Provides examples of:
- Author Tract: like pretty much everything Brecht wrote
- The Bad Guy Wins
- Big Bad: Arturo Ui.
- Bilingual Bonus: Character names are often variations of the name of the historical figure they are based on (i.e. Ernst Rohm is now Ernesto Roma), but with Hindenburg, he is called Dogsborough (It's a pun- Hinden sounds like hunden, which means dogs/burg as in burgh/borough)
- Churchgoing Villain: Arturo Ui is a Christian, though he considers the Ten Commandments to be "too demanding and impractical."
- Does This Remind You of Anything?: The ending actually has placards indicating what various things should remind you of.
- Evil Cripple:
- Giavola, Ui's Evil Genius is (like every character) inspired by people related to Hitler's rise, and in Giavola's case, he's supposed be Joseph Goebbels. Like Goebbels, Giavola, has a crippled leg and walks with a limp. The play refers to his (paraphrased) "crooked body and crooked mind".
- Ui himself is shown as hunchbacked in some productions, probably a combination of having him walk like Hitler (of whom he's a stand in) and to further the play's explicit invocation of Richard III.
- Evil Is One Big Happy Family: Or so Ernesto Roma believes; after Ui has him assassinated, his ghost comes to Ui in a dream and tells him that, while he's fine with murder and treason, Ui went too far by killing a fellow murderer.Roma: Plot against the world/But not against your fellow plotters, please!
- Foregone Conclusion: It's in the title
- Greater Scope Villain: Arturo Ui's rise takes place at the same time as that of Adolf Hitler, and most of his crimes are smaller-scale versions of things Hitler actually did, but Hitler never actually appears.
- Hitler Cam: Pretty much required for Ui's ending speech. One production (the one Amelia Des Anges was in) managed to pull this off with fifteen Uis at once.)
- A Nazi by Any Other Name: It's not uncommon for productions to give Arturo a toothbrush mustache to drive the point home.
- New Era Speech: Ui ends the play with one.
- Not-So-Harmless Villain: When they're first introduced, it's hard to take Arturo Ui and Giri seriously, both in-universe and out. Since they're stand-ins for Adolf Hitler and Hermann Goering, they end up being a much bigger threat than anyone realizes.
- Surreal Humor: A staple of Brecht's work, and often used.
- Sophisticated as Hell: Everyone talks like Damon Runyon characters trapped in a William Shakespeare play (or maybe Shakespearean actors in a Runyon story?)
- Straight Edge Evil: Arturo Ui.Ui: Liquor, tobacco, sex, they make me panic.
- "The Reason You Suck" Speech:
Roma: And all that will not help you. Not at all./All murder, fraud, and foaming at the mouth/And be you spitting lickspittle or threat/It's all in vain, in vain. The roots are rotten./Your crimes will never blossom forth, Arturo./Treason is bad manure. Go lie and slaughter./Cheat all the Clarks and murder all the Dullfeets!/But don't you touch your own men. Plot against the world/But not against your fellow plotters, please!/Tell barefaced lies to everybody's face,/But not the face you're facing in the mirror./You struck yourself down when you struck me down./I was devoted to you in the days/When you were just a shadow falling down/The flophouse floor whose warmth we shared together./And now I shiver in the draft of all/Eternity, while you go dining with/Your mighty friends. Treason has made you big./Treason will make you fall. The way you did/Betray me, your friend and aide, you will/Betray them all, and in the end, Arturo/they'll all betray you one by one./Green grass grows over Ernie Roma now,/Not over you and your disloyalty!/It's swing in the breeze above the graves/Like someone hung up from his toes. It is/Observed by all, this faithlessness of yours,/Especially by those who dig your grave./The day will come when everyone you smashed/Will rise. Arise, arise will all the men/Already crushed and to be crushed tomorrow./And they'll be marching down the street to you,/A bloody world and full of hate. You'll stand/And look around for help. That's how I stood./Then will you beg and bully, curse and lie./No one will hear you. No one heard me cry.
- Ernesto Roma's ghost gives a "villain to a villain" variation to Ui in a dream.
Betty: Can anybody/Feel the way you speak? Yes, I believe you can./You murder from the bottom of your heart,/Your crimes are deeply felt as other people's/Charity. You trust in treason as we trust/In God. Steadfast you are in fickleness,/And incorruptible by any noble passions./Sincere in lying, honest in deceiving,/Inspired by any beastly act, and most/Enthusiastic at the sight of blood./Was there brutality? Your heart leaps at the news./Is that a dirty deal? You are reduced to tears./And every deed of kindness makes you moved/With hatred and revenge.//
- Betty Dullfeet gives Ui three-all in one scene.
Betty: Yes, life goes on and indeed I will use it/To tell the world what pestilence you are./You made this happy town your Hell. Oh god,/I swear by Dullfeet's corpse that I will hate/My voice whene'er it says "Good morning!" or/"What's there for lunch?" instead of crying out/The one and only thing that must be cried: Exterminate Ui!
- Later in the same scene:
Betty: You say that to my face? I am the widow/Of the man you murdered. You monstrosity!/I knew you'd come because you always come,/Returning to the scene of crime, accusing others/Of your crime. "I didn't do it"/Or: "it was someone else" "I know from nothing"/"Help! I've been raped!" cries Rape. And "Call the cops!/There's been a murder!" Mr. Murder cries. [...] Oh, God protect us from protectors!
- And again when Ui still tries to get her to accept his protection.
If we could learn to look instead of gawking,/We'd see the horror in the heart of farce,/If only we could act instead of talking,/We wouldn't always end up on our arse./This was the thing that nearly had us mastered;/Don't yet rejoice in his defeat, you men!/Although the world stood up and stopped the bastard,/The bitch that bore him is in heat again.
- The epilogue is the actor playing Arturo Ui giving one to the audience.
- Trippy Finale Syndrome: Commonly used.
- Villain of Another Story:
- Each scene ends with a news headline showing the event in Hitler's rise which the scene is supposed to mirror. However, the Fuehrer himself never actually appears.
- Al Capone is also mentioned in passing.