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Spring's Awakening by Frank Wedekind
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Spring's Awakening

by Frank Wedekind

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It would seem that even in the 19th century teenagers were full on angst. At its hart the play is a criticism of 19th century German society's sexual repressiveness. The main plot of the story is how through not teaching their children about sex and reproduction the parents and society at large doomed Wendla,Melchior, Moritz to a tragic end. Wendla, who gets pregnant after having sex with Melchior(and seems to be abliviouse to the fact that it was happening) but refuses to accept the fact due to her mother telling her that only people in love can have children dies of an abortion. Moritz, who is disturbed by his sexual urges get Melchior, who knows all about sex to right an essay about it but later is still distracted by his urges which causes his study's to suffer leading to his expulsion and him committing suicide. Melchior is blamed for Moritz death and also expelled with his parents sending him to a reform school where he agonizes over Moritz and Wendla. Eventually he escapes and stumbles into a graveyard where he finds Wendla's grave and encounters the ghost of Moritz who tries to trick Melchior into death saying that he's learned so much being dead. Melchior almost accepts but is stopped by a masked man who convinces Melchior that he still might have something to live for. the main problem I had was that Melchior was so unlikeable he was the epitome of whiny teenage angst. and I really couldn't feel sorry for him. I can see why the play has been banned when it came out as it does deal with subjects that polite society at the time did not talk about. I tried to like the play but it was thoroughly depressing and the angst got really annoying. I can appreciate it for it place in theater history and it's criticism of German society in the late 19th century but that's about it as its not a fun read. ( )
  bakabaka84 | Jul 7, 2012 |
German play said to be one of the most censored plays. The story centers around 3 14-year old children, Moritz who is shocked by his “stirrings of manhood”, stressed by school and then shoots himself after reading a 20 page essay on copulation written by a friend, Melchior. The “hero” of the drama is Melchior who is beginning to question all, love, God, sex, manhood. In a humorous scene Melchior’s professors are about to expelled him from school when Melchior asks, “please show me one office against morals in the document.” Melchior is sent to a reform school and meets up with a headless Moritz in a cemetery at the end of the book. The third main character is 14, Wendla who asks her mother where do babies come from. Her mother tells her you must be in love and married to have a baby. Melchior rapes Wendla in a barn one stormy night, she gets pregnant but believes she is swelling from dropsy. She could not be pregnant cause she isn’t in love nor married. The abortion pills her mother gives her end up killing her. masturbation seems to be a running theme throughout the story. Very difficult to understand this play.

2-2006 ( )
  sgerbic | May 8, 2008 |
A great play, that has offensive language and adult themes. All about Germany in the mid 1800's, all about friendship and going against the grain of religion. ( )
  Stormation | Sep 11, 2007 |
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Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Wedekind, Frankprimary authorall editionsconfirmed
Bond, EdwardTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Bond, ElisabethIntroductionsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Buitinck, GerryAfterwordsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
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Amazon.com Product Description (ISBN 086547978X, Paperback)

First performed in Germany in 1906, Frank Wedekind's controversial play Spring Awakening closed after one night in New York in 1917 amid charges of obscenity and public outrage. For the better part of the twentieth century Wedekind's intense body of work was largely unpublished and rarely performed. Yet the play's subject matter--teenage desire, suicide, abortion, and homosexuality--is as explosive and important today as it was acentury ago. Spring Awakening follows the lives of three teenagers, Melchior, Moritz, and Wendl, as they navigate their entry into sexual awareness. Unlike so many works that claim to tell the truth of adolescence, Spring Awakening offers no easy answersor redemption.

Today, one hundred years after the play's first performance, a new musical version of this essential modern masterpiece is being hailed as the "best new musical . . . in a generation" (John Heilpern, The New York Observer). Franzen's version of the text--for so long poorly served in English--is unique in capturing the bizarre and inimitable comic spirit that animates almost every line of this unrelentingly tragic play. There couldn't be a better time for this thrilling, definitive new translation.

(retrieved from Amazon Mon, 30 Sep 2013 13:28:07 -0400)

(see all 4 descriptions)

A tragi-comedy of teenage sex. Its fourteen-year-old heroine, Wendla, is killed by abortion pills. The young Moritz, terrorized by the world around him, and especially by his teachers, shoots himself. The ending seems likely to be the suicide of Moritz's friend, Melchior, but in a confrontation with a mysterious stranger (the famous Masked Man) he finally manages to shed his illusions and face the consequences.… (more)

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