you’re a weak man,
and finally you believe that
the whole world revolves around you,
when there are people far more important, myself for instance.
Beside, you are blind, deaf and ignorant.
As for you other vices,
I don’t know them yet”.

 

“You speak softly,
therefore you are humble;
you ask many questions,
therefore you seek knowledge;
you weigh up everything,
therefore you are skeptical;
you listen to what you believe to be lies,
therefore you are tolerant;
you believe that everything revolves
around yourself,
therefore you are no worse than other men
and believe nothing more stupid than they do.
Besides, you are not confused
by too much seeing,
don’t bother with things
that don’t concern you,
are not made inactive by knowledge.
As for you other virtue,
you know them better than I do, or anyone else”.
For the times I’ve been trapped
in someone else’s words…

 

Isn’t amazing? Hugs & kisses

Jo_

 

 

Image credit: Photo by Andrew Branch on Unsplash

 

References
 http://www.teachit.co.uk/armoore/drama/brecht.htm
 http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bertolt_Brecht
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