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Galileo Galilei has captivated the minds of audiences for centuries As a renowned astronomer physicist mathematician and scientist he has immensely impacted the world and become the center of many literary works Bertolt Brecht wrote his play Galileo about the life of this great scientific figure He wrote his first version of the play while in exile in Denmark in 1938-1939 he then wrote a revised English version in Hollywood in 1945-1946 with actor Charles Laughton and he wrote yet another revised version combining the previous two versions in Berlin in 1955 translated to English by Desmond Vesey Szczesny 8 Rohrmoser 117 Just as science itself is a very controversial topic Brechts play has also aroused several controversies One such controversy is whether Brechts character Galileo is a tragic hero Aristotle outlines the major characteristics of a tragic hero in his book Poetics Reiss Although the character Galileo meets several of the qualifications outlined by Aristotle he is not necessarily a tragic hero the way Bertolt Brecht represents himGalileo did gain a better understanding of the role of a scientist through his condemnation Brecht Galileo 116-125 which meets yet another of Aristotles qualities of a tragic herothe hero must come to some realization or gain some knowledge The final characteristic of a tragic hero is the events that take place cause the audience to experience a catharsis which is an emotional cleansing from seeing the tragic fate of the hero Reiss This quality cannot be easily proven because each person responds to situations differently nevertheless Galileos fate was indeed a tragic oneThe different characters in the play each have different opinions of Galileo some regard him as heroic while others do not Because of all Galileos great contributions many regard him in high esteem if not as a hero Much of the common people of the day regarded Galileo as heroic because he wrote his teaching in the common language so that they could all
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