Notable Quotes
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There are some with brains and some without. It makes for a better division of labour.


War is like love, it always finds a way.

BERTOLT BRECHT, Mother Courage and Her Children

Though the rich of this earth find no difficulty in creating misery, they can't bear to see it.

BERTOLT BRECHT, The Threepenny Opera

From the start it has been the theatre's business to entertain people ... it needs no other passport than fun.

BERTOLT BRECHT, A Short Organum for the Theatre

Do not fear death so much, but rather the inadequate life.


What is robbing a bank compared with founding a bank?

BERTOLT BRECHT, The Threepenny Opera

The law was made for one thing alone, for the exploitation of those who don't understand it.

BERTOLT BRECHT, The Threepenny Opera

Unhappy the land that needs heroes.

BERTOLT, BRECHT, Life of Galileo

Grub first, then ethics.

BERTOLT BRECHT, The Threepenny Opera

Let nothing be called natural
In an age of bloody confusion,
Ordered disorder, planned caprice,
And dehumanized humanity, lest all things
Be held unalterable!

BERTOLT BRECHT, The Exception and the Rule

The man who laughs has simply not yet had the terrible news.

BERTOLT BRECHT, "To Those Born Later"

When crimes begin to pile up they become invisible. When sufferings become unendurable the cries are no longer heard. The cries, too, fall like rain in summer.

BERTOLT BRECHT, "When Evil-Doing Comes Like Falling Rain"

People remain what they are even if their faces fall apart.

BERTOLT BRECHT, In the Jungle of Cities

The theater-goer in conventional dramatic theater says: Yes, I've felt that way, too. That's the way I am. That's life. That's the way it will always be. The suffering of this or that person grips me because there is no escape for him. That's great art — Everything is self-evident. I am made to cry with those who cry, and laugh with those who laugh. But the theater-goer in the epic theater says: I would never have thought that. You can't do that. That's very strange, practically unbelievable. That has to stop. The suffering of this or that person grips me because there is an escape for him. That's great art — nothing is self-evident. I am made to laugh about those who cry, and cry about those who laugh.


If art reflects life, it does so with special mirrors.

BERTOLT BRECHT, A Short Organum for the Theatre

The storm that bends the birch trees
Is held to be violent
But how about the storm
That bends the backs of the roadworkers?


Love is the desire to give, not to receive, something. Love is the art of producing something with the other's talents.

BERTOLT BRECHT, "Love of Whom?"

You may proclaim, good sirs, your fine philosophy
But till you feed us, right and wrong can wait!

BERTOLT BRECHT, The Threepenny Opera

Mixing one's wines may be a mistake, but old and new wisdom mix admirably.

BERTOLT BRECHT, The Caucasian Chalk Circle

To live means to finesse the processes to which one is subjugated.

BERTOLT BRECHT, On Politics and Society

All the gang of those who rule us
Hope our quarrels never stop
Helping them to split and fool us
So they can remain on top.

BERTOLT BRECHT, "Solidarity Song"

I am a playwright. I show
What I have seen. In the man markets
I have seen how men are traded. That
I show, I, the playwright.

BERTOLT BRECHT, "The Playwright's Song"

You don't need to pray to God any more when there are storms in the sky, but you do have to be insured.


Art is not a mirror held up to reality
but a hammer with which to shape it.

BERTOLT BRECHT, attributed, Decade of Protest

The world of knowledge takes a crazy turn
When teachers themselves are taught to learn.

BERTOLT BRECHT, Life of Galileo

Little changes are the enemies of great changes.


The absurdity of opera lies in the fact that rational elements are used and three-dimensional reality is aimed at while at the same time everything is neutralized by the music.

BERTOLT BRECHT, "The Modern Theatre Is the Epic Theatre", 1930

What they could use around here is a good war. What else can you expect with peace running wild all over the place? You know what the trouble with peace is? No organization. And when do you get organization? In a war. Peace is one big waste of equipment. Anything goes, no one gives a damn. See the way they eat? Cheese on pumpernickel, bacon on the cheese? Disgusting! How many horses have they got in this town? How many young men? Nobody knows! They haven't bothered to count 'em! That's peace for you! I've been in places where they haven't had a war for seventy years and you know what? The people haven't even been given names! They don't know who they are! It takes a war to fix that. In a war, everyone registers, everyone's name's on a list. Their shoes are stacked, their corn's in the bag, you count it all up -- cattle, men, et cetera -- and you take it away! That's the story: no organization, no war!

BERTOLT BRECHT, Mother Courage

I don't know what a man is. Only that every man has his price.

BERTOLD BRECHT, The Exception and the Rule


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