Essay 2 - My P Le EN115(English Composition Essay#2 Write...

Info icon This preview shows pages 1–3. Sign up to view the full content.

View Full Document Right Arrow Icon
My P. Le EN115 (English Composition) Essay #2 Write an essay on Michael Fray’s Copenhagen that answers one of the following questions: 1- What is the role of Margrethe in the play? 1 In the fall of 1941, the head of the German atomic bomb project Werner Heisenberg travels to Copenhagen to visit his old friend and mentor, also a Jew, Niels Bohr. That night forever changed their long time relationship and has perplexed historians ever since. The meeting took place while Denmark was occupied by the Nazis. Bohr’s house was wiretapped, so when Heisenberg arrived, the two men took a walk so that no one could record their conversation. In his play Copenhagen , Michael Frayn tackles the question that has confused many quantum physicists and historians from World War II: What actually took place in the secret meeting between Niels Bohr, who is considered the father of quantum physics, and Werner Heisenberg, who was working on, but failed to create, the atomic bomb for Nazi Germany? 2 There are three characters in Michael Frayn’s play Copenhagen , and the main focus of the play is on only two of them, Niels Bohr and Werner Heisenberg. Although the third character, Margrethe – Niels Bohr’s wife – was not present during the conversation between Bohr and Heisenberg, her role is crucial as the conversation in the play refers to Heisenberg’s external acts at a personal level. In his paper Copenhagen: The Drama of History , Reed Way Dasenbrock suggests that Margrethe’s role is the inner audience of the play: “to listen, question, react, and assess what the others say and do” (Dasenbrock, 226). Taking up his insight, I will argue that
Image of page 1

Info iconThis preview has intentionally blurred sections. Sign up to view the full version.

View Full Document Right Arrow Icon
Margrethe has a very special role – a multi-dimensional role that changes to meet different purposes at different stages of the play. Sometimes she represents the general audience, who is neutral and needs explanations in order to get involved in the conversation. At other times, she is just Bohr’s wife and protector. Also, Margrethe acts as a mediator and a truth monitor of the discussions between Bohr and Heisenberg. Margrethe’s role smoothes out the flow of the play, making Copenhagen much more convincing to the audience than a dry dialogue between two genius physicists. She serves as a guide for the audience to reflect upon his/her personal responses to the deeply moral dilemas posed by Frayn. Ultimately, I will prove that Margrethe’s role is of no less importance than the other two’s – she indeed holds the “key” to solve confusions in the play. 3 Margrethe plays the role of the audience; therefore, her concern is tantamount to that of the audience. Dasenbrock claims, “Her concerns, like ours, are not primarily with the physics or the mathematics. She is concerned about right and wrong, about the ethical implications of the actions” (Dasenbrock, 226). It is Margrethe who opens the play with the question: “But why?” The whole play revolves around the question “Why did Heisenberg come to Copenhagen that night in 1941?” Why did he take the risk? What were his purposes? What did the meeting
Image of page 2
Image of page 3
This is the end of the preview. Sign up to access the rest of the document.

{[ snackBarMessage ]}

What students are saying

  • Left Quote Icon

    As a current student on this bumpy collegiate pathway, I stumbled upon Course Hero, where I can find study resources for nearly all my courses, get online help from tutors 24/7, and even share my old projects, papers, and lecture notes with other students.

    Student Picture

    Kiran Temple University Fox School of Business ‘17, Course Hero Intern

  • Left Quote Icon

    I cannot even describe how much Course Hero helped me this summer. It’s truly become something I can always rely on and help me. In the end, I was not only able to survive summer classes, but I was able to thrive thanks to Course Hero.

    Student Picture

    Dana University of Pennsylvania ‘17, Course Hero Intern

  • Left Quote Icon

    The ability to access any university’s resources through Course Hero proved invaluable in my case. I was behind on Tulane coursework and actually used UCLA’s materials to help me move forward and get everything together on time.

    Student Picture

    Jill Tulane University ‘16, Course Hero Intern