Societal Corruption in The Broken Jug by Heinrich Von Kleist

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The Broken Jug is a comedy, written by Heinrich Von Kleist in the Eighteenth century, which is centered on the theme of injustices in society. The play reveals the scandalous affairs of a corrupt legal system, in which the judge, a traditional symbolic figure of peace and nobility and social equality, is instead exposed as an incarnate form of a morally corrupt and perverse society. Each of the plays major characters are therefore created as figures that serve as implicit representations of Kleist's moral and political views.

In The Broken Jug, Kleist constructs a literary structure in which symbolism plays a crucial role in defining the essential nature of the play. As a result of this structure, we often see discrepancies between
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In the Broken Jug, Judge Adam frightens an illiterate young woman, Eve, by making her believe that her fiancé, Ruprecht, is about to be conscripted and sent to the East Indies from which he is unlikely to return. The judge offers to write a letter saying that Ruprecht is unfit for service. When he visits Eve in her room late one night, he tries, unsuccessfully to use the letter to make her accede to his sexual advances.

Surprised by the arrival of Eve's fiancé, Judge Adam escapes through the window, breaking Eve's mother's jug, Ruprecht is accused of breaking the jug by Eve's mother, Frau Marthe. Frau Marthe then insists on taking the case to the local law court, over which ironically, Judge Adam presides, in order to seek justice for her broken jug and her daughter soiled honor.

Meanwhile, Eve refuses to incriminate Ruprecht, but at the same time, refuses to name the person who broke the jug for fear of persecution from Judge Adam. She declares that, "it is Heaven's wonderful decree that closes my mouth in this case."

Ruprecht reacts angrily to Eve's refusal to reveal the criminal and urges her to tell the truth. This constitutes a sign of the dilemma Eve faces. She is torn between her desire to tell the truth and free her love from the accusations of guilt and her fear of being responsible for his enlistment and unavoidable death. She replies, "Oh, shame on you that you can't trust me

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