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Wedekinds Spring Awakening - Book Report/Review Example

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Summary
The scene works dramaturgically in a number of ways. First of all, the two characters Melchior and Wendla meet in a wood by surprise. This shows two things: first, that a lot happens by chance within this world and second, that the young teenagers spend a lot of time in the forest…
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Wedekinds Spring Awakening
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Wedekinds Spring Awakening

Download file to see previous pages... Melchior says that he is "having his own thoughts" while Wendla is looking for woodruff. Neither is doing anything particularly "dramatic" in turns of a classic dramaturgy. The scene rather opens out into a world in which thought is as important as action and inaction often seems to be the dominant feeling.

The fact that both characters seem "lost" in one way or another is of great dramaturgical importance. Their physical uncertainty - Wanda has no idea what time it is, Melchior seems unsure (or uncaring) about what part of the forest they are actually in - reflects their mental malaise. The two characters sit under a tree and have what is essentially a philosophical conversation. Thus Wanda says that it makes her happy to visit the poor and Melchior poses the dilemma of whether she goes because it makes her happy or because the poor need the visits. The subject, apparently intractable, is whether true altruism actually exists.

Wanda explains that she too is unhappy through the recounting of the dream that she had while lying down in the forest. The very inaction of the scene dramaturgically is suddenly contrasted with action as Wanda suddenly asks Melchior whether he wants to hit her with a switch made from a branch in the tree. Thus the tree - that had been used dramatically as a stable place under which the two teenagers can muse about their meaningless lives, suddenly becomes an instrument of violence.
At first Melchior refuses, but with continued goading from Wendla, he eventually does hit her. But the girl doesn't feel anything because she is wearing so many clothes, and she teases him for "just stroking her". This continued goading makes Melchior throw away the switch and hit her with his fists until she yells. He then runs away, presumably offstage, leaving Wanda crying on the stage. The sudden move into violence shows that perhaps this is the only reaction to make their world meaningful, at least at this point. The teasing that he was just stroking her, because she cannot feel anything through the clothes, suggests the sexual content that will come.


b) What is its function and how does it relate to the play as a whole

The play revolves around the subject of repression and the need for a "spring awakening" of sexuality. The meeting between Melchior and Wendla is essentially a foreshadowing of what is to occur. Wendla dreams of being beaten but actually goes to feed the poor. She says that Melchior should be confirmed to please his parents but then asks him to beat her with a stick.
Wendla is attracted to Melchior for a number of reasons. First, he represents the knowledge that she wants and also, it seems she is attracted to him physically. The manner of this physical attraction is important for the rest of the play. Wendla goes further than just wanting to be beaten, she longs to be beaten in an almost sexual manner.
Her need for an intense physical experience, even if it is violent, leads to her yearning for sexual experience, or perhaps just sexual knowledge. The need to have an experience of some kind relates to what occurs in the rest of the play. Sexual experimentation and experience are linked to "learning". Melchior enjoys teaching his fellow teenagers, and he especially enjoys being a figure of authority with someone who knows less than himself. He also, in a more subtle way, wants to learn things from her. Thus when he asks her about her feelings and motivations for feeding the poor he perhaps also wants to discover the manner in which girls and women think. The dynamic equilibrium of learning in which both parties learn will be a theme throughout the play.
In a basic manner, the ...Download file to see next pagesRead More
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