Summary of the Scene 7 in the Drama Life of Galileo
Galileo’s accomplishments of Copernicus’s teachings are now threatened by the church. As the cardinals and the inquisitor think that it will leave the people without proper faith. The scene opens up at Cardinal Bellarmin house’s where he wanted to put one small request in front of Galileo. The Inquisitor plans Galileo to fail. Now the question rises that how will the cardinals make Galileo understand, that the interpretations of Bible should be done by the Holy Church as they have the all the forces. Virginia’s lack of knowledge also puts Galileo’s status on risk.
The environment in the beginning of scene 7 seems rather pleasant as it was the first ever carnival to take place in city after the plague. The conversation between Galileo, Virginia and Ludovico creates an impression that Galileo wants her to look beautiful or the present people will again start talking whether the earth turns or no, which Galileo has been bearing since the start of the play. Galileo looks as if he is anxious about the appearance of Virginia. Because he narrates a poem about how people are easily attracted to her.
As the scene progresses Galileo like his own self begins to give demonstration of the new style of playing chess to the two secretaries who were playing. Now the audience already knows how much Galileo loves to prove others wrong and he just wants everyone to believe and in what he says, be it a chess encounter but the secretaries insisted playing in the old style as it suited them more.
This party was organized after the plague and had some of the famous Italian families. Soon after this enters Cardinal and Cardinal Barberini starts to quote Bible after which Galileo again turns into being a professor and starts to give explanations to the Cardinals but the Cardinals were not Andrea they were far much clever and they did not buy anything Galileo explained but Barberini further makes a comment by saying ‘it sticks to you like an itch’ which seems rather a taunt towards Galileo and the studies of Astronomy that if once you put your head in it, it’ll then stick to you. They further talk about how the church disapproves such group of beliefs which oppose the sacred writings. Galileo narrates a sentimental scripture from the holy bible. With the exchange of the Solomon Proverbs they provoke each other amicably.
There’s certain tenseness among the cardinals and Galileo as now the conversations is bent towards the old city legends. Barberini and Bellarmin are very much dependent to reason with Galileo as they bring up more and more different ways to make Galileo understand but Galileo is set on men’s reason and doesn’t want to compensate with these man by any chance. Bellarmin and Barberini are giving hypothesis statements by telling the conditions of the peasants in Campagna which the audience already know because earlier in the play in scene 6 the little monk came to Galileo to tell him about how things are over there. Brecht has somehow, arisen the audience to pay attention to all the little details by just drawing a very thin similarity between the two scenes although they are completely opposite.
The Cardinals call Galileo a terrible man and they put him in situation where he is made to think that he is questioning God’s doings. They ask him to abandon his views because if not he will then be held on inquisition. Galileo at this point becomes quite hopeless although the Collegium Romanum approved his observations but the church doesn’t support his ideas and the church would never let him win as the office holders of the church. They were certain that Galileo and the Copernicus theory will take people away from the faith, but everyone believed in the Aristotelian concept at that time.
In the end, it seems that they have finally put the words in Galileo’s mouth as now he is completely silenced. The church needs Galileo merely not for inventions but because they know what he is capable of and he has knowledge and Galileo also needs them because if he goes against them for even a moment, they will held him in the inquisition courts. This may have left an effect on the minds of the audience that how the cardinals can stoop so low just to get the man on their side.
Brecht uses Galileo example to raise a point that even if the things which seem odd and hard to accept can get acknowledged because they align with reason which is mainly how Galileo’s proofs about the Copernicus’s theory got accepted by Clavius.
The two secretaries who were taking notes since the start of the scene provide the transcript to The Inquisitor. Virginia’s role has always seem uncertain because at one point she is seemed interested in helping her father and on the other side she has no understandings of what astronomy is. Since the beginning Virginia looked as if she was trying to save her father from all the conversations about whether the earth turn or no but here she seems threatened by the Inquisitor. As if she wants to dodge his questions at some stage the audience is pleased to know that whether she will tell everything about Galileo to the Inquisitor or no. The Inquisitor got pleased to know that Virginia is more into religion than into astronomy. He makes a rather sarcasm towards her which might have had provide discomfort to her but as for the audience, they already knew about Virginia’s interests.
The way how the Inquisitor views Galileo was comparatively better than the cardinals as he called Galileo a great man. He makes some more tautological statements towards Virginia. He says how there are only a few gentlemen in the Holy Office who have started objecting different things Virginia is quite unsure of what he means but the audience already knows about what happens with the gentlemen who objects church works.
The inquisitors makes a remark on keeping Virginia which seems quite unusual because till this stage he was talking about the religious affairs and now he’s talking about the showing her the stars and everything, this also reflects how innocent Virginia is as she slightly has no idea over what’s going on. From this conversation the audience can put up idea about why Galileo was so much dependent on Virginia to look beautiful.
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