The Good Person of Szechwan by Bertolt Brecht, translated by John Willet

Blurb from Goodreads

The Good Person of Szechwan is one of Bertolt Brecht’s most popular works. When three gods come to earth in search of a thoroughly good person, they encounter Shen Teh, a goodhearted but penniless prostitute, who offers them shelter. Rewarded with enough money to open a tobacco shop, “Angel of the Slums” Shen Teh soon becomes so overwhelmed by the demands of people seeking assistance that she invents a male alter ego, “Tobacco King” Shui Ta, to deal ruthlessly with the business of living in an evil world. The Good Person of Szechwan is a masterpiece that shines a light on human nature and social mores.

My thoughts

The Good Person of Szechwan by Bertolt Brecht, published in 1943, is an interesting play all about whether there are good people left in the world and how if one is a good person, they just get taken advantage of. It is set in a society that is being torn by war and everyone is looking out for themselves. The poor and middle class is struggling. 

The main character Shen Teh is an interesting character. She has to fend for herself by prostituition but later becomes a business woman. Being a ‘good’ person, she gets taken advantage of by many people. She plays a double role by disguising herself as her male cousin. In her male disguise, she is more authoritative and stern with people. The double role is a commentary on the different way people treat men and women.

Some incidents in the play were quite illogical and too convenient. But overall, this is a good play that does address some valid themes.

My Rating: 4/5

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