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Forms of address

There is a tricky bit of translation at the beginning of Woyzeck:

HAUPTMANN: Langsam, Woyzeck, langsam; eins nach dem andern! Er macht mir ganz schwindlig. Was soll ich dann mit den 10 Minuten anfangen, die Er heut zu früh fertig wird? Woyzeck, bedenk Er, Er hat noch seine schönen dreißig Jahr zu leben, dreißig Jahr! Macht dreihundertsechzig Monate! und Tage! Stunden! Minuten! Was will Er denn mit der ungeheuren Zeit all anfangen? Teil Er sich ein, Woyzeck!

WOYZECK: Jawohl, Herr Hauptmann.

H: Es wird mir ganz angst um die Welt, wenn ich an die Ewigkeit denke. Beschäftigung, Woyzeck, Beschäftigung! Ewig: das ist ewig, das ist ewig - das siehst du ein; nur ist es aber wieder nicht ewig, und das ist ein Augenblick, ja ein Augenblick - Woyzeck, es schaudert mich, wenn ich denke, daß sich die Welt in einem Tag herumdreht. Was 'n Zeitverschwendung! Wo soll das hinaus? Woyzeck, ich kann kein Mühlrad mehr sehen, oder ich werd melancholisch.

W: Jawohl, Herr Hauptmann.

H: Woyzeck, Er sieht immer so verhetzt aus! Ein guter Mensch tut das nicht, ein guter Mensch, der sein gutes Gewissen hat. - Red er doch was Woyzeck! Was ist heut für Wetter?

W: Schlimm, Herr Hauptmann, schlimm: Wind!

H: Ich spür's schon. 's ist so was Geschwindes draußen: so ein Wind macht mir den Effekt wie eine Maus. - [Pfiffig:] Ich glaub', wir haben so was aus Süd-Nord?

W: Jawohl, Herr Hauptmann.

H: Ha, ha ha! Süd-Nord! Ha, ha, ha! Oh, Er ist dumm, ganz abscheulich dumm! - [Gerührt:] Woyzeck, Er ist ein guter Mensch --aber-- [Mit Würde:] Woyzeck, Er hat keine Moral! Moral, das ist, wenn man moralisch ist, versteht Er. Es ist ein gutes Wort. Er hat ein Kind ohne den Segen der Kirche, wie unser hocherwürdiger Herr Garnisionsprediger sagt - ohne den Segen der Kirche, es ist ist nicht von mir.

W: Herr Hauptmann, der liebe Gott wird den armen Wurm nicht drum ansehen, ob das Amen drüber gesagt ist, eh er gemacht wurde. Der Herr sprach: Lasset die Kleinen zu mir kommen.

H: Was sagt Er da? Was ist das für eine kuriose Antwort? Er macht mich ganz konfus mit seiner Antwort. Wenn ich sag': Er, so mein' ich Ihn, Ihn -

CAPTAIN: Slowly, Woyzeck, slowly; one thing at a time! You make me dizzy. What am I going to do with the 10 minutes that you'll save by the time you're done? Woyzeck, think of it, you've been alive a good thirty years already, thirty years! That's three hundred sixty Months! and Days! Hours! Minutes! What are you going to do with all that monstrous time? Pace yourself, Woyzeck!

WOYZECK: Yes sir, Captain sir.

C: I get scared for the world when I think about eternity. Pay attention, Woyzeck! Forever: that's forever, that's forever -- you understand; but it's also not forever at all, it's just the blink of an eye -- Woyzeck, it frightens me, when I think of how the world goes around in a day. What a waste of time! What's going to come of that? Woyzeck, I can't even look at a mill-wheel any longer, without becoming melancholy.

W: Yes indeed, Captain.

C: Woyzeck, you always have such a hunted look! A good man wouldn't look that way, a good man with a clean conscience. -- But speak up, Woyzeck! How is the weather today?

W: Bad, sir, bad: wind!

C: I can feel it already. There's something blowing out there, such a wind sounds like a mouse to me. -- [whistles] I believe it's a South-North wind we have?

W: Yes sir, Captain sir.

C: Ha, ha, ha! South-North! Ha, ha, ha! Oh, you're a dummy, such a shameful dummy! - [turns] Woyzeck, you're a good man -- but -- [grandiose] Woyzeck, you have no morality! Morality, I mean like when somebody is moral, you understand. It's a good word. You have a child without the blessing of the Church, as our estimable chaplain says -- without the blessing of the Church, it's not just me saying that.

W: Captain sir, blessed God won't hold it against the little thing, whether somebody said Amen over it before it was made... The good lord said: Let the little children come unto me.

C: What are you saying there? What kind of a weird answer is that? You're confusing me with your answers. When I say "You", I'm talking about you, you...

(From the script of Büchner's play, but the screenplay for Herzog's film seems to adhere pretty closely, at least in this portion of the film.) Two things: I did not know that capitalized Er could be used for formal address in the way that Sie is -- I reckon that must be an archaic or regional usage or Frau Rose would have told us in German class. (grin) It makes sense... The Captain's final line sounds much better in German than in (my) English, I think. And also, I can't communicate (or really, quite understand) the captain's slip into informal "du" in the middle of his second speech.

The captain's soliloquies here are very clearly staged -- Dan Schneider presents that as a shortcoming of the movie; but it seems pretty charming to me.

posted evening of March 25th, 2010: Respond
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