Essay on Fascism
Adorno (11) posits that the everyday life of the individual is influenced by history, as well as, the daily experiences. It is imperative that every person explores the understanding and reading of literature in the face of societal issues that the human beings struggle to handle. This paper focuses on the usefulness of the play “The Resistible Rise of Arturo Ui” by Bertolt Brecht in revealing the perception of fascism and its growth in the present society. By satirizing the Nazi regime, the playwright relies on the text to explain the growth of fascism and the manner in which it spreads.
Various writers have developed content regarding the establishment of fascism in the society, for instance, “The Authoritarian Personality” by Adorno, Theodor who argues that the understanding of fascist’s ideologies are linked to their disregard for social hierarchy where fascists would only want to create a form of monopoly and security for the middle class. The chapters provided focus on the given issues that influence and determine the standard considerations that make a fascist and the different elements that stand out in them.
In addition, the impact of authoritarianism in American politics is discussed in “The Rise of American Authoritarianism” by Taub Amanda, who points out that the authoritarians form the bulk of the American politicians. Some of the significant traits embodied by authoritarians are simplicity, power and the quality of being punitive. The article focuses on articulating some of the areas where the authoritarian tendencies are witnessed. Additionally, the report further articulates the dichotomy that exists between authoritarians and the other parts of the society. The views held by authoritarians usually capitalize on the fears of the minority.
Moreover, “Fascism” by Kevin Passmore highlights the definition of fascism and points out to the double-edged nature of this ideology. Fascism is considered as both reactionary and revolutionary. The primary focus is on proving the power of the majority over the minority, and it also promotes the castigation of the high class especially when they are considered soft. The book dwells on the use of different tools by the fascists to facilitate their agenda. Propaganda and popular culture are the most highlighted tools.
“The Resistible Rise of Arturo Uni” by Bertolt Brecht is a play that centers on revealing the elements of fascism and the impact that they have on the members of the society. It has been considered a satirical presentation of historical events at the time of its writing. The play relies on fictitious characters who are developed in comparison to real-life characters and by relying on elements of art, Brecht presents a mockery of the powers-that-be about the emerging ideologies like fascism. The play also seems to follow a particular process as it captures the rise of Arturo through the ranks and this is compared to the growth of fascism in the society.
The play is a parable that reflects the growth of Nazism in Germany. The representation of the characters in the play indicates a deliberate attempt to highlight the nature of most Nazi leaders. The role of Arturo is presented in the play with the intention of revealing a lot about the misuse of power reminiscent of the Nazi era. The first step in understanding an individual is by investigating their thoughts. Adorno (5) points out that the personal beliefs that an individual harbors determine the behavior of the individual and the practice influences the personality. The influence on the individual’s personality marks the beginning of an intentional affiliation to a particular thought process. The same is said of Arturo who is presented in the play as having realized the need to design his personality to give a specific image. Adorno (6) adds that any changes in the society will have an impact on the character of the individual and instigate adaptation techniques. This adaptation is quickly realized in Arturo who upon realizing that his fame is waning, decides to attempt to make himself relevant again.
The perceived rebirth is what stirs him as a significant force to reckon. The danger that he epitomizes in the society and among those close to him is considered as a form of reinvention that he uses to make a mark in the community. This is one element of fascism that is also highlighted by Taub who opines that the most significant surprise was the emergence of Trump’s supporters (Taub). This defines how fascism grows. It stems from a single individual who a sudden embodies the thought of a particular clique of people. Through this play, Bertolt Brecht manages to outline the growth stages of fascism where the fascist leaders begin to get some little support that grows over time. Arturo’s support begins from his lieutenants and later on Dogs Borough supports him in his quest to lead the others (Brecht 22).
The characterization of the play reveals an unyielding society that instead keeps quiet or merely complains about their problems without giving it much focus. The fact that Flake describes the likes of Arturo as “leprous’ indicates his understanding of the character of Arturo (Brecht 15). However, Flake does not attempt to stop him. This is in itself a complacency of the society. Arturo laments the lack of action, and he starts looking for something to do to get his adrenaline pumping, marking the beginning of a series of blackmail and manipulation in the society (Brecht 21). This is how the play reveals the growth of fascism. Through the manipulation of a few individuals, the ideology expands and spreads to the whole community. The next course of action in the growth of fascism is the blatant disregard of the established institutions. Like Arturo, Hitler is also seen as having ignored the Reichstag by issuing laws without the approval of the organization that is charged with the same (Passmore 8). Arturo even begins by prescribing his statutes of engagement with the other people in the society around him.
Nazism or fascism grows through segregation of the society into different wings. The ideologies of fascism advocate for the authoritarian rule of the minority and the forced leadership by the majority. Any fascist leader seeks to ingratiate himself or herself with the institutions of power in the society. This is one way of establishing a social force (Adorno 100). Arturo is focused on capturing the support of the vegetable traders and the butchers (Brecht 15). In fact, at one point, he sends veiled threats citing that they would need protection at one point. This is an indication of the sense of entitlement that most fascists feel. The belief that they are unique and that they are the embodiment of the ideal, influences the behavior of the fascists and this is cited by Passmore (21) who points out the reactionary nature of fascists. The failure to adhere to their beliefs is a recipe for violence. Flake describes Arturo as leprous and violent (Brecht 16). Passmore defines fascism as a belief that is based on the dominance of the society around an individual (23). The presentation of Arturo is highlighted by his desire to offer protection to the community around him. He uses threats and other unorthodox means to make the businessmen take up his offer.
Fascism is described as a radical form of control that is dependent on dictatorship, suppression, and control of the various industries. The character of Arturo envisages these when he seeks to be the unofficial leader. The absence of criminal activity disturbs him to the extent that he has to find something to do just to get relevant again (Brecht 21). Arturo presents himself as the disciplinarian of the workers and through this, he asserts control and dominance through threats of violence (Brecht 31). Taub points out that fascists are simple, robust and punitive (Taub). The behavior of Arturo embodies this sense of entitlement to the extent that he has to be in charge of protecting the businessmen (Brecht 29). The playwright uses this play to point at some of the traits of fascists in this period.
The presentation of the play reveals a man who is hell-bent on being dominant to the extent of having to train himself to speak well as the high class. Adorno (605) discusses the fact that fascists are likely to adapt to suit their needs. Additionally, Adorno (613) introduces the concept of an imaginary foe where fascists create the perception of an imaginary enemy. Arturo reveals this as he threatens the businessmen of the impending insecurity by creating fear, he earns the position of being the provider of security (Brecht 31).
In conclusion, the play is important as it reveals the simple ways through which fascism grows. By capitalizing on the fear and silence of the masses, the fascist promotes violence and suppression in the society. Arturo plans to conquer the world after controlling his city. The simple acts of control and manipulation of the minority are the foundations of fascism, which dwells on creating fear and repression of the minority in total disregard to established laws. This play satirizes the emergence of Fascism in Germany, and it highlights the perceptions of the members of the society regarding the new development.
Adorno, Theodor. The Authoritarian Personality. New York [etc.: Harper, 1950. Print.
Brecht, Bertolt, and Jennifer Wise. The Resistible Rise of Arturo Ui. London: Bloomsbury Pub, 2013. Internet resource.
Passmore, Kevin. Fascism: A Very Short Introduction. , 2014. Print.
Taub, Amanda. “The Rise of American Authoritarianism.” Vox, 1 Mar. 2016, www.vox.com/2016/3/1/11127424/trump-authoritarianism.