Galileo Author:Bertolt Brecht The Life of Galileo is among Brecht's most complex plays. It consistently refuses easy resolutions to the thorny problems it tackles. Whereas Amadeus remains content with its simplistic struggles between genius and talent, good and evil (making Mozart a sensualist and a buffoon is hardly a complication in a play this schematic), Brecht goes much... more » further. Galileo behaves atrociously, stealing credit for other's discoveries, putting his family and friends into grave peril, destroying his inquisitive daughter's spirit, and ultimately recanting in the face of the Inquisition. These actions are never explained away, never justified in the name of the greater good. They are simply presented as the terrible things a great man did to survive in difficult times.
Better yet, Brecht allows the opposition- the Church and the scientists who refuse to abandon Aristotelian astronomy - real eloquence in their refutations of Galileo. He never sets up straw men to destroy. When the little monk defends the Church's paternalism, it's from passionate conviction and lived experience. His eventual conversion to Galileo's side comes after real struggle; we see how deeply he believes in all that he must reject.« less