A Commentary On '700 Intellektuelle Beten Einen Oeltank An'

1183 words - 5 pages

Commentary of 700 Intellektuelle beten einen Öltank anThe poem 700 Intellektuelle... was written by Bertolt Brecht in late 1927; an era in which industrialisation was looming after a period of economic depression. This poem was initially published in the literary periodical called Prisma in Zenith in early 1928 and then in a magazine by the name of Simplicissimus in early 1929. It featured as part of a collection of poems by Brecht in the Versuche series and was placed under the heading Aus dem Lesebuch für Städtebewohner. This contextual information regarding the poem can help provide additional meaning to the poem as well as also analyzing the text itself. I now plan to see how the text helps create meaning for the reader and also how other contextual information can also provide additional information to help understand the poem in more depth.First of all, the form of this poem is quite striking. The poem consists of 9 stanzas, in which there 49 verses unequally distributed. Of these 49 verses, there are 26 sentences and 28 clauses. This irregular sentence distribution may have been used for effect by Brecht for emphasis as seen with the one word on line 12; Öltank. Brecht does not seem to use regular rhythm patterns but, on the contrary, uses breaks in rhythm for emphasis of shorter verses as seen on line 43. Also inconsistent is the sentence structure with sentence lengths varying from one word to thirty-four words and ‘enjambment’ is also a salient feature, possibly to imply some sort of irregularity about the Öltank.There are quite a number of stylistic features used by Brecht in this poem to create meaning. The use of a paradox on line 24 referring to the Öltank as Häßlicher and Schönste in succession could imply an air of confusion or perhaps of apprehension of the Intellektuellen. Another technique employed by Brecht is that of alliteration, which is first seen on line 5. The effect of the ‘v’ sound is quite interesting as it could be considered as onomatopoeic and similar to the howling of the wind. Another example of alliteration is on line 33 and in this case, we see the vowel alliteration of the phoneme, which creates a more flowing sound, further increasing the effect of enjambment employed by Brecht. In addition to alliteration, the poem seems to resemble aspects of a prayer. This is shown by the direct address of the poem; it is clear that the poem is directed at somebody with its frequent uses of ‘Du’, ‘dich’ and of the imperative form too, as is seen on line 26 ‘Tue’ and line 28 with ‘Lösche’. Also, the choice of vocabulary on line 30, ‘wie du willst’ and line 55, ‘darum ehöre uns…dem Übel des Geistes’ seem similar to those found in a prayer and add to the feeling that the 700 Intellektuelle in the poem maybe feel that the Öltank represents and is a sign for a new belief and thus...

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