The Caucasian Chalk Circle

by

Bertolt Brecht

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Arkadi Tscheidse Character Analysis

A renowned singer who has been brought to entertain the members of the dairy farm and the fruit farm as they gather together to celebrate the triumph of reason in their deliberations over which farm should be assigned dominion over a lush and fertile valley. Arkadi narrates the story of The Chalk Circle for the farmers, creating the play-within-a-play framework of The Caucasian Chalk Circle. Arkadi’s story of the Chalk Circle is essentially an extended parable which celebrates the decision the farmers came to—the moral being that things should be given to those who will take the best care of them. The fruit farmers would be the best stewards of the valley, and would cause it to flourish even further, just like Grusha, the peasant-girl who is the protagonist of the Chalk Circle myth, would be the best mother to the noble child Michael, whom she adopted after he was abandoned by his biological mother. Arkadi frequently relays the inner thoughts of the characters he sings about, and his songs create a direct link between the inner lives of the characters and his audience.

Arkadi Tscheidse Quotes in The Caucasian Chalk Circle

The The Caucasian Chalk Circle quotes below are all either spoken by Arkadi Tscheidse or refer to Arkadi Tscheidse. For each quote, you can also see the other characters and themes related to it (each theme is indicated by its own dot and icon, like this one:
Motherhood as Leadership Theme Icon
). Note: all page numbers and citation info for the quotes below refer to the University of Minnesota Press edition of The Caucasian Chalk Circle published in 1999.
Act 1 Quotes

“O blindness of the great! They go their way like gods, great over bent backs, sure of hired fists, trusting in the power which has lasted so long. But long is not forever. O change from age to age! Thou hope of the people!”

Related Characters: Arkadi Tscheidse (speaker), Natella Abashwili, Georgi Abashwili
Page Number: 20
Explanation and Analysis:

“Know, woman, he who hears not a cry for help but passes by with troubled ears will never hear the gentle call of a lover nor the blackbird at dawn nor the happy sigh of the tired grape-picker.”

Related Characters: Arkadi Tscheidse (speaker), Grusha Vashnadze, Michael Abashwili
Page Number: 28
Explanation and Analysis:

“Fearful is the seductive power of goodness!”

Related Characters: Arkadi Tscheidse (speaker), Grusha Vashnadze, Michael Abashwili
Page Number: 29
Explanation and Analysis:
Act 2 Quotes

“She who carries the child feels its weight and little more.”

Related Characters: Arkadi Tscheidse (speaker), Grusha Vashnadze, Michael Abashwili
Page Number: 34
Explanation and Analysis:
Act 3 Quotes

“While you fought in the battle, soldier, the bloody battle, the bitter battle, I found a helpless infant. I had not the heart to destroy him. I had to care for a creature that was lost. I had to stoop for breadcrumbs on the floor. I had to break myself for that which was not mine, that which was other people’s. Someone must help! For the little tree needs water. The lamb loses its way when the shepherd is asleep and its cry is unheard!”

Related Characters: Grusha Vashnadze (speaker), Arkadi Tscheidse (speaker), Michael Abashwili, Simon Shashava
Page Number: 61
Explanation and Analysis:
Act 5 Quotes

AZDAK: “I’ve noticed you have a soft spot for justice. I don’t believe he’s your child, but if he were yours, woman, wouldn’t you want him to be rich? You’d only have to say he wasn’t’ yours, and he’d have a palace and horses in his stable and beggars on his doorstep and soldiers in his service. What do you say—don’t you want him to be rich?”

Grusha is silent.

ARKADI: “Hear now what the angry girl thought but did not say: Had he golden shoes to wear, he’d be cruel as a bear. Evil would his life disgrace. He’d laugh in my face.”

Related Characters: Azdak (speaker), Arkadi Tscheidse (speaker), Grusha Vashnadze, Michael Abashwili
Related Symbols: The Saffron Boots
Page Number: 96
Explanation and Analysis:

“You, you who have listened to the story of the Chalk Circle, take note of what men of old concluded: That what there is shall go to those who are good for it. Children to the motherly, that they prosper, carts to good drivers, that they be driven well, the valley to the waterers, that it yield fruit.”

Related Characters: Arkadi Tscheidse (speaker)
Page Number: 99
Explanation and Analysis:
Get the entire Caucasian Chalk Circle LitChart as a printable PDF.
The Caucasian Chalk Circle PDF

Arkadi Tscheidse Character Timeline in The Caucasian Chalk Circle

The timeline below shows where the character Arkadi Tscheidse appears in The Caucasian Chalk Circle. The colored dots and icons indicate which themes are associated with that appearance.
Prologue
Justice and Injustice Theme Icon
...says that in honor of their shared guests—the delegation—they will hear a singer that evening, Arkadi Tscheidse. The girl tractorist leaves to retrieve him. The woman from the fruit farm assures... (full context)
Justice and Injustice Theme Icon
Arkadi Tscheidse, accompanied by the girl tractorist and four musicians, enter the gathering. They are all... (full context)
Act 1: The Noble Child
Corruption Theme Icon
Justice and Injustice Theme Icon
Arkadi the singer sits on the floor with a notebook in his hand. A group of... (full context)
Corruption Theme Icon
Justice and Injustice Theme Icon
Chaos and Chance Theme Icon
Arkadi turns the focus of the story to a kitchen maid and a solider from the... (full context)
Corruption Theme Icon
Justice and Injustice Theme Icon
Chaos and Chance Theme Icon
Arkadi turns his focus back to the Governor’s palace, where he says a trap has been... (full context)
Corruption Theme Icon
Justice and Injustice Theme Icon
Arkadi begins to sing of the “blindness of the great,” and the ways in which those... (full context)
Corruption Theme Icon
Justice and Injustice Theme Icon
Chaos and Chance Theme Icon
...from the palace in chains, led by two Ironshirts who are “armed to the teeth.” Arkadi sings tauntingly of the Governor’s fall from power. He does not need an architect now,... (full context)
Motherhood as Leadership Theme Icon
Justice and Injustice Theme Icon
Chaos and Chance Theme Icon
...gathers her things and prepares to leave, but suddenly she is “rooted to the spot.” Arkadi begins to sing. He describes in poetic words how Grusha hears the infant Michael calling... (full context)
Act 2: The Flight into the Northern Mountains
Corruption Theme Icon
Chaos and Chance Theme Icon
Arkadi and his chorus sing about Grusha’s journey. The Fat Prince’s soldiers are after her, and... (full context)
Motherhood as Leadership Theme Icon
Corruption Theme Icon
Justice and Injustice Theme Icon
Chaos and Chance Theme Icon
Arkadi and his chorus sing a small song expressing Grusha’s competing happiness and sadness at having... (full context)
Act 3: In the Northern Mountains
Motherhood as Leadership Theme Icon
Arkadi sings of Grusha’s journey across the glacier. She traverses its icy surface and makes her... (full context)
Motherhood as Leadership Theme Icon
Corruption Theme Icon
Justice and Injustice Theme Icon
Chaos and Chance Theme Icon
Arkadi changes the scene to the cottage of a peasant woman and her dying son. Grusha’s... (full context)
Motherhood as Leadership Theme Icon
Chaos and Chance Theme Icon
While Jussup eats cake, Arkadi sings about the awkwardness of the situation. Grusha is newly married, even as her lover,... (full context)
Chaos and Chance Theme Icon
Arkadi, signaling the passage of even more time, sings a song in which he describes Grusha... (full context)
Motherhood as Leadership Theme Icon
Chaos and Chance Theme Icon
Arkadi sings the things that Simon and Grusha cannot say out loud to one another. He... (full context)
Justice and Injustice Theme Icon
Chaos and Chance Theme Icon
Arkadi sings again, narrating that, as the Ironshirts take the child back to the city, Grusha... (full context)
Act 4: The Story of the Judge
Justice and Injustice Theme Icon
Chaos and Chance Theme Icon
Arkadi calls upon the audience to listen to the story of Azdak the judge and learn... (full context)
Corruption Theme Icon
Justice and Injustice Theme Icon
...does not trust the old man, but still he allows him to stay the night. Arkadi intervenes to sing of how Azdak, over the course of the evening, came to realize... (full context)
Corruption Theme Icon
Justice and Injustice Theme Icon
Chaos and Chance Theme Icon
Arkadi sings of how Azdak remained the judge for two years, ruling justly as “cockroaches crawled... (full context)
Justice and Injustice Theme Icon
Chaos and Chance Theme Icon
Arkadi and his chorus sing of Azdak’s continuing travels throughout the countryside. He gains renown as... (full context)
Corruption Theme Icon
Justice and Injustice Theme Icon
Arkadi and his chorus sing of how Azdak “broke the rules” to save the local populace,... (full context)
Corruption Theme Icon
Justice and Injustice Theme Icon
Chaos and Chance Theme Icon
Arkadi reveals that eventually the Grand Duke returned to Nuka, as did the Governor’s wife, Natella.... (full context)
Act 5: The Chalk Circle
Motherhood as Leadership Theme Icon
Corruption Theme Icon
Justice and Injustice Theme Icon
...hers, Azdak says, Michael can live in the lap of luxury and want for nothing. Arkadi intervenes to sing Grusha’s thoughts aloud. She knows that if Michael grows up rich, he... (full context)
Motherhood as Leadership Theme Icon
Justice and Injustice Theme Icon
Chaos and Chance Theme Icon
Arkadi intervenes one final time to announce that after that night Azdak was never again seen... (full context)