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An Exploration of Theme: Love Is Weak

  • Date Submitted: 03/01/2012 07:23 AM
  • Flesch-Kincaid Score: 60 
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Love is Weak
When doing a thorough analysis of a play, the first thing you must figure out before anything else is put into proper context, is the theme. The theme, which is an artistic expression that a play represents, is usually depicted in one simple word or phrase such as hate, reformation of policy, and abandonment yet is typically difficult for students to figure out. It’s complexity comes from the mere fact that there may be many themes within a solitary piece of work.   Also, choosing a theme is somewhat objective and can be based on someone’s interpretation, that is, if argued with supporting facts from the text. Within The Good Woman of Setzuan, written by German playwright Bertolt Brecht, many identify the major theme to be “goodness” because it is explicitly mentioned in the title, yet the theme of love as a weakness has a stronger support in the text.
In The Good Woman of Setzuan, love and the colloquial concept of “goodness” cannot be correlated. Actually, it is “love,” or what is described as such, that most hinders the lead character Shen Te. The theme of love as a weakness is introduced in Scene 2 as the policeman describes the problem with Shen Te's lifestyle. "Miss Shen Te lived by selling herself... it is not respectable. Why not? A very deep question. But, in the first place, love - love isn't bought and sold like cigars, Mr. Shui Ta." (Brecht 366) This is also a reference to the play's original title. Originally, Brecht planned to call the play The Product Love (Die Ware Liebe), meaning "love as a commodity". This title was a play on words, since the German term for "true love" (Die wahre Liebe) is pronounced in a similar way.
Within the Western philosophical tradition, emotions have usually been considered potentially or actually subversive of knowledge. From Plato until the present, with a few notable exceptions, reason rather than emotion has been regarded as the indespensible faculty for acquiring knowledge. (Jaggar 189). In this...

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