Goodbye to Berlin Shift to Cabaret

Goodbye to Berlin Shift to Cabaret

  • Submitted By: sammmmmr
  • Date Submitted: 06/05/2010 9:04 PM
  • Category: English
  • Words: 1154
  • Page: 5
  • Views: 3

Bob Fosse’s 1972 Cabaret has transformed and adapted Isherwood’s 1939 novella Goodbye to Berlin. It reflects the shift in context and hence the shift in values. Both Texts explore the rising anti-Semitism attitudes in 1930’s Berlin and the relaxed attitude toward sexual relationships at this time. Cabaret’s retrospective approach to the 1930’s shows why the attitudes have shifted.

Isherwood’s novella Goodbye to Berlin reflects the rising anti-Semitic views of the German population throughout the 1930’s. In the 1930’s the Jewish community acted as the perfect scapegoat to Germany’s defeat in WW1, the stereotypical Jewish businessperson led to jealousy and resentment particularly in these times of economic hardship. This is evident in Isherwood’s Goodbye to Berlin in the Launderers chapter in which the contrasting attitudes toward the Jewish between Frl. Mayr and Christopher represent the views of the German population. Frl. Mayr in conversation with Christopher says, “This town is sick with Jews. Turn over any stone…couple will crawl out”. Here Frl. Mayr uses the metaphor of vermin to display her anti-Semitic views, here use of metaphorical and exclamatory language further emphasises views of some Germans at this time. Christopher juxtaposes this and states “The Landauers are personal friends of mine” showing the opposed views on Jews in Germany. The rise of anti-Semitism is also evident in the later part of the chapter in conversation between 2 men about Bernhard Launderer. The shift between the serious topic of “heart failure” which is innuendo for the removal of Jews, and the mocking tone of the Jewish joke displays the recognition but reluctance to stop this discrimination. Through the characters in Goodbye to Berlin the anti-Semitic views of the German public are evident and the rising tension is explored.

Cabaret’s retrospective approach to the 1930’s is displayed through the emphasis of growing anti-Semitic tension in Berlin where as Goodbye to...

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