Text of Encountering Conflict Life of Galileo – Bertolt Brecht
Encountering ConflictLife of Galileo – Bertolt Brecht
Today we will look at…
A framework for Encountering Conflict
The context of the story within the play
Brief overview of the play
Scene summaries & the conflict present in each scene
The context of the writing
How to use Life of Galileo when writing
Outcome 2: Creating and presenting
A framework for considering conflict:Internal
Context of the story
During the Renaissance
All official church documentation is in Latin
All authority is through the church
Federzoni, The Little Monk
Brief overviewGalileo disproves Aristotle’s thinking that the sun orbits around the earth and proves Copernicus’ theory that the earth orbits the sun. He does this by observing the moons around Jupiter.
He tries to get his work recognised and accepted but meets with great opposition from the church.
There is social unrest due to oppression by the Catholic Church and so Galileo’s ideas are warmly embraced by the common man.
The Church forces Galileo to recant what he has previously said.
Afraid for his life/and or the torture he may suffer, he agrees.
He is put under house arrest but surreptitiously continues his writing, which, by the end of the play, has found it’s way to the common man.
Galileo is a scientist who supports Copernicus’ theory that the earth orbits around the sun
Money is an issue.
Asks for a raise.
Takes on a new student, Ludovico.
Finds an idea, the telescope, that he chooses to steal.
Scene 1: Conflict
Thirst for knowledge
Galileo presents his telescope to the city
His daughter, Virginia, brings Ludovico.
Ludovico questions the originality of the idea.
Galileo proclaims that the casing is a different colour and that is enough.
Scene 2: Conflict
Should conflict be entered into when an injustice is witnessed?
“And it strikes me that I’m starting to learn a thing or two about
science” Ludovico p22
Galileo is researching with his friend Sagredo.
While looking at the moons of Jupiter, Galileo is insisting that society will welcome his discoveries.
Sagredo isn’t as confident.
Galileo tells Sagredo of his plan to appeal to the royal family in Florence so that they will sponsor him and he can concentrate on his discoveries.
Sagredo cautions him.
Scene 3: Conflict
The power of words “Got rid of Heaven” p24
Is it ever right to steal?
Proof and reason p29
Importance of friends
Galileo has moved to Florence
Cosimo (9) the Grand Duke of Florence has come to visit and is fighting with Andrea in Galileo’s study.
A theologian, mathematician and philosopher have also come to visit.
• Galileo wants them to look through the telescope but they refuse, referring it to the papal astronomer (not present).
Scene 4: Conflict
• Is there ever a time to resolve conflict with violence?
• Different world views
• Truth: will it always shine through?
• The plague arrives and the royal court offer to take Galileo to safety.
• He refuses.
• Mrs. Sarti, the housekeeper, stays.
• Andrea runs away back to them.
• Galileo feels that his staying will be taken as proof that his research is true.
Scene 5: Conflict
• The plague
• How does fear fuel conflict?
Scene 6• 1616 - Galileo is at the Vatican in Rome
• The Monks are making fun of the new discoveries and the impact this is having in society
• The Very Old Cardinal arrives and declares that man is made in God’s image therefore the universe should revolve around man (thus the sun around the earth).
• He is passionate and faints.
• The papal astronomers come in and confirm Galileo’s findings.
• No one wants to tell the Cardinal when he rouses.
Scene 6: Conflict
• Secret keeping
• Challenging authority
• Risk taking
Scene 7• March 5th 1616 - Cardinal Bellarmin’s house in Rome
• Virginia and Ludovico announce their engagement.
• The church officially rejects Copernicus’ stand on the universe and instructs Galileo to abandon this view.
• Secretaries create transcripts of the conversations had with Galileo.
• Galileo declares that man’s view of God’s creation is wrong.
• The Cardinal Inquisitor also finds out who Galileo’s daughter, Virginia, confesses to.
Scene 7: Conflict
• How do issues go from concerning a few to concerning many?
• How does the nature of conflict change when it becomes a societal issue?
• Is it underhand to secretly collect information and build a case against someone?
• Florentine Ambassador’s palace in Rome
• A Little Monk goes to visit Galileo and to talk him out of maintaining his views.
• Galileo responds by defending the need to tell the truth.
Scene 8: Conflict
• Ethical research
• Bribery and personal comfort first
Scene 9• Galileo’s house in Florence – he has been silent about
his work for 8 years
• Virginia is preparing for her wedding to Ludovico.
• Galileo is conducting floating/sinking experiments in his home with Andrea, Federzoni and the Little Monk.
• Ludovico arrives to visit with Virginia, with news that the Pope is dying.
• Galileo resumes his research on sun spots. Ludovico challenges Galileo about his work and the trouble it could cause.
• Galileo dismisses Ludovico who then leaves, breaking his engagement to Virginia.
Scene 9: Conflict
• Choosing the radical
Scene 10• 10 years later
• The scene opens with a carnival procession
• The common people response to Galileo’s publications (written in the common language).
• The singers are telling a story of Galileo’s discovery breaking the authority of the Bible, and thus of the church. (Galileo, himself, did not say such things but, rather, was explaining a new way to understand God’s creation. Scene 4)
Scene 10: Conflict
• Social change
“For independent spirit spreads like foul diseases.” The Ballad Singer p84
• The power of words
Scene 11• 1633 – Galileo and Virginia are at the Medici
palace in Florence.
• He is waiting to see Cosimo, to discuss the book.
• An ironmonger talks with Galileo, expressing his view that Galileo is an inspiration to the everyday man. He warns Galileo of impending trouble and offers to provide a way out of town for him.
• Cosimo takes a long time before seeing Galileo and is then awkward and embarrassed. It doesn’t go well.
• Galileo tells Virginia that he has organized an escape from town.
• As they get up to leave they are accosted and Galileo is summoned to the Inquisition.
Scene 11: Conflict
• Suffering the consequences for something you can’t control.
• Too little, too late.
• The Pope and The Inquisitor are discussing social unrest.
• They feel it is connected with what Galileo has been saying.
• They are unsettled by Galileo’s discussion of machines and his theories of light.
“a terrible restlessness had descended on the world” The Inquisitor p91
Scene 12: Conflict
• Rapid change in the world.– How do people keep up with all of the
changes that are happening?– What about those people who can’t keep
up?– How does rapid change cause conflict?– Do mobile phones make the changes
happen faster? Eg Syria?
Scene 13• June 22nd 1633 - Before the Inquisition
• The Little Monk, Federzoni and Andrea are waiting for the outcome, discussing their belief that Galileo won’t recant.
• Virginia is to one side, praying that Galileo will recant.
• The bell rings and The Crier gives the announcement, Galileo has recanted.
• The Little Monk goes back to his religious life and Federzoni goes back to be a lens grinder, however Andrea is particularly angry with Galileo.
• Andrea and Galileo argue.
Scene 13: Conflict
• Does giving in mean losing?
Scene 14• 1633-1642 - Under house arrest
• Geese are delivered from an anonymous donor.
• We learn that Galileo’s crime, as he sees it, is that he wrote a dissertation in the language of the people rather than keeping it in Latin (and thus away from the people).
• Andrea, still angry, comes to visit, having been asked to by Fabricius in Amsterdam to check on Galileo’s health.
• Galileo plays the party line while Virginia and the monk are in the room. They leave to deal with the geese, assuming that there is enough animosity between the two to ensure no underhand dealings.
• Galileo tells Andrea that he has continued to write and has hidden the book in the Globe.
• Galileo confesses to Andrea that he recanted because he was afraid of the torture he might suffer if he didn’t recant. Galileo feels regret.
Scene 14: Conflict
• When is it right to give in and when is it right to stand?
• Is there a time when the correct way to handle conflict is to allow behaviour to become pleasing and belief to become quiet?
Scene 15• 1637 - Galileo’s book ‘Discorsi’ crosses the
• Andrea openly reads Galileo’s book while he crosses the Italian border.
• He is accompanied by his child assistant Giuseppe.
• Children nearby discuss the idea that a local woman is a witch who can fly on a broom.
• Andrea answers the children that it is impossible for a woman to fly on a broom without some sort of motor attached.
• Superstition and scientific truth are contrasted.
Scene 15: Conflict
• Andrea’s actions, reading Galileo’s book as he is searched at the border, indicates that Brecht believes that scientific truth will win in the end. However, Andrea lied about what he was reading, saying he was reading Aristotle. What is Brecht saying about the truth?
• Can science answer the issue of conflict?
The context of the writing
• 1933 Nazi Germany burns the books written by Brecht
• Brecht leaves Germany
• 1938 the Munich Agreement occurs (part of Czechoslovakia was given to Germany as an appeasement to prevent war)
• As a reaction Brecht writes Life of Galileo
• He commentates on the empowerment of the common man and challenges oppressive authority
• 1941 Moves to the United States of America
Issue reflected in the writing
• A reaction to Nazi Germany
• A reaction to Fascism in Italy
• An agreement with Marxist thinking (the uprising of the oppressed and classless society)
• A reaction to McCarthyism (accusations without evidence) & HUAC
How to use Life of Galileo in student’s
writing • Find the genre that students are most confident writing in.
• Expository/Persuasive/Imaginative can look like, for example:– Speech– Monologue– Dialogue– Letter– Blog– Newspaper column
• Ensure that students understand the style that goes with the genre they are writing in.