Sexuality And Cruelty In Frank Wedekind's Spring Awakening

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Write an essay on the gendered connection between sexuality and cruelty in Spring Awakening. Frank Wedekind’s infamous play Spring Awakening (1891) revolves around the emotionally stunted lives of several young adults, growing up in a sexually repressed German society in the late 1890s. As they attempt to navigate their burgeoning sexual ‘awakening’, they are subdued by their parents and teachers, who control and inhibit any supposed immoral and sinful thoughts or actions. Gender is defined as those ‘‘socially constructed roles, behaviours, activities, and attributes that are deemed appropriate’’ (W.H.O), and in the ‘Jugendstil’ youth movement of the fin-de-siele, progressive liberals sought to educate men and women on sexuality and re-examination…show more content…
He is a cultured and thoughtful young man who understands that adults lie to children using a puritanical ideology, to keep them from maturing emotionally and sexually. He exhibits this knowledge when explaining sexual impulse to Moritz ‘‘I believe in a definite instinct in these things...suddenly they feel their first masculine itch…and their natural curiosity would do the rest’’ (p8-9). He submits to this curiosity and wants to help Moritz understand it. Once Moritz has read the pamphlet, it becomes obvious that Melchoir has a dominant and aggressive attitude towards sexuality. This is evident in his pamphlet, in his dream of beating Rufus (p9) and his actual beating and rape of Wendla. There are sadistic elements to Melchior’s personality ‘‘I don’t want anything I didn’t have to fight for’’ (p29), but perhaps sexual education and age would calm his concerns regarding his attitude towards arousal and dominance. His animal instinct and primitive reflexes push him to beat Wendla until she cries out and he runs away, mortified (p24). Furthermore, the mix of simmering anger and self-resentment, together with arousal when Wendla climbs into the hayloft, culminates in an explosion of feelings and leads to ‘non-consensual’ intercourse. To use…show more content…
She is ignorant to sex and sexuality, not once uttering either word, yet she understands something illicit and thrilling in her feelings ‘‘It makes me so hot when she tells us about it… I’d happily take her place’’ (p23). Unfortunately, these misunderstood violent and cruel fantasies manifest in an encounter with Melchior. She now assumes a link between violence and excitement, thus enjoying masochistic thrills, for which she has no name. Melchior has been unintentionally cruel to her, yet she still enjoys the feelings it generated ‘‘Mother sees me smiling. Why can’t you close your lips anymore?...I really don’t know, I don’t know the words’’ (p37). Melchior and Wendla shared a symbiotic relationship where each gained from the other’s preference in sexual thrill, however neither realised this, nor understood the implications. As he is more mature than Wendla, Melchior later recognises his action as ‘rape’, but for Wendla, she is still oblivious to the action, and a resulting pregnancy. Despite Melchior’s actions towards Wendla, she endures the worst cruelty from her mother, whose sole purpose was to educate and nurture. Wendla suffers intentional malice when her mother organises an abortion without her knowledge or consent, ultimately losing her freedom, and

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