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In the play Galileo we can see what is moral and ethical dilemmas arise from trying to come to the truth around science. Bertolt Brech’s Galileo is the conflict between a well-known mathematician Galileo Galilei and the Roman Catholic Church over Galileo’s observations and writings which offered the first proof for Copernicus’ theory that the earth orbits around the sun. In the 17th century, this was contrary to the church’s interpretation of the bible which resulted in its teaching that the earth was the stationary center of the universe around which the sun and stars revolved. Galileo, using a telescope and scientific method to explore what is beyond in the heavens causes great concern and disbelief among the people because they felt it was going against the church’s teaching.

In 1633, the church used its temporal, political power to force Galileo to stand trial before the Inquisition. Under the threat of torture, Galileo renounced his findings. Despite his recantation, Galileo was placed under house arrest for the rest of his life. During these years, Galileo was kept under close clerical supervision and denied the right to write, travel, or have contact with the outside world. Despite the right to write, Galileo

passes on his book to Andrea. The play ends with Andrea teaching a child what he seeing through the window is not really what he may believe it is but just a shadow. This symbolizes that research is still going on even against the church’s will.

Galileo was fascinated with making sense of the world around him, and describing it accurately. He had the unique ability to “think outside the box” and consider

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