Edward IIby Bertolt Brecht
Bertolt Brecht’s Edward is a hero for the modern era: an existential hero defying a meaningless universe with his courage.
Edward II is, in a sense, Bertolt Brecht’s only tragedy. Based on Christopher Marlowe’s classic of the same name, it departs from its source as widely as The Threepenny Opera departs from Gay’s Beggar’s Opera. Brecht has made a multitude of technical changes calculated to streamline the play, with a smaller cast and simpler action, and he has created virtually new and totally compelling characters with his extravagant variations on Anne, Edward’s queen, and Mortimer, the villain of the piece. Brecht also reinterprets Marlowe’s famously homosexual protagonist, creating an Edward initially more crudely homoerotic and ultimately more truly heroic. Brecht’s Edward is a hero for the modern era: an existential hero defying a meaningless universe with his courage.