About the Author
Bertolt Brecht is a German poet, play writer, theatre director and Marxist. Born in Augsburg, Germany in 1898 and was a medical orderly during WWI. This has reinforced hatred about war and eventually became more interested in literature than medicine. He is highly influenced by English writers and Chinese philosophers of the time. His famous works are ‘Drums in the Night’ about a soldier returning from war, ‘The Beggar’s Opera’ about his growing belief in Marxism. Most of his work projects a Marxist interpretation of society forced him to flee from Nazi Germany when Hitler gained power. In his final years – he founded the Berlin Ensemble in 1949 and over the next few years, it became the country’s most famous theatre company Background
Ancient Greeks saw the universe as a sphere, with earth in the middle, a sold, unmoving ball. At different heights between earth and sky, they said, the moon, the sun and the planets go around. Aristotle (384-22 B.C.) accepted the earth-centred picture, his whole system was impressive. Ptolemy of Alexandria’s Almagest, a masterpiece supports the whole earth-centred origin. Nicolaus Copernicus (1472-1543), like Aristarchus saw that the pattern would make better sense with sun in the centre. In 1616, church declared that it was against religion to say that sun stood still and the earth move. Brecht’s play takes us from a period where everyone accepted Ptolemaic theory to a period where Copernican theory was beginning to penetrate. Scene 1
The scene begins with Galileo taking bath and trying to explain Andrea Sarti about the proof which he has made about the Copernicus theory. He is the son of Galileo Galilei’s housekeeper, examines a model of the solar system as it is understood to exist, with the Earth at its centre. Galileo is prepared to challenge that belief: “I have made discoveries we can no longer withhold from the world.” He demonstrates Copernicus’ findings that the earth moves round the sun and Andrea, by making the kid sit on a chair and moving him around the model and asking him whether he has moved or the model as moved and the kid finally get convinced by the explanation that it is possible for the earth to rotate without its inhabitants feeling ‘upside down’, relishes the opportunity to upset his mother with this latest heretical discovery. Meanwhile Galileo is trying to make his ends meet as he spends most of the money on books and is yet to pay for the milk man, Enters LUDOVICO, a rich young man from Holland, wants to “understand science”. Galileo agrees to teach him as there’s money in the venture. Ludovico talks of a new invention on the Dutch markets – a telescope. The Chancellor of the University visits from whom Galileo borrows one scudi and sends Andrea off to buy lenses from the lens grinder. The Chancellor cannot approve a rise in Galileo’s salary since he gives only two lectures per week and receives the university’s protection against the Inquisition. Galileo has freedom to practice science. The Chancellor suggests that he would make money from inventing something. Andrea returns with the lenses and Galileo warns him not to disclose any details of their recent conversations to anyone. Scene Two
Galileo presents his new invention the telescope to a crowd of dignitaries, claiming it is the result of 17 years’ research. All the dignitaries applaud to the new invention. At the end of the scene Galileo’s daughter, VIRGINIA, brings Ludovico to pay his compliments to her father. Ludovico who has given this idea of concave and convex mirror combination mode looks at Galileo and says “You have made the cover red. In Holland it was green.” Scene Three
The scene opens on the terrace of Galileo’s home and the telescope pointed towards the sky and he urges Sagredo to look the moon. Sagredo examines the moon through the telescope. Galileo explains that the light he can see is not the moon’s own, but reflected from the earth. Sagredo...
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