The Broken Jug cover

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The Broken Jug


The Broken Jug (German: Der zerbrochne Krug, pronounced [deːɐ̯ t͡sɛɐ̯.ˈbʁɔx.nə kʁuːk] (listen), also sometimes translated The Broken Pitcher) is a comedy written by the German playwright Heinrich von Kleist. Kleist first conceived the idea for the play in 1801, upon looking at a copper engraving in Heinrich Zschokke's house entitled "Le juge, ou la cruche cassée." In 1803, challenged over his ability to write comedy, Kleist dictated the first three scenes of the play, though it was not completed until 1806. Johann Wolfgang von Goethe first staged the play in Weimar, where it premiered on 2 March 1808.The Broken Jug mocks the failings of human nature and the judicial system in a forgiving way. It is similar to Sophocles' tragedy Oedipus Rex (c. 429 BCE), in that in both plays the judge is guilty, but different insofar as Adam knows from the start who is guilty, as does the audience, and is trying his hardest to conceal the truth. The play follows the story of "Adam" and "Eve". Adam is covered in various injuries and talking with his secretary Licht. The jug is not mentioned in these first five scenes although the audience is made aware that Adam is a highly suspicious character. The trial lasting from scene seven through to scene eleven, shows the characters on stage trying to piece together the events which led to the breaking of the jug. At the end of scene eleven Eve states that Adam broke the jug and Adam escapes in the confusion.
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original title: Der zerbrochne Krug
language: German
date of publication: 1811
genre: comedy

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