Wade Bradford Updated December 13, Why do we do the things we do? The other scientist, Niels Bohr , is devastated that his native Denmark has been occupied by the Third Reich. The two spoke very briefly before Bohr angrily ended the conversation and Heisenberg left. Mystery and controversy have surrounded this historic exchange. Bohr, however, remembers differently.
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Wade Bradford Updated December 13, Why do we do the things we do? The other scientist, Niels Bohr , is devastated that his native Denmark has been occupied by the Third Reich. The two spoke very briefly before Bohr angrily ended the conversation and Heisenberg left. Mystery and controversy have surrounded this historic exchange. Bohr, however, remembers differently. He claims that Heisenberg seemed to have no moral qualms about creating atomic weapons for the Axis powers.
Vague Spirit World "Copenhagen" is set in an undisclosed location with no mention of sets, props, costume, or scenic design. In fact, the play does not offer a single stage direction, leaving the action completely up to the actors and the director. With their lives now over, their spirits turn to the past to try to make sense of the meeting. During their discussion, the talkative spirits touch upon other moments in their lives, such as skiing trips and boating accidents, laboratory experiments, and long walks with friends.
The Role of Margrethe At first glance, Margrethe might seem the most trivial character of the three. After all, Bohr and Heisenberg are scientists. Each one had a profound impact on the way mankind understands quantum physics, the anatomy of the atom, and the capability of nuclear energy. These conversations might be compelling for a few mathematical geniuses, but would be otherwise boring for the rest of us!
Margrethe keeps the characters grounded. Yet, the play works best when ethic dilemmas are explored. Was Heisenberg immoral for trying to supply the Nazis with atomic energy?
Were Bohr and the other allied scientists behaving unethically by creating the atomic bomb? Was Heisenberg visiting Bohr to seek moral guidance?
Or was he simply flaunting his superior status? Yet, that makes "Copenhagen" all the more enjoyable. It might not be the most exciting play, but it certainly stimulates debate. Sources Frayn, Michael.
Copenhagen review – Michael Frayn's masterwork still blazes with mystery
Heisenberg — "No one understands my trip to Copenhagen. To Bohr himself, and Margrethe. To interrogators and intelligence officers, to journalists and historians. Well, I shall be happy to make one more attempt. They discuss the idea of nuclear power and its control, the rationale behind building or not building an atomic bomb , the uncertainty of the past and the inevitability of the future as embodiments of themselves acting as particles drifting through the atom that is Copenhagen. Characters[ edit ] In most dramas in which the characters are based on real people, there is a point at which the character deviates from the real person. Michael Frayn works to keep that distinction as small as possible.
Each of the three main characters -- Werner Heisenberg , Niels Bohr , and Margrethe Bohr his wife -- are dead throughout the entirety of the text. Bohr was the leading atomic physicist before the war who commonly hosted other scientists for periods of research at his home facilities. His wife was heavily involved with his work as well. They both are left with the lingering question of why Heisenberg came and the consequences.
'Copenhagen' by Michael Frayn Is Both Fact and Fiction