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Mack The Knife Analysis



Author: Poetry of Bertolt Brecht Type: Poetry Views: 977

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Oh, the shark has pretty teeth, dear

And he shows them pearly white.

Just a jack knife has Macheath, dear

And he keeps it out of sight.When the shark bites with his teeth, dear

Scarlet billows start to spread.

Fancy gloves, though, wears Macheath, dear

So there's not a trace of red.On the side-walk Sunday morning

Lies a body oozing life;

Someone's sneaking 'round the corner.

Is that someone Mack the Knife?From a tugboat by the river

A cement bag's dropping down;

The cement's just for the weight, dear.

Bet you Mackie's back in town.Louie Miller disappeared, dear

After drawing out his cash;

And Macheath spends like a sailor.

Did our boy do something rash?Sukey Tawdry, Jenny Diver,

Polly Peachum, Lucy Brown

Oh, the line forms on the right, dear

Now that Mackie's back in town.






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||| Analysis | Critique | Overview Below |||

.: :.

The Bobby Darin version is the English lyric translation worked up by Marc Blitzstein. The original, naturally, was in German by Brecht for his Threepenny Opera. Supposedly this song was added to the initial libretto to set the right "reputation" for the character -- extremely dangerous. Other translations exist that also comport with the music, and the internet has the original German and a literal translation. One can waste a good deal of time conjuring up lyric translations with just a knowledge of the literal meanings and of the melody.
For example:
Solly Meyer has gone missing,
As many rich men now seem to do.
Somehow Macheath now has his cashbox.
I don't ask questions. Nor should you.

| Posted on 2010-07-07 | by a guest


.: :.

The Bobby Darin version is the English lyric translation worked up by Marc Blitzstein. The original, naturally, was in German by Brecht for his Threepenny Opera. Supposedly this song was added to the initial libretto to set the right "reputation" for the character -- extremely dangerous. Other translations exist that also comport with the music, and the internet has the original German and a literal translation. One can waste a good deal of time conjuring up lyric translations with just a knowledge of the literal meanings and of the melody.

| Posted on 2010-07-07 | by a guest


.: :.

The version sung and immortalized by Bobby Darin seems to contain sinister Mob undertones. The "tugboat"(beefy Mafia goon) has a cement bag "for the weight" - to attach to someone to drown them in the river!
Louie Miller disappeared after drawing out his money. Did our boy - Mackie - do something rash?

| Posted on 2008-07-28 | by a guest




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