Last week, Grade 8 German Language and Literature students attended the play “Der zerbrochne Krug” (1808) by Heinrich von Kleist at the Markgrafentheater in Erlangen. This valuable experience was only possible because parents were willing to pick up their children late in the evening. The exhaustion, yet the feeling of pride and accomplishment, was very noticeable on the following day in school.
In the center of the drama, under the watchful eyes of his supervisor, judge Adam has to find out the truth about a broken jug that represents the virginity of a young maiden. He himself is the culprit and while trying to find someone guilty, the rope around his own neck tightens. He tampers with witnesses and intimidates young Eve while trying to bribe his superior. The serious plot is lightened by puns and slapstick humor because Kleist has written his play as a comedy. In the end, justice wins.
The focus of this unit in Language and Literature is that justice is not a matter of perspective, which is revealed through the structure of the play. The students will learn how to analyze a dialogue and to look beyond the spoken word to see the hidden meaning and true intentions. Now, that they have seen the play acted out, have experienced suspense as well as passages of boredom, they will have a better understanding of the strategies that von Kleist used in order to structure his play. We will look for more opportunities to use the theaters nearby to allow more interaction with the texts we read.
HoD German First Language