Thursday, April 17, 2008

Brechtian Fabel

Yes, the spelling is correct. A fabel is a tool used in analyzing a play. It is meant to simplify the play to one particular essence and state that arc as succinctly as possible. It should begin with a strong statement and usually concludes in 10-15 sentences.

While still a narrative, it is not the whole narrative of the play. For example, below is the famous fabel that Brech wrote on Hamlet. Notice most of Brecht's narrative deals with political events that take place before the play begins. There is no mention to the relationship between Gertrude and Claudius, the entire Ophelia story-line, or the melancholy-brooding prince.

"It is an age of warriors. Hamlet’s father, king of Denmark, slew the king of Norway in a successful war of spoliation. While the latter’s son Fortinbras is arming for a fresh war, the Danish king is likewise slain: by his own brother. The slain king’s brothers, now themselves kings, avert war by arranging that Norwegian troops shall cross Danish soil to launch a predatory war against Poland. But at this point the young Hamlet is summoned by his warrior father’s ghost to avenge the crime committed against him. After at first being reluctant to answer one bloody deed by another, and even preparing to go into exile, he meets young Fortinbras at the coast as he is marching with his troops to Poland. Overcome by this warrior-like example, he turns back and in a piece of barbaric butchers slaughters his uncle, his mother, and himself, leaving Denmark to the Norwegian."

Happy Birthday: Thorton Wilder

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