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Does Melchior rape Wendla in SPRING AWAKENING?
Posted by The Distinctive Baritone 2007-03-23 03:06:27


I did a search, but no one seems to have really discussed this in detail. I just saw the musical for the first time tonight, and although I really enjoyed it, I was greatly disturbed that the sex scene at the end of the first act did not appear to be consensual. I know from people's previous posts that the blocking where Wendla says "yes" and places Melchior's hand on her breast was added to the Broadway production to make it appear more consensual, but to me it seemed that Wendla did NOT want Melchior to go as far as he did, and that technically speaking, he raped her.

Can anyone support or deny this using evidence from the script/staging? This is really bothering me!

re: Does Melchior rape Wendla in SPRING AWAKENING?
Posted by shesamarshmallow 2007-03-23 03:10:03


I definitely participated in a heated discussion on the board on this topic. Too lazy to go find it.

Basically, I said he essentially raped her because he knew about sex and the consequences and she didn't, regardless of whether she says yes at that time.
And everyone else said that it was ok because Wendla loved Melchior.
And I banged my head against the wall. Repeatedly.

re: Does Melchior rape Wendla in SPRING AWAKENING?
Posted by shesamarshmallow 2007-03-23 03:12:38


Aforementioned thread:
http://broadwayworld.com/board/readmessage.cfm?boardname=bway&thread=922100

re: Does Melchior rape Wendla in SPRING AWAKENING?
Posted by gertrudejessalynn 2007-03-23 03:13:12


I knew there had to be a discussion already! I'm going to do myself a favor and not read that thread.

re: Does Melchior rape Wendla in SPRING AWAKENING?
Posted by eatlasagna 2007-03-23 03:46:10


ummm... it would've been nice if you didn't include actualy plot points in the subject... i wanted to see this show when i went to new york and i'm assuming you gave away a huge plot point! thanks.... geez

re: Does Melchior rape Wendla in SPRING AWAKENING?
Posted by gumbo2 2007-03-23 03:57:01


Spoiler I guess, though I don't know how someone could not know that Spring Awakening involves sex at this point, considering that it's on just about all the promotional features and the cover of their playbill.




I haven't read the original script, but my friends who have read it say that it would definitely be considered rape in Wenekind's original version, and they toned it down for the musical.

re: Does Melchior rape Wendla in SPRING AWAKENING?
Posted by The Distinctive Baritone 2007-03-23 03:57:35


Well, sorry, but I imagine most people going to see the show would know that it's about sexual discovery, and that therefore characters in the play have sex. I mean, look at the LOGO for the show. I don't think I'm spoiling anything too badly here.

EDIT: gumbo2 beat me to it...

re: Does Melchior rape Wendla in SPRING AWAKENING?
Posted by gumbo2 2007-03-23 03:58:59


Ha, we posted that at the same time, but yes, exactly.

re: Does Melchior rape Wendla in SPRING AWAKENING?
Posted by The Distinctive Baritone 2007-03-23 04:01:37


And then you posted again as I was editing my message. We must have a psychic connection, you and I

re: Does Melchior rape Wendla in SPRING AWAKENING?
Posted by gumbo2 2007-03-23 04:03:38


Hahaha...I think factors would be: It is extremely late, aaaand I am currently in Sweeney Todd, which seems to be a major theme in both your name and avatar. The world works in mysterious ways, friend. Anyway...good night.

re: Does Melchior rape Wendla in SPRING AWAKENING?
Posted by BroadwayPenguin2 2007-03-23 04:25:00


In the old script, the last work she says before black out is "NO!" underlined too...

What does it say in the original play?

re: Does Melchior rape Wendla in SPRING AWAKENING?
Posted by millie_dillmount 2007-03-23 04:51:20


"ummm... it would've been nice if you didn't include actualy plot points in the subject... i wanted to see this show when i went to new york and i'm assuming you gave away a huge plot point! thanks.... geez"

Well, it is pretty obvious if you look at the picture in the show's logo...it's not a huge plot point that is going to ruin anything for you.

re: Does Melchior rape Wendla in SPRING AWAKENING?
Posted by eatlasagna 2007-03-23 06:17:50


i actually haven't seen the logo... all i know is that it's about sex and is like some new version of RENT... a rape sequence never once entered my mind... when i think of sex i don't automatically think of rape... oh well i guess

oh that and you mentioned names in the actual subject heading... maybe i would have been less upset in not knowing who did what in the actual musical

re: Does Melchior rape Wendla in SPRING AWAKENING?
Posted by AnnaB 2007-03-23 06:23:25


In the original play she doesn't consent it. The last line of that scene is from Wendla who protests "O Melchior! Don't, don't"

re: Does Melchior rape Wendla in SPRING AWAKENING?
Posted by mint0621 2007-03-23 08:18:23


Yes, it is rape.

This occurs a lot in the world today; women in conservative countries are (even now) not told about sex & when they marry, it is essentially legalized rape.


re: Does Melchior rape Wendla in SPRING AWAKENING?
Posted by paphillyguy 2007-03-23 08:35:03


I the Atlantic version off broadway, it was played more toward the rape side, I thought. It is lessened in the Broadway version

re: Does Melchior rape Wendla in SPRING AWAKENING?
Posted by doodlenyc 2007-03-23 09:57:50


She wanted it!

re: Does Melchior rape Wendla in SPRING AWAKENING?
Posted by sidjones09 2007-03-23 10:04:54


"In the Atlantic version off broadway, it was played more toward the rape side, I thought. It is lessened in the Broadway version "

This is true. The Atlantic version was in fact played as a rape as it is written in Wedekind's play. But I'm assuming the producers and/or Michael Mayer decided they needed to make it consensual for Broadway audiences.

re: Does Melchior rape Wendla in SPRING AWAKENING?
Posted by Wanna Be A Foster 2007-03-23 10:06:08


The Distinctive Baritone, please change the title of the thread. It's really disrespectful to people who have not yet seen the show the way you have it titled right now.

re: Does Melchior rape Wendla in SPRING AWAKENING?
Posted by CurtainPullDowner 2007-03-23 10:09:53


It's called Coping out.

re: Does Melchior rape Wendla in SPRING AWAKENING?
Posted by sidjones09 2007-03-23 10:17:16


Agreed. CurtainPullDowner

re: Does Melchior rape Wendla in SPRING AWAKENING?
Posted by sweetestsiren 2007-03-23 10:37:47


Basically, I said he essentially raped her because he knew about sex and the consequences and she didn't, regardless of whether she says yes at that time.

Agreed, totally. Part of consent is knowing what you're getting into, and Wendla obviously had no idea. They might've been the same age, but he's clearly the more informed and experienced of the two, and so it's still predatory on his part.

I also agree that it's a cop-out to change the scene so that she "consents" at the last second. I gather that we're supposed to like Melchior more than we would have if she had said no, but I didn't, and I wish that they had just gone all the way and portrayed it as rape. Melchior would've been a far more interesting character if he weren't shoehorned into being the unambiguous "hero" of the piece.

re: Does Melchior rape Wendla in SPRING AWAKENING?
Posted by Becoz_i_knew_you21 2007-03-23 10:52:01


If Mechoir had clearly raped Wendla you wouldn't feel for him in the end. Off-Broadway was more rape-ish than Broadway. They wanted to make that scene more consensual on Broadway. Micheal Mayer said he didn't want the only representation on sex of be rape. Anyway's I think it kind of is rape because Wendla consents like halfway through.

re: Does Melchior rape Wendla in SPRING AWAKENING?
Posted by iluvtheatertrash 2007-03-23 10:54:23


No means no. It doesn't mean to convince me when I say no. It means no.

In the original play, yes, it was a rape.
Here, trying to be darling and make the handsome Melchior a sweetheart, they make it... consensual? Sort of?

It's always distrubed me that they tread so lightly and delicately over the issue of rape.

re: Does Melchior rape Wendla in SPRING AWAKENING?
Posted by muscle23ftl 2007-03-23 11:11:08


It's not rape.
She gives in, she wanted him.
She said no in the beginning just because of the social pressure she faced in that time.

re: Does Melchior rape Wendla in SPRING AWAKENING?**SPOILERS**
Posted by BBBoy 2007-03-23 11:13:41


**SPOILERS**

I thought it was a very big mistake to make the rape in SA ambiguous in any way in the transfer from off-bway to Broadway. A distinct theme in the play (and the musical as well - one of most interesting I feel) is how blossoming sexual energy in a repressed society is bottled up and redirected in unusual ways.

Melchior knows what sex is. He is a smart, if slightly rebellious young man, but he is always in control of himself. He knows that with his knowledge comes great responsibility.

But when Wendla asks him to strike her with the switch, we suddenly see the extent of his own personal emotional repression. He loses control - becomes masochistic, abusive, and enraged. But he is also empowered by it, and that is what leads him to rape Wendla - attaining his own sexual freedom through force and violence. It is part of his sexual awakening - to give in to the base desires of his blossoming sexuality.

Turning the rape into a psuedo-consensual act turns what is a potent analysis of the extremes of sexuality into a simple and boring love story. It also creates a number of problems with his character. There needs to be a justifiable explanation as to how Melchior, in all of his wisdom, would just go ahead and do the deed with Wendla without being wary of the consequences. The act, as currently portrayed, deprives Melchior of the intelligence that was key to his character up to that point. For the rest of Act II, he is turned in to a soppy, love stricken romantic, who is merely jazzed (if a little surprised) at the news of his impending fatherhood. There's a goldmine of thematic potential there that is never even touched.

Nonetheless, no matter what way you put it - it is still rape - simply because Melchior knows what he is doing, Wendla doesn't, and he seems pretty lucid while he is doing it. Returning it back to a moment of sexual agression (as it is in the original play) would both justify the event itself, and I don't feel it would turn Melchior into an unsympathetic character (as it also works out in the play).

We understand that, despite Melchior's intelligence, he is still a young man learning to battle the growth of his sexual desires in a repressive society, and any act of emotional rebellion (yes - including rape) is forgiveable considering the context of the play. He is still our hero, because he has never been, despite his hopes, in complete control of his life/world. It is his battle and journey to find his place in the world and within himself, and the rape is an important part of that.

Making it consensual just makes it boring, and I think really sabotages the second act.

re: Does Melchior rape Wendla in SPRING AWAKENING?**SPOILERS**
Posted by Becoz_i_knew_you21 2007-03-23 11:19:27


That was fabulous BBoy.

re: Does Melchior rape Wendla in SPRING AWAKENING?**SPOILERS**
Posted by Borstalboy 2007-03-23 11:28:09


Agreed, BBoy. Political correctness drowns yet another great work of art.

re: Does Melchior rape Wendla in SPRING AWAKENING?**SPOILERS**
Posted by uncageg 2007-03-23 11:31:02


My best friend and I saw it at the Atlantic and discussed it at intermission. One of the things we came up with is that it was not really rape. They were young and inexperienced. He may not have realized the physical pain she was feeling at first. He may have know about sex, but not the physical pain a girl feels, especially the 1st time. And we do not see the full act itself, so we don't know if she actually gave in. Which I think she did after the initial shock. But then again, no means no. Just my thoughts.

re: Does Melchior rape Wendla in SPRING AWAKENING?**SPOILERS**
Posted by sidjones09 2007-03-23 11:42:50


*SPOILERS on 2 counts, SA and CRASH*

I agree with 95% of what you said BBBoy.

I still think it's a great show though. But instead of omitting the rape, I would have loved to see them explore how Melchior deals with that even deeper in ACT 2.

I don't know why this analogy keeps coming up in my head, and it may be a bad one, but I keep thinking of the movie CRASH. You know how Matt Dillon's character, Officer John Ryan, saves the life of Thandie Newton's character, Christine Thayer, from the car accident a good while after he had molested her in front of her husband. Can you imagine how much less powerful that scene would have been without the molestation preceding it.

I keep thinking if Melchior had to carry his rape of Wendla with him into the discovery that she was now pregnant from it, and when he finally shows up to talk with her for the first time since this news only to find out that she and his baby are dead. Now THAT's riveting theatre. Just that ONE moment, could have made such a difference for everything that came after it.

re: Does Melchior rape Wendla in SPRING AWAKENING?**SPOILERS**
Posted by sidjones09 2007-03-23 11:48:32


"My best friend and I saw it at the Atlantic and discussed it at intermission. One of the things we came up with is that it was not really rape. They were young and inexperienced. He may not have realized the physical pain she was feeling at first. He may have know about sex, but not the physical pain a girl feels, especially the 1st time. And we do not see the full act itself, so we don't know if she actually gave in. Which I think she did after the initial shock. But then again, no means no. Just my thoughts."

Uncageg, I have to disagree. I thought it was CLEARLY a rape at Atlantic. From what I remember, Wendla was physically and verbally pushing Melchior away all the way up until the actual insinuated penetration. Although there were still signs that she had feelings for him, I did not get the impression that she wanted any part of that experience.

re: Does Melchior rape Wendla in SPRING AWAKENING?**SPOILERS**
Posted by uncageg 2007-03-23 12:34:13


I saw it in June. And don't remember specifics. I do remember that we talked about it and we were back and forth on the rape thing. Would take up too much space to type the whole conversation.

re: Does Melchior rape Wendla in SPRING AWAKENING?**SPOILERS**
Posted by jg4892 2007-03-23 12:34:48


I'm torn on this one. I agree with muscle on that she said no at first just because she knew something about what they were doing was taboo, but she really wanted him, as shown in the second act when she tells her mother she just wanted to be with him. However, Melchior did push her a lot into the act.

re: Does Melchior rape Wendla in SPRING AWAKENING?**SPOILERS**
Posted by defyingravity11 2007-03-23 12:39:35


Mechoir does rape Wendla in the original play, but Wendla doesn't really know that she is being raped. I was under the impression that she kept saying "No!" because her mother told her that babies came from a man loving a woman. Wendla didn't want Mechoir to love her, not necessarily to have sex (she doesn't even know what sex is at this point). I haven't read the oringinal play in some time, so I could be wrong about this, but it's just what I remember.

re: Does Melchior rape Wendla in SPRING AWAKENING?**SPOILERS**
Posted by iluvtheatertrash 2007-03-23 13:46:00


Muscle, that makes so sense. She had no idea about what was going on. She thought babies came from the stork, for God's sake. What "social pressure?" She's scared, has no idea what he's doing, anything.

re: Does Melchior rape Wendla in SPRING AWAKENING?**SPOILERS**
Posted by jg4892 2007-03-23 13:58:21


When I said I agreed with muscle, I agreed about her wanting to do it but knowing it's wrong somehow. she feels love for melchior, and realizes thats where babies come from and it's taboo for her in that way.

re: Does Melchior rape Wendla in SPRING AWAKENING?**SPOILERS**
Posted by shesamarshmallow 2007-03-23 14:00:26


She doesn't know that that's where babies come from. Hence her being all "...that???" when she finds out she's pregnant.

re: Does Melchior rape Wendla in SPRING AWAKENING?**SPOILERS**
Posted by jg4892 2007-03-23 14:33:25


She doesn't know babies come from sex, but she knows they come from love, as explained by her mother. So when she starts to fall in love with Melchior and is about to engage in this act that comes from her feelings of love, she is scared that she'll have a baby but is still confused.

re: Does Melchior rape Wendla in SPRING AWAKENING?**SPOILERS**
Posted by caitlinette 2007-03-23 14:48:40


What about these lyrics:

Had a sweetheart on his knees
So faithful and adoring
And he touched me
And I let him love me
So let that be my story


That makes it sound like it was consensual.

re: Does Melchior rape Wendla in SPRING AWAKENING?**SPOILERS**
Posted by uncageg 2007-03-23 15:13:08


jg4892 - That was part of the discussion that my friend and I had at the Atlantic. She wanted to do it but knew it was wrong. So it was not the physical pain of it, it was what was going through her mind and knowing it was wrong. We actually went round and round about it.

re: Does Melchior rape Wendla in SPRING AWAKENING?**SPOILERS**
Posted by Becoz_i_knew_you21 2007-03-23 23:49:03


re: Does Melchior rape Wendla in SPRING AWAKENING?**SPOILERS**
Posted by CurtainPullDowner 2007-03-23 23:57:59


are those lyrics suppose to rhyme?

What was he doing on his knees anyway.

re: Does Melchior rape Wendla in SPRING AWAKENING?**SPOILERS**
Posted by ashbash1990 2007-03-24 00:27:18


In the original play, the sex scene is quite clearly a rape...

re: Does Melchior rape Wendla in SPRING AWAKENING?**SPOILERS**
Posted by BroadwayGirl107 2007-03-24 00:38:01


"I agree with muscle on that she said no at first just because she knew something about what they were doing was taboo, but she really wanted him..."

There's multiple layers to that "wanting." Just because a woman physically desires some sort of sexual satisfaction, it doesn't mean she's emotionally ready for it. Saying no wasn't just her knowing it was taboo and a "bad" thing to do, but it's an intense physical intimacy and saying "no" is also a resistance to THAT. If he had more knowledge about the act than she did, and he still tried to seduce her into doing it after her initial resistance, that's rape...regardless of what her hormones are telling her. At the very least, it's a SEVERE physical (and emotional) violation, and it's taking advantage of her BIG time.

re: Does Melchior rape Wendla in SPRING AWAKENING?**SPOILERS**
Posted by C is for Company 2007-03-24 00:39:21


Brilliant BroadwayGirl, simply brilliant.

:-p

re: Does Melchior rape Wendla in SPRING AWAKENING?**SPOILERS**
Posted by mint0621 2007-03-24 00:52:10


Wendla cannot give consent to something she does not understand.

Thinking that she wanted it, or that she asked for it...can be dangerous reasoning similar to what rapists say in court.

re: Does Melchior rape Wendla in SPRING AWAKENING?**SPOILERS**
Posted by teka21 2007-03-24 01:05:05


The SA songs are inner monologues of the characters' thoughts. In several songs- Word of Your Body, Whispering, and The Guilty Ones, Wendla sings about wanting Melchior. The lyrics citied from Whispering in an earlier response are the same lyrics from the Atlantic version. The Guilty Ones however, did not appear in the Off B'way show. In the Broadway show, it is clear that Wendla and Melchior continued their sexual relationship consensually beyond the hayloft with the second act opener and The Guilty Ones lyrics about the hours they spend together. Wendla may not have known about the consequences of sex, but she sings of wanting to be touched, acts upon her curiosity about what it feels like to be beaten, and is clearly experiencing "awakening" sexual desires. That's why she refers to herself as "bad" in Mama Who Bore Me. There is nuance to these characters. That's why so much discussion has been generated by SA- and this is a good thing, no matter how one views the show.

re: Does Melchior rape Wendla in SPRING AWAKENING?**SPOILERS**
Posted by Becoz_i_knew_you21 2007-03-24 01:08:39



re: Does Melchior rape Wendla in SPRING AWAKENING?**SPOILERS**
Posted by CurtainPullDowner 2007-03-24 01:13:35


"The SA songs are inner monologues"

Well in Musicals, any song sung alone by a character is an "inner monologue"
Billy Bigelow in CAROUSEL
There is nothing new about that.
Saying all the songs in SA are inner monos is ridiculous,
when all the character are singing together are they having the same inner monologue?
No, they are stating their feelings about what is going on around them.
Just like the picnicers in THIS WAS A REAL NICE CLAMBAKE.

re: Does Melchior rape Wendla in SPRING AWAKENING?**SPOILERS**
Posted by jewelchk 2007-03-24 13:30:26


**more SA spoilers**

That verse in Whispering always struck me as ambiguous-- I was never sure if she really meant it or if, by "And let that be my story", she was trying to convince herself that it was more romantic and perfect than it actually was, both for her sake and to justify the baby being conceived out of love.

I felt like, because they did deviate to make it into a love story in the second half, once she learned what sex was and the consequences and was happy about the baby, she may have had consensual sex with him going forward (ready or not). But that first time, by saying things like "down there?"-- she may have wanted to slowly start experimenting with him (even though he was still pressuring her just to undo her top), but she did not want to go as far with it as they did.

Either way, the creative team of the show has come out and said in the original play he rapes her and we felt we had to tone it down for the Broadway audience. Since we as the audience are supposed to feel sorry for hero Melchior at the end, it's harder to make him a likeable character if he's raped the girl he "loves" so much. It's hard to consider, because it can be viewed as they ended up romanticizing rape, but I think they just made it ambiguous enough for the audience to interpret it how they want to in whatever way makes them connect more with the story. If you want to feel like it's a star crossed love story, you can, and if you want to feel like it's a psychological look into the consequences of rape for two emotionally immature teenagers (ie is Wendla trying to deal with rape by tricking herself into believing it was consensual? is Melchior trying to convince himself it wasn't rape by insisting that he loves her?), you can. As proven by this thread, there are arguments for either interpretation.

re: Does Melchior rape Wendla in SPRING AWAKENING?**SPOILERS**
Posted by Jyn326 2007-03-24 14:12:13


I think a lot of how you view this show has a lot to do with your own first experiences with sex.

I liken that scene to many teenage girls these days. Say she wants to remain a virgin until she's married, or at least until she's older. But her boyfriend constantly makes comments about how it's difficult for him to wait. Because he "loves" her and wants to "be closer to her" and all those lines boys tell girls to get them in bed. Maybe the guy really does love her, but he clearly doesn't care enough about her to see that she's not ready. So the girl ends up giving in and getting it over with because she's scared to lose the guy. She gives permission, so they have consensual sex. It isn't rape, really. But it also isn't really wanted by the girl.

Granted nowadays most teenagers know all the risks involved with having sex, but I don't know if that point alone decides whether or not Wendla was raped. I do think that the fact that Melchior knew he was more knowledgable and ready for the act than she was makes it even worse than if he had only pressured her (like in the above teen scenario)

So in short- my vote is that it was not rape in the musical. But Wendla was not ready and most likely would have preferred to wait. Melchior was wrong to go through with it, but I don't think he raped her. That's my opinion anyhow.

re: Does Melchior rape Wendla in SPRING AWAKENING?**SPOILERS**
Posted by Becoz_i_knew_you21 2007-03-24 14:15:35


This is one of the reasons I love this show. People can get into so much detail about things and have such discussions as the one we are having now.

re: Does Melchior rape Wendla in SPRING AWAKENING?**SPOILERS**
Posted by dramaqueen2 2007-03-24 15:03:00


in the original play by wedekind, it is implied if not said that melchior does in fact rape wendla; however, in the broadway production, it is not rape. he does bring it upon her, but it is consentual.

re: Does Melchior rape Wendla in SPRING AWAKENING?**SPOILERS**
Posted by teka21 2007-03-24 15:03:46


"Saying all the songs in SA are inner monos is ridiculous,
when all the character are singing together are they having the same inner monologue?
No, they are stating their feelings about what is going on around them."

Not ridiculous at all. The concept in SA is very different. When Wendla and Melchior sing The Word Of Your Body it's not a conventional love duet; their lyrics are what they are thinking inside at that moment- they are never singing to each other. When they both sing the same line, it is because they are both having the same thought, they are not communicating with each other. The boys in the Bitch of Living are each singing about their own issues and fantasies, they are not in conversation. None of the songs involve a dialogue, no characters sing to each other. This is unique.

re: Does Melchior rape Wendla in SPRING AWAKENING?**SPOILERS**
Posted by The_Jackal2 2007-03-24 15:07:21


I haven't seen the show yet but from what I've heard on the cast recording, it never seemed like rape to me. She may not have totally known what she was getting into, but the song "The Guilty Ones" always made it sound like she did want it.

re: Does Melchior rape Wendla in SPRING AWAKENING?**SPOILERS**
Posted by BroadwayGirl107 2007-03-24 17:03:24


I think the ambiguity in this case is more frightening than intriguing. To think that they'd "tone down" this aspect of the show and blur a particular message is ridiculous to me, and it's just plain scary that people buy that this more or less forced sex act is twisted into an incredibly shallow version of what people like to call "love."

re: Does Melchior rape Wendla in SPRING AWAKENING?**SPOILERS**
Posted by Weez 2007-03-24 17:13:18


It's definitely rape, for all the reasons stated before. Wendla may later sing "I let him love me", but has anyone thought that may be the victim blaming herself for not being successful in fighting him off? Some victims sadly do blame themselves for things other people do to them.

Although having seen the show, I think it much better fits the idea that Melchior and Wendla had relations multiple times and those times were definitely much more on the consensual side of things.

re: Does Melchior rape Wendla in SPRING AWAKENING?**SPOILERS**
Posted by siamese dream 2007-03-24 17:14:03


Agreed 100%, BroadwayGirl. As others have mentioned in the past, I think they were attempting to make Melchoir more of a romantic hero rather than a tragic one (if you can even call him that), but (perhaps unintentionally) took the easy way out rather than making him definitively one or the other. In doing so, the show left me with even perhaps a worse taste in my mouth over the entire Wendla/Melchoir subplot than if they would have left the original storyline intact.

re: Does Melchior rape Wendla in SPRING AWAKENING?**SPOILERS**
Posted by bella cantato 2007-03-25 01:34:57


In the quote that Wendla sings that keeps getting brought up, I always took the line "So let that be my story" to be what she wants OTHERS to say about her... so it doesn't necessarily mean that she believes it herself.

re: Does Melchior rape Wendla in SPRING AWAKENING?**SPOILERS**
Posted by Jyn326 2007-03-25 14:06:53


hmm, that's an interesting point, Bella. I hadn't thought about that line in that way before.

Do you think that that scene is supposed to be definately rape or definately consentual? Or do you think that it's meant to be a little ambiguous so that each audience member can take from the show something different? And perhaps to inspire lengthy discussions like this one...

Or is it SOLEY to make Melchior a little less jerkish than if he was a beyond-a-shadow-of-a-doubt rapist?

re: Does Melchior rape Wendla in SPRING AWAKENING?**SPOILERS**
Posted by MossiDivo 2007-03-25 14:14:10


She does say in Act II when the doctor is with them that "I just wanted to be with him... how could that..." indiciating that she did do what she did becuase she wanted to, even though she didnt know that the act of sex led to pregnancy. I really dont think it is rape at all.

re: Does Melchior rape Wendla in SPRING AWAKENING?**SPOILERS**
Posted by BroadwayGirl107 2007-03-25 17:26:29


"Or is it SOLEY to make Melchior a little less jerkish than if he was a beyond-a-shadow-of-a-doubt rapist?"

That, and, even more so, in order to make the show more commercially viable, they wanted to get rid of the straight-up rape deal in order to make it less scandalous, I suppose. Of course, by doing so, they've made the water murkier, and they're sending out some lousy messages about sex and pressure.

It's silly that there's anything consensual about the sex scene because Wendla is CLEARLY pressured into doing it, and "I just wanted to be with him," sounds like a common way a young girl would justify her failure to resist.

re: Does Melchior rape Wendla in SPRING AWAKENING?**SPOILERS**
Posted by Becoz_i_knew_you21 2007-03-25 17:31:33


I think if it was no doubt rape, it would upset some people and turn some people away from the show. I think it was turned ambiguous partly to not make Melchoir seem like a jerk in the end. Like I said before,Mayer didn't want the only representation of sex to be rape.

re: Does Melchior rape Wendla in SPRING AWAKENING?**SPOILERS**
Posted by shesamarshmallow 2007-03-25 17:31:51


Ok, but part of what we're saying is that it's rape even if she "just wanted to be with him" because of her lack of knowledge about the act. It being consensual at that moment is kind of irrelevant.

re: Does Melchior rape Wendla in SPRING AWAKENING?**SPOILERS**
Posted by BroadwayGirl107 2007-03-25 17:36:35


Becoz, going back to what I said was "frightening" earlier...he pressures her into having sex anyway and then they actually try to pass it off as love. It's not technically rape, but it's a pretty lousy message to be giving out about love and sex if you ask me...

Of course it doesn't upset most people because people take these sorts of things at surface value. God only knows why...

re: Does Melchior rape Wendla in SPRING AWAKENING?**SPOILERS**
Posted by teka21 2007-03-25 17:46:08


******Contains Spoilers*****

These pressures about sex are very much issues for today's teens as they were for Wedekind's teens. Surely date rape is as troubling as "friends with privileges." As for portraying Melchior solely as a hero, it's grayer than that. After Moritz' suicide, Melchior's parents discuss what to do about him. His mother - the most "open-minded" of the adults in SA, stops defending him once she learns he had impregnated Wendla despite his knowledge of the consequences of sex, and allows him to be sent away to the reformatory. Perhaps his actions or inactions may have contributed to a friend's death. I don't believe that SA has romanticized teen sex, but is raising the issues of our society's mixed messages and double standards on the subject.

re: Does Melchior rape Wendla in SPRING AWAKENING?**SPOILERS**
Posted by Becoz_i_knew_you21 2007-03-25 17:52:54


I don't think the show is trying to romanticize that scene or sex at all.

re: Does Melchior rape Wendla in SPRING AWAKENING?**SPOILERS**
Posted by BroadwayGirl107 2007-03-25 17:58:05


I think you're missing my point. I don't think the creators of the musical are consciously TRYING to romanticize boys pressuring girls into having sex, but the fact that there are people who have posted here and concluded that it wasn't rape at all, that it's actually love, that she wanted it, or that because she says she wanted to be with him means she DID is obviously showing that there's a mixed message. It's not facing the problem, it's avoiding it and creating a whole nother one by doing so. The original play deals with the issue with much more clarity, but I think commercialism took priority over art with this particular detail of the musical.

re: Does Melchior rape Wendla in SPRING AWAKENING?**SPOILERS**
Posted by NickHyper 2007-03-25 17:58:12


The answer is a very simple NO.

I haven't read the other posts on here except for the main one. I think anyone who thinks it was rape should look up the definition of rape. In fact, here is one of the main definitions from dictionary.com

Rape - any act of sexual intercourse that is forced upon a person.

Did she give consent to what was happening? Yes. Did she not know what it was? Yes. Not knowing what it was doesn't make it rape. That just makes her ignorant of the situation.

re: Does Melchior rape Wendla in SPRING AWAKENING?**SPOILERS**
Posted by BroadwayGirl107 2007-03-25 18:08:53


According to the dictionary I have in front of me:

"sexual intercourse by a man with a woman without her consent and chiefly by force or deception."

Hmm. Or deception.

re: Does Melchior rape Wendla in SPRING AWAKENING?**SPOILERS**
Posted by shesamarshmallow 2007-03-25 18:11:55


While I agree with BroadwayGirl, I'm a little disturbed that that definition defines rape only as an act perpetrated by men on women... it should go both ways. And within gender, too.

re: Does Melchior rape Wendla in SPRING AWAKENING?**SPOILERS**
Posted by Becoz_i_knew_you21 2007-03-25 18:13:24


BroadwayGirl, I totally get you.

re: Does Melchior rape Wendla in SPRING AWAKENING?**SPOILERS**
Posted by BroadwayGirl107 2007-03-25 18:13:38


I was a bit disturbed by that as well. It's like a sexist definition of rape.

re: Does Melchior rape Wendla in SPRING AWAKENING?**SPOILERS**
Posted by C is for Company 2007-03-25 18:20:37


That is a good one. "Deception! Deception!"

She had far less understanding of the situation than him and he got the ball rolling on something she wasn't quite clear about. I'd take that moment as rape, but as far as the relationship, I believe it is consensual.

does melky rape wendy?
Posted by papalovesmambo 2007-03-25 18:38:02


oh yeah, totally rapes her. doesn't wear a condom. it's actually happening onstage as well, full bareback cream pie every night.

does melky rape wendy?
Posted by overthemoon419 2007-03-25 19:29:57


I think that Melchior does rape Wendla, and her "consent" is more giving up the fight than actually agreeing it's what she wants. I would imagine that she was torn between her mind telling her that being touched in that way was wrong, but her body felt that it was "right," and then there was the part of her mind that just wanted to be with him, and therefore decides to give him what he wants, in a sense, so that he'll be with her.

does melky rape wendy?
Posted by teka21 2007-03-25 20:01:28


Wendla's listening to "the word of her body" without knowledge of sex and birth control leads to tragedy. Those who insist on "just say no" abstinence programs today instead of real education create the same dilemma for our teens, who face not only unwanted pregnancy, but the dangers of HIV/AIDS and STDs. They also have pressure to have sex before they feel ready, and those who are ready don't always have access and info on safe sex.
SA is so powerful because it asks its audience- parents and teens alike to focus on these issues and prevent more tragedy.

does melky rape wendy?
Posted by fetzles1490 2007-03-25 20:51:48


Papa - I don't think condoms existed yet (let alone would a teenager in that sheltered and conservative a community have one), so that's irrelevant, I think.

I also do not think it's rape. Clearly, Wendla was ignorant and confused and scared, but she also clearly wanted it. I think her initial refusal was out of pure fear. Not fear of the act itself, but fear of the unknown consequences of the act. She's afraid of what her parents and the rest of society will say. I think she even says something alluding to that, though I can't remember off the top of my head.

I agree that she wasn't emotionally ready to have sex, however her ignorance of the effect of her actions also means she would not have had any idea whether or not she was ready. I don't think Melchior should be held responsible for Wendla's emotional readiness. She does consent in the end. She unbuttons her shirt for him. Later in the show (The Guilty Ones, Whispering), she talks of how she did want him. Also, in The Guilty Ones, she and Melchior are passionately kissing through almost the whole thing.

does melky rape wendy?
Posted by papalovesmambo 2007-03-26 20:58:09


au contraire, condoms have existed since 1000 bc in one form or another. mass produced rubbers came on the scene around 1861.

but i think they don't use one because they're both bug chasers.

does melky rape wendy?
Posted by beyondblessed 2007-03-26 21:16:44


Yes, he raped her.
I'm happy this thread was created because I felt like I was the only person who held this view. But that is what I love of about the theatre, it allows varying views to be formed.

If a girl says no and expresses discomfort then it is rape. I’m a heterosexual male and that is just the way it is.

But I feel as though a question to follow in this debate is:

Does Wendla know she was raped?
I don't think so. She thought this was love, just like she thought being brutally beaten was a way to express love.

I feel as though this show was created so conversations like this would exist. It is somewhat of an ambivalent issue.
But I personally feel… she was raped.

does melky rape wendy?
Posted by Becoz_i_knew_you21 2007-03-26 22:03:22


"I don't think so. She thought this was love, just like she thought being brutally beaten was a way to express love. "

In my view, I don't think she thought being beaten was a way to express love.

does melky rape wendy?
Posted by pants2 2007-03-26 23:17:07


well, I think that wendla definetly wanted melchior, but she was probably having an internal conflict with herself. I mean, to just be talking and then just suddenly feel the urge to give it up? It's different, and I definetly think her hesitation was because she felt like what she was doing was so wrong,, because of the way she was raised, or at least didn't know what to think of it.

does melky rape wendy?
Posted by bsherms 2008-02-02 22:45:54


When I first saw the show, the thought that it was rape hadn't even really crossed my mind until I got home and joined discussions on it. I'm assuming this is because of how the actors played it the night I saw it; whenever Wendla protested outright, Melchior stopped what he was doing, and Wendla was one that resumed the act.

I could see it going both ways, but I personally saw it as consensual--and to me, that does not dumb down the play at all. The idea that Melchior is still a hero in the play even though he rapes Wendla does not sit well with me. I never sympathized with Melchior in Wedekind's version, because I did not buy the fact that since he was acting on repressed emotion, it made it "okay". Rape is never okay.

In my mind, the theme of the musical is chiefly that of miscommunication (and lack of communication) between the characters, and the consequences of that miscommunication. The musical's main point, in my mind, is to warn against that miscommunication.

does melky rape wendy?
Posted by GlindatheGood22 2008-02-02 23:07:06


She says no, but then she kind of gets suckered into it. It's technically a gray area.

does melky rape wendy?
Posted by Elphaba3 2008-02-02 23:28:04


Yes, he raped her. He should have stopped as soon as she said no, but instead he took advantage of her naivety and kept going.

does melky rape wendy?
Posted by george95 2008-02-02 23:30:32


He does stop when she says no, but then she takes his hand and puts it back on her bare breast, and she initiates and continues the sex act. She is not raped.

does melky rape wendy?
Posted by Elphaba3 2008-02-02 23:32:09


I still see it as rape.

does melky rape wendy?
Posted by george95 2008-02-02 23:34:38


The only part that she really seemed to object to is the first time he touches her chest, and then when he touches her va-jay-jay she really freaks out (it didnt sound like she enjoyed it) but then for the intercourse.......yeah she didn't object.

does melky rape wendy?
Posted by mwjr16 2008-02-02 23:38:14


No, she wants it . . .

does melky rape wendy?
Posted by bohemianqueen 2008-02-02 23:48:58


I saw the original play play after I saw the musical - I was curious to see how much had been changed in the musical. In my opinion in the musical I think they leave that scene to interpretation, there are no real clear lines if it is rape or not - as he knows what he is doing, she doesn't, but she doesn't seem to object. Interestingly in the play it is a definate rape, there is a definate struggle with her trying to push him away and she yells out 'NO' so I guess for the musical, they either wanted to play it down or blur the lines to see people's individual interpretation.

After seeing both and seeing the script changes etc... I have to say I still prefer the musical version as a whole piece.

does melky rape wendy?
Posted by snl89 2008-02-02 23:58:20


This is actually an important topic, I feel.

Here's my take on it:
It was NOT rape, imo. Yes, she does object in the beginning, but I feel like you really have to look at it beyond a surface level. What makes a rape a rape, I feel, is when the victim feels violated. A person can lay there and not object at all, but if they are hurt by what is being done to them, it is a rape (granted in that situation, I'd have to place SOME of the blame on them for not objecting at all). Likewise, a person can technically say "no, no" all they want, but if in reality it IS something they want and that they're not hurt by, it's not a rape. Also, I never really felt like Wendla was objecting to the actual sex in the first place. I saw it more as that she was scared by the fact that they weren't allowed to do it. When she says no, she's saying "no, we're not supposed to", not "no, I don't want to". So I viewed it more as that she was never afraid to do it with him, she was just afraid to be doing something she wasn't allowed to. So when he finally convinced her not to worry about "the rules" of it all, that's when she finally gave in and said yes.

That's not to say that I don't think it's irresponsible of Melchior to persuade Wendla to go along with it knowing that she has no knowledge of what may come of it, but it's not rape. Seduction, sure, but there's a very big difference between seduction and rape.

The fact is that it's made very clear, more throughout the course of act 2 even than in the sex scene itself, that Wendla was not hurt emotionally by what Melchior did. In fact, she fully WANTED to be with him again, just as he wanted to be with her again. It wasn't great that he took advantage of her naivety, but to call him a rapist is way too harsh in my opinion.

I guess I have a problem with people saying he's a rapist because to say that almost, to me, undermines those who ARE real rapists- like Martha's father, for instance. To put Melchior in the same league as someone like that just doesn't seem right to me.

Also, I think there's something to be said for the fact that Melchior is naive too. Yes, he's read about sex in books. Yes, he understands the physicality of it. But could we really asume that he'd even know what rape IS? I'm very, very willing to bet none of the books he read ever delved into the idea of sex, if it is not wanted, being a painful and scarring experience. So to place the blame on him for pushing her into it.. that's kind of unfair. If he doesn't realize at all that what he is doing could possibly be hurtful, how can he know to stop?

Again, I'm not saying he's completely and totally innocent: what he did was irresponsible, and probably a little bit selfish to push her into it like that. But I just think you have to remember that he's young and naive also, and though he technically knows what he's doing, that doesn't mean he realizes the full emotional aspect of it.

does melky rape wendy?
Posted by SporkGoddess 2008-02-03 12:01:02


Part of date rape is the issue of communication. Men and women both have different ideas of what it means to say "no." Women believe that body language, subtle cues, etc., are enough. Men have to have it basically spelled out for them. A girl could say "No" but if she's still acting in a way that the guy views as seductive or flirtatious, he'll still go ahead with it. That could explain why Melchior kept going ahead with the act even though Wendla said no. (Disclaimer: this isn't blaming the victim; I don't think rape is an "honest mistake").

In terms of the show, I frankly think that "Word of Your Body" makes Melchior rather unsympathetic. I mean, "Baiting some girl with hypotheses"? That pretty much says it right there.

does melky rape wendy?
Posted by luvtheEmcee 2008-02-03 12:05:57


Not only do (especially young) men have to have it spelled out to them, but there's also a tendency to try and convince the girl that it's okay, or whatever. Even a perfectly comprehensible expression of not wanting to is too often followed by an "oh, come on." Which, personally, I just see as an issue of respect.

does melky rape wendy?
Posted by george95 2008-02-03 12:20:13


I think SNL89 laid out a compelling case for why Melchoir did NOT rape Wendla, and unless somebody can refute the majority of those specific claims made by SNL89, then I believe this case closed.

does melky rape wendy?
Posted by luvtheEmcee 2008-02-03 12:23:11


I can only speak for myself, but for me, the issue is that in the play, it is clearly, indisputably rape. The musical took that and flipped it in favor of romance and heroism. It's not clear in the musical that it is or isn't supposed to be rape. Isn't that why the question was posed in the first place?

I love how one teenager's pro-SA rant is suddenly the final word and THE correct view. That's honestly just laughable.

does melky rape wendy?
Posted by george95 2008-02-03 12:35:45


So if it it's so laugable, then why dont you specifically address at least one of those points made?

does melky rape wendy?
Posted by luvtheEmcee 2008-02-03 12:48:42


Oh for God's sake. You obviously didn't read. I explained that my perspective, as far as the musical goes, isn't one or the other BECAUSE IT IS UNCLEAR. The musical takes pains to turn Melchior into a hero, and to romanticize an incredibly ugly reality. It's a bastardization of what the play says. It is SUPPOSED to be rape. It SHOULD be rape in order for the point that Wedekind intended to make the most sense. For me, it's not an issue of disputing the assumption that in the musical, it's not rape, because it's so obvious why people can see it that way. Snl's post goes to show that she sees exactly what Stephen Sater's book WANTS you to see. But that's why I didn't -- and am not going to -- sit here and address her point by point, because what I'm saying is not about arguing that it IS, in the MUSICAL, a clear-cut case of rape. I'm not TRYING to prove that it is. I'm saying that it. should. be. This is about a problem with the writing. And yes, it's laughable that because one teenager fell into the trap Sater's book sets, you decided to march in and tell everyone who has actually used their head about the matter that the case is now "closed" and nobody else may discuss it, because the final word has been spoken.

does melky rape wendy?
Posted by Taryn 2008-02-03 12:53:38


How can you really, truly consent to an act that you don't even know what it is?

does melky rape wendy?
Posted by george95 2008-02-03 12:58:29


Wow you sure are angry.....and I did the opposite of what you accused me of....I encouraged you to keep the convo going, but by acknowleding previous posters and giving your own opinions, rather than just making petty comments like "you obviously didn't read"
All I said was, I agreed with what SNL89, said; I thought it was a compelling case, rather than a wild rant with lots of random capitalizations, etc. You'll have to excuse me that I didn't think to check SNL89's age before I reacted to the posting.

does melky rape wendy?
Posted by MaronaDavies 2008-02-03 13:01:10


snl89: What makes a rape a rape is when a person initiates or continues a sex act when the other party has objected, or does not have the ability to consent in the first place.

It really doesn't matter why the person is saying no, or what the issue behind it is, or if they like the rapist, or they consider him to be a boyfriend, or if they've consented to sex with that person in the past. If someone's saying NO and physically pushing the aggressor away--as Wendla does--and said aggressor continues what they are doing, it's rape.

I don't think that it's fair to put Melchior into the same category as, say, a rapist hiding in a dark alley who jumps out at women, but date rape and intimate partner rape are very real things, and the scene in SA is meant to depict it. He's still perpetrating a sexual act without Wendla's explicit consent, and that still makes him a rapist.

As others here have said, I also wish they'd have kept the original scene or the off-B'way version as it was, with less shades of grey. It would have been a good way to perhaps open a larger dialogue about rape with the young people who saw the show. What disturbs me about it is that as it's scripted and directed right now, it's leading to these sorts of conversations, where people are trying to justify it as something OK.

does melky rape wendy?
Posted by luvtheEmcee 2008-02-03 13:03:13


That's the root of it. You can't. She does, but only because he convinces her to; she consents, to a degree, but at bottom, she has no idea what it is, exactly, that she's doing. He does. And while he doesn't ostensibly force her into the act, he does somewhat force her to agree. He pushes her and nudges her to that point of telling him it's okay to do. And then it looks like perceived love and romance, and that's how the writers blur the lines.

does melky rape wendy?
Posted by luvtheEmcee 2008-02-03 13:09:38


Not angry. Irritated by your tone. You come marching in here and proclaim the case "closed," meaning that it is over and done with because obviously snl cannot be argued with. How does such antagonism promote discussion? You said you thought it was a compelling case and that if nobody could refute it, then the case was closed; i.e., if nobody could refute it, then she was right, point-blank, the end. That's simply ridiculous. And no, that is not the same as simply saying you agree with her compelling case. What you posted is right there in plain view; why try to pretend that's not what you said?

Capitalization = me being too lazy to type in the html codes. They may be small, but knocking the caps button is always faster. All caps = yelling. A few scattered words = emphasis.

I commented that you obviously didn't read because I had addressed the point, and yet you asked me why I didn't. What was I supposed to think? Perhaps you read and just didn't understand. Excuse me.

I don't think that it's fair to put Melchior into the same category as, say, a rapist hiding in a dark alley who jumps out at women

And yes, exactly. I don't think it's a matter of him being an evil person or having malicious intentions, but he is still violating actual, legitimate consent.

does melky rape wendy?
Posted by george95 2008-02-03 13:17:43


MaronaDavies, I see where you're coming from with it being possible date rape. But she does put his hand back on her bare breast.
I think the better question is if she is able to consent or not. This is the same girl who just finished begging Melchoir to forgive her after she talked him into getting into some S & M. True, she didnt know what she was doing there either, but I dont think that Melchoir completely knew, even with all his sex books. In the musical at least, Melchi does not rape or daterape Wendla.

does melky rape wendy?
Posted by ashbash1990 2008-02-03 14:03:58


I think that there is no question that Wendla wanted it (putting his hand back on her breast), however, her lack of knowledge and Melchior's lack of explanation to her, constitute the act as rape...

does melky rape wendy?
Posted by george95 2008-02-03 14:08:06


perhaps her lack of knowledge would make it a statutory rape? As in, even though she clearly consents by putting his hand back on her, she still cannot consent in terms of understanding what she's consenting to? Remember when she makes the connection between pregnancy and intercourse--the look on her face is priceless.

does melky rape wendy?
Posted by snl89 2008-02-03 14:13:34


I think the better question is if she is able to consent or not. This is the same girl who just finished begging Melchoir to forgive her after she talked him into getting into some S & M. True, she didnt know what she was doing there either, but I dont think that Melchoir completely knew, even with all his sex books. In the musical at least, Melchi does not rape or daterape Wendla.

EXACTLY. I think it's very fair to question whether or not Wendla can truly consent to it if she has no clue what it is, but it does go both ways to an extent, doesn't it? Again, Melchior knows the physicality of sex, but that doesn't mean he's that much less confused about it over all than she is. They're BOTH experiencing this for the first time, so I just don't think it's fair to treat it as though Melchior should have known right away to leave it be when Wendla said no. Again- he only knows as much as he's read in books, which means he probably hasn't a clue that rape exists in the first place. So if Wendla can't consent without knowing what she's consenting to, isn't it fair to say that Melchior can't really know what he's doing wrong without having some idea of what rape is in the first place?


snl89: What makes a rape a rape is when a person initiates or continues a sex act when the other party has objected, or does not have the ability to consent in the first place.

See, I agree with that in a general sense, for sure, but I just think that this is one of those instances where you have to look at it on a deeper level. Like I said, I view the difference between rape and sex as more of an emotional difference that a physical, or literal, one. I just have a hard time calling a sexual act rape when niether of the people involved have been emotionally hurt by it in any way. I suppose this just comes down to how a person views "rape" though. Because sure, if you do consider it rape if a person is not hurt by it but they don't know what it is, then yeah, he raped her. I just have trouble calling that rape. I think of that as seduction.. encouraging a person to engage in a sexual act, and taking advantage of their innocence, but having their consent.

Now in a lot of cases that can be just as bad as rape. I mean, if an adult man goes to a young, naive girl and convinces her to have sex with him, and she agrees but naively so, I think he's a filthy person who deserves to be punished for his actions. But in Melchior's case, I'm more inclined to let him off the hook for the aforementioned reasons. Yeah, he got caught up in his emotions. Yeah, he probably shouldn't have gone that far. But it doesn't make him a violent, cruel, or perverted person (not that I'm assuming everyone who views it as rape THINKS of him that way). It just makes him... a teenager! haha

does melky rape wendy?
Posted by East Village 2008-02-03 14:22:22


My reading is that they are both innocents who are completely overcome and confused by what intimacy brings. Its one of the most disturbing, compelling and beautiful moments I've ever experienced in the theater -- or in front of any work of art.

does melky rape wendy?
Posted by MaronaDavies 2008-02-03 14:34:19


george95--I agree that in the musical, that particular stage action has been added to make the scene resemble a rape less, but it's still not really consensual in the best sense of the word.

(quote)Because sure, if you do consider it rape if a person is not hurt by it but they don't know what it is, then yeah, he raped her. I just have trouble calling that rape.(end quote)

But emotional hurt is not something that can be easily measured, and it doesn't mitigate the act. If someone robs your house but they only take items you don't care about, they've still committed a robbery, right? Rape isn't about the victim's reaction, it's about the perpetrator's actions.

For instance, there have been several cases in hospitals where patients who have been in comas have been sexually assaulted by members of the staff. Under your argument, it wouldn't be considered rape because the person wasn't awake and didn't know, and therefore couldn't be upset by it. The problem is that they were still subjected to a sexual act against their explicit consent.

(quote) I think of that as seduction.. encouraging a person to engage in a sexual act, and taking advantage of their innocence, but having their consent. (endquote)

But if you're taking advantage of someone's innocence, you're not really getting their informed consent, right? And if you get that consent only after wearing someone down and coercing them, it's not quite the same either.

does melky rape wendy?
Posted by SporkGoddess 2008-02-03 14:39:29


snl89: What you are describing is called coercion, and it is viewed as a component of sexual abuse. Being coerced into having sex is not the same as consenting.

It depends, really, on Wendla's mental age. I haven't read the original play, but I've heard that she's supposed to be a little mentally slow. If mentally she was basically a child, it was rape no matter how you look at it.

does melky rape wendy?
Posted by snl89 2008-02-03 15:15:40


ahh k, sorry, I wasn't sure of the actual term for what I was trying to describe haha.


But emotional hurt is not something that can be easily measured, and it doesn't mitigate the act. If someone robs your house but they only take items you don't care about, they've still committed a robbery, right? Rape isn't about the victim's reaction, it's about the perpetrator's actions.

For instance, there have been several cases in hospitals where patients who have been in comas have been sexually assaulted by members of the staff. Under your argument, it wouldn't be considered rape because the person wasn't awake and didn't know, and therefore couldn't be upset by it. The problem is that they were still subjected to a sexual act against their explicit consent.



I understand what you're getting at, I really do, but I just think that's SUCH a different circumstance. It's kind of like the argument of "then if someone were to have sex with a baby, would it be okay?". It's a fair thing to question, but it's very very extreme. Wendla may not have known what was going on, but she wasn't THAT helpless or innocent. Her body wasn't being completely victimized without her having any control whatsoever over the situation.

And actually, even in those situations with people in a comma and stuff, if you really think about it, why do we consider that so wrong? It's because the person had no control over what was happening to them, and therefore if they were to wake up and find out that this had happened, they would feel violated. In the end, it still DOES come back to the emotional aspect of it. If sex were purely a physical act with no emotional attachment to it at all, there would BE no such thing as rape. Because all "not consenting" means in the first place is that the person doesn't WANT it. and wanting vs. not wanting is an emotional thing.

I think I'm doing a really lousy job of trying to explain myself here haha. But yeah, I DO understand all the arguments. And again I'd just like to reiterate that I don't think it was a responsible or unselfish thing of Melchior to do. I just think it's also unfair to see Wendla as a complete victim and Melchior as a complete perpetrator. The way I see, they're BOTH pretty much victims of their own raging hormones and emotions.



does melky rape wendy?
Posted by luvtheEmcee 2008-02-03 15:23:20


I think you're looking at rape through a very, very narrow lens. I agree with you that it's unfair to see Melchior entirely as the perpetrator and Wendla entirely as the victim, but that's not the only way to have a violation of consent. You're only seeing it as one specific thing rather than looking the entire spectrum of non-consensual sex. To me, Wendla is powerless to resist something within her emotions and hormones, but Melchior is absolutely taking advantage of that. She's uncomfortable and once he gets started and she realizes that she likes how it feels and that it seems a little bit romantic, she gives in. There's still violation in that, because he kept pushing against her initial wishes. Coercing someone to give in is not the same as being given consent. To say that doesn't mean I think he's an evil perpetrator. At the end of the day, this is about what happens when children are kept in the dark. A young girl gives in to something that puts her in danger because she hasn't been taught to understand the reality. It's framed to look like romance so that we think it's slightly more permissible on Melchior's behalf. Just like she's convinced that this what you do when you have feelings for someone. That's not to say that Melchior is setting out to destroy this girl and has malicious intentions. It's just to say that he, by virtue of his power over her, is in control. And because she doesn't know enough not to give in, that is a bad thing. He is knowingly putting her at risk, and yet still coerces her into letting him do so.

does melky rape wendy?
Posted by MaronaDavies 2008-02-03 15:24:15


And actually, even in those situations with people in a comma and stuff, if you really think about it, why do we consider that so wrong? It's because the person had no control over what was happening to them, and therefore if they were to wake up and find out that this had happened, they would feel violated.

No, again, it's considered wrong because of the perpetrator's actions, not because of the victim's reactions. Rape's more about power and control than it is about sex, even when it is not a violent act. You basically hit the nail on the head when you said it's because the person had no control. That's what it's about--nobody is allowed to control someone else's body. The emotional impact of rape can be huge, but it doesn't define rape.

For instance, there have also been cases where adults with limited cognitive ability have been sexually abused by other adults. The victims have no idea what has really happened, they don't feel violated and they might even think the perpetrator was being "nice" to them. It's still rape, because it's an act committed without the explicit informed consent of the victim.

We're getting off on a tangent here, so I'm going to stop responding. I do agree with luvtheEmcee, in that M. did not have malicious or violent intent, and that the entire point of the show is to depict adolescents wrestling with various aspects of sexuality, including control and consent. All the same, the scene shows a rape, as much as they tried to sugarcoat that.

does melky rape wendy?
Posted by BigFatBlonde 2008-02-03 16:27:12


Yes, he rapes her.

does melky rape wendy?
Posted by snl89 2008-02-03 16:30:46


Well I don't have a whole lot more to add that wouldn't just be repeating myself, but I'd just like to say that I do fully understand what you guys are saying. I just personally can't bring myself to view it as rape because I feel like it's too strong a word to use in this situation. But I DO understand what you guys are saying about the control aspect of rape in general, and I do fully agree with that. Like I said, I was kind of trying to explain something that I wasn't sure how to go about explaining, and so I ended up skewing it a little bit haha. And you guys put it in a much better way- it's a control thing.


So I guess, really, what it comes down to is that I don't feel like Melchior DID have that much power over Wendla. Which brings me to one last idea: before they ever start kissing, Melchior asks Wendla to leave multiple times, does he not? I'm not saying this forgives his pushing her, but I do think that it IS worth remembering that he realizes that when he's with her he has urges and power struggles he can't control, and he DOES try to prevent himself from going to far again. And Wendla is in fact the one who insists on staying. Granted she doesn't even know what sex is so it's not like she could be intending to stay for that reason, but without realizing it she puts herself in the position that leads Melchior to push her into it. So it's not her fault, but that doesn't mean Melchior didn't try to stop it himself. Because, imo, he DID try, but it was just a difficult situation because Wendla pushed herself on him, not realizing that doing so would lead to anything more than them just being friends again.

does melky rape wendy?
Posted by BigFatBlonde 2008-02-03 16:37:51


Wow.

Someone is going to make a very good battered housewife.

does melky rape wendy?
Posted by snl89 2008-02-03 16:55:32


^oh, hardly, I promise :)

like I said, I GET where everyone is coming from, and I don't disagree entirely- I don't think it was completely right of him to have done what he did- it's just I also tend to understand where Melchior is coming from as well, and I wouldn't be able to do that (at least I'd HOPE I wouldn't) if I felt it was a real rape.


and I'd just like to reiterate so that it's totally clear: when I said Wendla pushed herself on him, I did NOT MEAN that she was "asking for it" or anything like that. I would never mean to imply that. I just meant that she did push in the sense that she wanted to make up with him. That's all. But unfortunately, she had no way of knowing that by pushing in that way, she was also making it more and more difficult for him to control his own raging hormones. And that lead to him persuading her to sleep with him.

does melky rape wendy?
Posted by steven22 2008-02-03 17:01:36


i dont think it was rape..but i also think that wendla did not expect something like what happened (sex)

does melky rape wendy?
Posted by luvtheEmcee 2008-02-03 17:12:18


You don't feel like he has that much power over her? I don't even know how to reply to that. He's completely in control over that situation. Maybe you're saying that because you think of the idea that he has power as a negative thing and don't want it to be spun negative, but I'm sorry, that's just the situation. She trusts him, does she not? Think about where that puts him. Besides just being physically bigger, and stronger than her. That's certainly an issue of power, but it's more than that. And yes, there may be other instances in the show where Wendla leads him on, but I'm talking very specifically about what's going on in that scene. In the finale to Act 1. And really, it all just goes right back to the fact that while Wendla may be teasing Melchior to some degree and drawing him in at other points throughout the show, she really does not know the ultimate consequences of these actions.

does melky rape wendy?
Posted by East Village 2008-02-03 17:13:34


I don't know if I'm giving this way too much consideration but I asked my friend Abbie today when we were walking the dogs

What if Melchior and Wendla were Chuck and Blair...or even Serena and Dan (from Gossip Girl), do you think there'd be rape charges?

She said faster then you could .... er.... shake a stick.

does melky rape wendy?
Posted by snl89 2008-02-03 17:20:19


You don't feel like he has that much power over her? I don't even know how to reply to that. He's completely in control over that situation. Maybe you're saying that because you think of the idea that he has power as a negative thing and don't want it to be spun negative, but I'm sorry, that's just the situation. She trusts him, does she not? Think about where that puts him. Besides just being physically bigger, and stronger than her. That's certainly an issue of power, but it's more than that. And yes, there may be other instances in the show where Wendla leads him on, but I'm talking very specifically about what's going on in that scene. In the finale to Act 1. And really, it all just goes right back to the fact that while Wendla may be teasing Melchior to some degree and drawing him in at other points throughout the show, she really does not know the ultimate consequences of these actions.


Okay, fair enough. He did have power over her. I guess what I was getting at was that he was naive too. Again, people have no problem agreeing that Wendla couldn't have truly consented because she didn't know what sex was, and I agree with that. But then shouldn't you also think about how Melchior had never once known of the idea of rape? He's as clueless about the idea of rape as Wendla is about the idea of sex. So they're BOTH naive, therefore they BOTH make uninformed, poor decisions while their wrapped up in everything they're feeling toward each other.

So yeah, he does have the power. You're absolutely right. I just forgive him for abusing that power the same way it's easy to forgive Wendla for "agreeing" to have sex without actually knowing what the consequences might be.

does melky rape wendy?
Posted by luvtheEmcee 2008-02-03 17:25:09


Because you want to believe it's as romantic as they want you to believe. You're essentially forgiving him for knowingly putting this girl he supposedly cares for in danger for what? An orgasm? Great.

does melky rape wendy?
Posted by sweetestsiren 2008-02-03 17:27:32


It sort of frightens me that anyone thinks that rape is determined by how someone "feels" after a sexual act. Any sex where someone doesn't or isn't able to consent is rape, period. It doesn't mean that one party was hiding out somewhere in a predatory way to jump the other person, or whatever -- you've heard of date rape or statutory rape, haven't you?

does melky rape wendy?
Posted by george95 2008-02-03 17:31:08


You can't make a comparison between Spring Awakening and the characters in Gossip Girl. The characters in the TV show grew up knowing about condoms, STDs, date rape, endless Lifetime movies about women being raped and avenging it later, No Means No campaigns, sex education........and Wendla grew up up with "When a woman loves her husband as she can love no one else---a baby comes!"
No comparison

does melky rape wendy?
Posted by snl89 2008-02-03 17:57:00


You're essentially forgiving him for knowingly putting this girl he supposedly cares for in danger for what? An orgasm? Great.

No, it's just I'm more forgiving him because in a lot of ways he's just as confused and naive as Wendla is. Again, remember, this is a young boy who has only ever READ about sex from books. He's more than likely NEVER even come across the word "rape" let alone understand what it actually means. This isn't like today, where a boy that age BETTER know what rape is, and better be well aware of the consequences if he commits it. Melchior has never, ever been introduced the the idea that pushing sex on someone, or abusing that power is a bad thing. So is it really fair to expect that he would know to stop if he doesn't even realize that what he's doing is wrong? I just don't quite understand how so many people are SO quick to come to Wendla's defense and say she was completely helpless in the matter, but yet don't seem to bear in mind that there's a lot Melchior doesn't realize either, due to their upbringing.



It sort of frightens me that anyone thinks that rape is determined by how someone "feels" after a sexual act. Any sex where someone doesn't or isn't able to consent is rape, period. It doesn't mean that one party was hiding out somewhere in a predatory way to jump the other person, or whatever -- you've heard of date rape or statutory rape, haven't you?

sorry, I've been repeating myself SO much in this thread haha. But, as I said before, most of the time I DO consider coercion (which I think is pretty much the same thing as statutory rape? I'm not positive on that, but I think so. Correct me if I'm wrong) just as bad as rape. WHEN the person doing the coercing is fully aware of the impact of what they are doing and purposely takes advantage of someone because they are young and naive. In today's society, this is pretty much always going to be the case, because we've grown up in a world where the damage of sexual abuse has been pounded into our heads. But we can't forget that this was a very, very different time and place, and Melchior, though he knew what he was doing in a physical sense, was NOT completely aware of the full impact of what he was doing.

does melky rape wendy?
Posted by East Village 2008-02-03 17:58:45


Well for that matter, she also grew up in a time when 14 year olds were married off -- sometimes to much older men -- and may or may not have had any idea what sex was. So if we're not legal scholars of early 19th century german law, I don't think any of us knows what the legal implications would be. Suffice to say, there's all indications from that period it would be a terribly corrupt trial.

As for today, I don't think there is any indication that Wendla would bring charges against Melchior. Without her testimony, there'd be no case. If it did happen, and she was coerced into testifying against him, I'm pretty sure you could get the case before a judge. And I'm also pretty sure, it'd be on the next season of Law & Order.

does melky rape wendy?
Posted by luvtheEmcee 2008-02-03 18:18:00


Spoilers in this post...

(Although I don't know why you'd be reading it if you hadn't seen the show...)


It's kind of surprising to me that this thread has gone on for so long with so little mention of the fact that Wendla dies. It seems people, including yourself, are so in love with this show that they don't want to accept that it portrays anything negative, completely disregarding the fact that the negativity would actually make its message far more powerful. And, you know, that Wendla DIES.

Let me break this down for you.

Wendla dies. She dies BECAUSE SHE GETS PREGNANT. She gets pregnant because she has sex. Sex that she doesn't even understand. Sex that she has because Melchior coerced her into doing it, because he believes it's love, he wants to get off, whatever it is that Melchior believes. But really? He knew what he was doing, and his decision to get her to go through with this act, in essence, killed her. That's the tragedy of it all, really isn't it? That this young, innocent girl ends up dying because of what her mother never told her? For the sake of his d*ck. Do we forgive him? That may be reckless and careless and ultimately an accident -- I'm not saying he SET OUT to kill her, that would be absurd -- but his knowledge was much greater than hers. Certainly adult society is much to blame, that's the point of the play, but where, in the story of those two children, does the downfall begin? Look at the tragedy his carelessness wrought. All because she didn't know. You don't have to intend to hold power over someone to have it. Sometimes it just is.

And he's just as naive as she is? I completely disagree. He knows what he's doing. She does not. He knows more about sex than she does. Please don't turn this into a debate of semantics, because it's not. I don't care if he never heard the word rape. It's not important. This is not about being able to put a term to it; there's still an issue of consent whether or not he's been told, "rape is when you..." With as much as he knows about the consequences of sexual intercourse, he should not have been doing it without her consent. He willingly. put. her. at. risk. Perhaps his intentions were not malicious, as I've already said I believe to be true, but he still did it. He was reckless. He doesn't have to see it as sexual abuse to know that when you're going to do something like that, you don't do it unless both parties are willing, especially given that he's aware that she doesn't know the risks, and doesn't know what's going on.

Why do you think this is a show set in 19th century Germany, staged with modern rock music? This is not a show about 19th century German society. It was created to be applicable to this society, in favor of self-exploration and expression, in opposition to repression. To say "this is what happens when we repress our children." So I'm sorry, going on about how in today's society, he would know, but back then, he didn't, doesn't fit the bill. You are trying way, way too hard to make a hero out of him. Just like the writers of that show.

does melky rape wendy?
Posted by snl89 2008-02-03 18:33:19


*SPOILERS*


She dies BECAUSE SHE GETS PREGNANT.

ahh, THIS is where I have to disagree completely. She does NOT die because she gets pregnant. She dies because her MOTHER gets worried about what everyone will think when they find OUT that she's pregnant, so she physically forces her to have an abortion that gets botched, and from THAT she dies.

I'm sorry, it's just something I really have a problem with when people treat it as if it's Melchior's fault she died. It's NOT. Yes, he put her in the position that LEAD to her death, but she in no way died as a result of what HE did. She died as a result of what her MOTHER arranged. To blame that on Melchior isn't fair or right. Now if the story was such that she'd died during child birth, then that would be a fair argument. But she didn't die during child birth, and there's no reason to assume that she would have. She died from a botched abortion, and I can almost guarantee that Melchior as a character would not have ever agreed to or wanted her to get an abortion.

So if you're going to blame anyone for that, blame Wendla's mother who, though I'm sure she did love her, made a terrible, terrible mistake by putting her own self conciousness about what others would think over her thoughts of safety for her daughter's health. Melchior had NO SAY in how Wendla died.





Anyway, as for the rest of the debate, I really don't want to say anything more just because I feel like I'd just be repeating myself again, and you're completely entitled to your opinions, so I'm not going to try and keep convincing you otherwise :) I WILL say that I fully agree he was reckless, I wouldn't deny that. I just tend to disagree on the idea that "he should have known better". But again, everything I have to say in response to that, I've pretty much already said, so I'll just leave it and hope that we can agree to disagree! :)

does melky rape wendy?
Posted by Becky 2008-02-03 18:36:11


Emcee, I agree with just about all of your thoughts, except one small point: the idea that Melchior knew the risks and "put her at risk" for his own pleasure (or whatever the reason.....) I think that's giving a little too much credit to a hormonal teenager. Even if both of them had been fully aware of what could happen - kids in situations like that aren't usually weighing the risks of their actions at the moment. I'm not sure "putting her at risk" ever crossed his mind when he was caught up in the moment - but I agree with your point that he was more knowledgeable and had control and power - and that they tried to soften the act to make Melchior more likeable.

does melky rape wendy?
Posted by luvtheEmcee 2008-02-03 18:42:31


For the record, I was being at least a tiny bit facetious with my plot breakdown. I'm perfectly well aware that she dies because of a botched abortion, not literally because she gets pregnant. But she wouldn't have been having that abortion if she hadn't been knocked up, now would she? And yes, I'm also perfectly well aware that her mother arranged the abortion, but just think about the society they're living in. Where everything is repressed and children do not even know what sex IS, what mother is going to allow her 14 year old daughter to birth a child? Looking at it from the viewpoints of that time and place, it'd be like advertising how badly you screwed up in raising your kid. Of course she was going to arrange an abortion.

And that is all I am going to say about that.

Becky, I agree that teenaged reckless abandon is definitely a huge part of it. I'm sure he wasn't sitting there about to go for it thinking, "oh no, what if we conceive a baby and has to get an abortion and dies?!" -- because you're right, in the moment, being young, who thinks that? I was pretty much just making the point that he had a lot more knowledge of the act than she did, and, well, knowledge is power. He was aware of the consequences and the risks, and he went ahead with it anyway.

does melky rape wendy?
Posted by bandit964 2008-02-03 19:17:53


This is the script from the original play, Spring's Awakening.

Act II, Scene 4

(A hayloft. - MELCHIOR is lying on his back in the new-mown hay. WENDLA climbs the ladder.)

WENDLA: So this is where you've crept off to? -Everyone's looking for you. The wagon has gone out again. You must help. A thunderstorm is coming.

MELCHIOR: Keep away! -Keep away from me!

WENDLA: What's the matter with you? -Why are you hiding your face?

MELCHIOR: Get out of here! -Or I'll through you down on the threshing floor!

WENDLA: Now I'm certainly not going. [Kneels down beside him.] Why don't you come with us to the meadows, Melchior? -It's dark and stuffy in here. Even if we do get wet to the skin, what do we care!

MELCHIOR: The hay smells so wonderful. -The sky must be as black as a pall. -All I can see is the poppy gleaming at your breast-and I can hear your heart beating-

WENDLA: -Don't kiss me, Melchior! -Don't kiss me!

MELCHIOR: -Your heart-I hear it beating-

WENDLA: People love eachother-if they kiss - - - - - - don't, don't - - - - - -

MELCHIOR: There is no such thing as love! That's a fact. -It's all just selfishness and self-seeking. -I love you as little as you love me. -

WENDLA: -Don't - - - - - - Don't Melchior! - - - - - -

MELCHIOR: - - - - - - Wendla!

WENDLA: Oh, Melchior! - - - - -don't - - - - - - - - - - - -don't- - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -don't - - - - - - - - - - - -don't - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -

does melky rape wendy?
Posted by BigFatBlonde 2008-02-03 19:27:53


For a show that is supposedly "ground-breaking" seems to me the authors wimped out. Clearly Wedekind had more balls a hundred years ago then these schmucks have today.

does melky rape wendy?
Posted by East Village 2008-02-03 19:33:38


It's so much more riveting that the scene is ambiguous in the musical. It's the turning point of the show, it shouldn't turn on a conclusion. Sorry BFB, if LUV isn't going to concede that Melchior is as lost as Wendla, I'm never going to concede that that scene isn't the most profound moment in contemporary theater. Of course, I'll also never concede that my dog isn't perfect

does melky rape wendy?
Posted by BigFatBlonde 2008-02-03 19:36:32


East Village, your dog probably IS perfect. But I think the original is braver.


Posted by LePetiteFromage 2008-02-03 19:38:15


does melky rape wendy?
Posted by luvtheEmcee 2008-02-03 19:42:16


What are you even talking about? What does what I'm willing to concede about my interpretation of the show have to do with what you're willing to concede about yours? That's immature. I think Melchior is lost is in his own ways. Ways that are more visible in the play because of the masked man that was cut. He has knowledge of scientific human anatomy that gives him power over Wendla, which, in the context of sex, makes him far, far less naive than she is. So no, he is not AS lost as she is. But do I think he's not also suffering from the effects of the society he's in? Absolutely not. But I am certainly not denying that he is misguided. Why are you acting as though just because I've been presented with an opposing viewpoint, I should be expected to change what I think? I'm not changing my mind because I feel very strongly about what I saw. Not just to act like a child about it. At least my refusal to concede isn't simply for the sake of being a brat.

I happen to think that that scene, as a theatrical entity, is actually very riveting in the musical. I love the song "I Believe," and I think the staging on the suspended platform is remarkably effective. But, as far as what the action does for the plot, especially in light of the play, I don't think it's what it should be.

does melky rape wendy?
Posted by misschung 2008-02-03 19:45:08


Now if the story was such that she'd died during child birth, then that would be a fair argument.

Wait, wait. Why? She's pregnant either way - how is it more his fault if she dies during childbirth than dying during an abortion? She's pregnant either way - which is a direct result of his coercing her into having sex, right? I haven't even seen the show, but that argument makes very little sense to me.

does melky rape wendy?
Posted by sweetestsiren 2008-02-03 19:49:20


MELCHIOR: There is no such thing as love! That's a fact. -It's all just selfishness and self-seeking. -I love you as little as you love me. -

Why, oh why, couldn't the musical have explored THAT? Melchior's story is so much more interesting when he has that frame of mind.

I DO consider coercion (which I think is pretty much the same thing as statutory rape? I'm not positive on that, but I think so. Correct me if I'm wrong) just as bad as rape. WHEN the person doing the coercing is fully aware of the impact of what they are doing and purposely takes advantage of someone because they are young and naive.

Isn't this counter to your previous point that forced sex is only rape when the person feels violated? I guess it just concerns me that people will defend Melchior's actions by any means necessary because the musical tells us that Melchior and Wendla are in love. It's made clear that Melchior knows the gross mechanics of sex, at the very least, and he doesn't listen when Wendla tells him to stop -- there's blame to be laid there, any way you look at it. Even if she doesn't feel that bad about it after, even if she enjoyed it during, he coerced her into having sex with him and didn't respect her wishes when she told him no. And that, to me, is rape.

I'm not judging Melchior based on his frame of mind in the situation (I think it's possible to feel various ways about that), but on a completely situational level, I have a hard time seeing it as anything other than rape. Maybe he didn't fully understand the consequences and maybe he was "lost," and that can factor into how one judges him for it, but that doesn't change the thing itself.

does melky rape wendy?
Posted by snl89 2008-02-03 20:15:33


Now if the story was such that she'd died during child birth, then that would be a fair argument.

Wait, wait. Why? She's pregnant either way - how is it more his fault if she dies during childbirth than dying during an abortion? She's pregnant either way - which is a direct result of his coercing her into having sex, right? I haven't even seen the show, but that argument makes very little sense to me.


yeah, I kinda realized after I typed that that I probably didn't say it the right way haha. It really wouldn't be that different, but just like.. I guess it would feel more directly related to him if she'd died during child labor. Then it would be like what he did litterally killed her. Whereas, with it being the way it is, she does not die from what he did. But you're right, really it doesn't make a whole lot of difference, and I do aknowledge that I was a bit quick to type that and didn't really think it through.




Isn't this counter to your previous point that forced sex is only rape when the person feels violated? I guess it just concerns me that people will defend Melchior's actions by any means necessary because the musical tells us that Melchior and Wendla are in love. It's made clear that Melchior knows the gross mechanics of sex, at the very least, and he doesn't listen when Wendla tells him to stop -- there's blame to be laid there, any way you look at it. Even if she doesn't feel that bad about it after, even if she enjoyed it during, he coerced her into having sex with him and didn't respect her wishes when she told him no. And that, to me, is rape.


Well.. it's not really that counter to it because I said from the beginning that, even though I didn't really consider coercion rape, in today's society especially, it's just as bad. As has been mentioned, it's still a form of sexual abuse, I just classify it a little bit differently then rape because I DO still feel like an actual rape results in the victim feeling violeted (yes, date rape fits into that category because even though the person isn't aware of what's going on while it's happening, the emotional impact on them in the aftermath is still very great.) But again, that DOESN'T mean that coercion isn't very often just as bad.


And I still just... I feel like people underestimate Melchior's naivety in the situation just because he happens to understand the mechanics of sex. I just don't get how a person can be expected to know not to do something when they've never been introduced to the idea that what they're doing is wrong. Yeah, he should have stopped and thought it through before he did it, but that's a teenager for you. How do MOST teenage pregnancies happen in the first place? Because the teens having sex just don't stop and think about the consequences of their actions.

So actually, I guess that's the way I see it: Melchior was being AS irresponsible as any other teenager who engages in unprotected sex (whether it be back then or modern day). No more, no less. The fact that Wendla didn't know anything about it doesn't really make too much of a difference, if you think about it, because it all comes back to the fact that he just plain wasn't thinking about it. And I think it's unfair to call what he did rape, because he didn't know that there WAS such a thing. So his naivety on that issue doesn't exuse him from being an irresponsible teenager who didn't think his actions through, but it does, in my opinion, exuse him from being a rapist. So he DOES have some blame (pretty BIG blame) in the situation, but just not that harsh.

does melky rape wendy?
Posted by luvtheEmcee 2008-02-03 20:26:29


I feel like people underestimate Melchior's naivety in the situation

Well, I feel people will say just about anything to make excuses for him, because they don't want him to be the bad guy. Realize that pointing out the lack of consent doesn't make Melchior a criminal. But he's not a romantic hero, either.


Posted by LePetiteFromage 2008-02-03 20:30:48


does melky rape wendy?
Posted by East Village 2008-02-03 20:35:35


And you know how this would play out on Law & Order. [Insert name] of whatever broadway guest star would be defending Melchior. They'd open with "Wendla, did you ask the defendant to lift up your skirt, stare at your naked buttocks. And then proceed to demand he whip you with a stick? And didn't the defendant protest?"

I'm sorry LUV, perhaps I am being a little immature, but its a pretty difficult case.

does melky rape wendy?
Posted by luvtheEmcee 2008-02-03 20:35:56


Excuse the double post, but a few more things...

The fact that Wendla didn't know anything about it doesn't really make too much of a difference, if you think about it, because it all comes back to the fact that he just plain wasn't thinking about it.

The entire show HINGES on the way she's been sheltered. It's about the consequences of the societal repression of those children.

I just classify it a little bit differently then rape because I DO still feel like an actual rape results in the victim feeling violeted

Honey. She. said. no. Whether he convinced her it was okay or not, she still. said. no. "No" is non-consent. Non-consent is still violation. Even if she gives in and ends up enjoying what he's doing to her body, it is still an act of violation. It seems like you're reluctant to use the word rape because that would automatically incriminate him, in your mind. But it wouldn't, as I've already addressed; you're using a specifically contextual definition of rape, not rape as non-consensual sex, period. Could you classify it as not being as awful as the classic modern-day criminal rape with a scary guy popping out of a dark alley corner? Yes. But she still. said. no.

And I think it's unfair to call what he did rape, because he didn't know that there WAS such a thing.

Melchior knows what sex is. He knows what the risks and consequences of sex can be. If he knows that, then shouldn't it click for him that you shouldn't do something like that without consent? I'm sorry, but this isn't about "well, nobody sat him down and spelled out 'you need to have consent in order to have sex.'" Maybe, maybe, he truly thought that what he was doing, coercing her, trying to make her feel better about it, was actually okay. But does that MAKE it okay? Just because it was by his (very skewed) standards? Absolutely not. So stop making excuses for him.

Just... wow. This is actually rather frightening.

And East Village -- a difficult case? What differences does it make to you whether I change my mind? What, are you on some sort of mission where you get Spring Awakening points for every convert you win over?

does melky rape wendy?
Posted by snl89 2008-02-03 20:37:58


Well, I feel people will say just about anything to make excuses for him, because they don't want him to be the bad guy. Realize that pointing out the lack of consent doesn't make Melchior a criminal. But he's not a romantic hero, either.

I don't believe he's a romantic hero, but I DON'T think he's the bad guy either. So I'm not making exuses for him, because I'm not saying he did absolutely nothing wrong. I just think it's only fair, if we're going to bare in mind Wendla's naivety in the situation (which you can't really deny), to grant Melchior the same courtesy. :)



Melchior knows what sex is. He knows what the risks and consequences of sex can be. If he knows that, then shouldn't it click for him that you shouldn't do something like that without consent?

and THAT is precisely where I feel like people make the mistake of underestimating his naivety. Think about it: he has ONLY ever read about sex in books. He knows the legistics of how you do it, and what body parts are involved. That's about it. HOW would he ever know to think "oh, I should probably make sure she is okay with this before I do it?" That's something that's been pounded into OUR heads in our modern society, so it's very difficult to get beyond it. But if you really think about it, no, it WOULDN'T just click. At least, not in my opinion. It's only that obvious to us because we've been raised to think that way. We have been raised knowing that sex is simply something you do NOT do unless you have the other person's permission. But if you've only ever read about it in books- if you only know that one body part goes into another, body fluids are exchanged, and that is that- why would you think it's something that requires the other person's consent? Yeah, he knows she could get pregnant- again, that's where the irresponsibility comes in. But that's just a matter of that he's not thinking about it. But his irresponsibility does not make him a rapist I don't feel.

does melky rape wendy?
Posted by luvtheEmcee 2008-02-03 20:43:17


Wendla's naivete is much more extreme, much more of a cause, and much more of a problem in this particular situation. She is ultimately a victim of that naivete. We can't exactly say the same for Melchior, I'm afraid. Her naivete ALLOWS Melchior to assert power over her. Tell me, exactly what is it that he does not understand? It's been made pretty clear what Wendla doesn't get, and you keep repeating that Melchior is also naive, but you've yet to explain why. Just because he's young? This I can't wait to hear...

Why do we have to grant him a courtesy? Are all characters created to be liked and be sympathetic? How interesting would THAT kind of theater be?

does melky rape wendy?
Posted by snl89 2008-02-03 20:49:40


It's been made pretty clear what Wendla doesn't get, and you keep repeating that Melchior is also naive, but you've yet to explain why. Just because he's young? This I can't wait to hear...

Sorry, I think I've mentioned it many times, but probably didn't make it too clear in actually explaining it: his naivety is not just that he is young. It's that, as much as Wendla doesn't know sex, Melchior doesn't know rape. Rape is not an act, or an idea, that he has EVER heard of. And I'm not just talking about the actual term: I'm talking about the act of it. The idea that having sex without the other person's permission is not okay. So if he doesn't understand this concept, how can he be expected to know to stop? He's never KNOWN the concept of "no means no", and to ignore that fact isn't quite fair to me.

Again, it's irresponsible of him not to stop and think "hey, I know that doing this could cause her to become pregnant, which wouldn't be good. Therefore I shouldn't do it", but beyond that? How can he be expected to think of it any deeper than that? That would be like expecting Wendla to somehow know that having sex will lead to results she doesn't want.

does melky rape wendy?
Posted by CATSNYrevival 2008-02-03 20:50:28


I agree with everything you said Emcee except for the fact that the way the musical is staged Wedela seems to give in twords the end and allow him to have her, even though she doesn't really understand, which in my mind does not leave Melchior entirly to blame.


Posted by LePetiteFromage 2008-02-03 20:53:33


does melky rape wendy?
Posted by luvtheEmcee 2008-02-03 20:54:32


Apparently you edited your post to include the answer. Nevermind.

You're still seeing "rapist" as the modern-day criminal who seeks to do this to women on some sort of serial basis. And no, Melchior is not that kind of rapist. He's not an attacker. Admitting that what he did was wrong doesn't automatically incriminate him. I know Melchior is adorable and hot and dreamy and we all love Melchior, but that does not make him innocent, either.

How is he supposed to know consent is probably a good thing to have? If he understands the logistics of the act, then he's likely going to understand the magnitude of it. She could get pregnant, for God's sake. You don't think it would dawn on him -- at least at SOME point, not necessarily as he's sitting there about to f*ck her -- that he should probably check and see if she's cool with this? He may be reckless, but he's not stupid.

Anyway, I can certainly see how you could categorize that as his own naivete. I actually pointed that out earlier. However, I don't think that excuses what he did. Non-consensual sex is still wrong. Nor do I think these are two equivalent forms of naivete, or that we should look at the two characters equally. If we go with your idea, then Wendla is actually a victim of both his AND her own naivete, is she not?

This is mind-numbing.

does melky rape wendy?
Posted by luvtheEmcee 2008-02-03 20:57:00


I agree with everything you said Emcee except for the fact that the way the musical is staged Wedela seems to give in twords the end and allow him to have her, even though she doesn't really understand, which in my mind does not leave Melchior entirly to blame.

I don't think he's entirely to blame. Sorry if I implied that. Just mostly. I think, with her, it's quite simply a situation where... your mind says no and then your body says yes and eventually, your mind is powerless to do anything but follow. She likes how it feels, so she figures, why not? And once she stops resisting him, yes, she is also at fault for what happens to her.

does melky rape wendy?
Posted by snl89 2008-02-03 21:03:22


If we go with your idea, then Wendla is actually a victim of both his AND her own naivete, is she not?

Sure, I'd say that's a very fair assesment to make. I never said Wendla wasn't a victim here. She certainly is.


I know Melchior is adorable and hot and dreamy and we all love Melchior, but that does not make him innocent, either.

you make it sound like I'm saying "nooooo he did absolutely nothing wrong, he's as innocent as Wendla because he's adorable and dreamy!" :) NEVER said that, and I never would. Let's just put it this way: you don't think that he's completely to blame, just mostly, right? Well I don't think he's completely to blame, just some. He was wrong to be irresponsible and hasty. He made that mistake and Wendla was the victim of it. But I guess in my mind, when I hear "rape", I automatically think of things like what Martha's father does to her. And THAT, I feel, is SO SO much worse than what Melchior did to Wendla.



does melky rape wendy?
Posted by insertclevernamehere 2008-02-03 21:09:30


Snl89, even if the concept of rape is unknown to Melchior, Wendla said stop. She said no. Those words were not unknown in 1900 Germany.

does melky rape wendy?
Posted by luvtheEmcee 2008-02-03 21:09:44


You really need to spend a minute looking up the meaning of "facetious."

No means no. Rape is non-consenual. Not limited to one KIND of non-consensual sex.

ETA: Yes, exactly, insertclevernamehere. I'm sure he learned the basic etiquette of what someone telling you "NO" or "stop" means. In whatever context.

I'm done with this discussion.

does melky rape wendy?
Posted by snl89 2008-02-03 22:02:51


Ok, last response, and then I promise I'm done with this convo as well haha


Snl89, even if the concept of rape is unknown to Melchior, Wendla said stop. She said no. Those words were not unknown in 1900 Germany.

Yes, of course he should no that when someone asks you to stop something, you stop. This is why, when she did ask him to stop, he didn't just keep going and ignore her. He responded to her. He told her not to be scared, and that it was just him. And, most importantly, he didn't actually do anything more than kiss her until she agreed to it. Yes, he pushed her into it, and yes, it wasn't great of him to do that. But I'm just saying that that's the difference between what he would have known back then and the way we grow up in today's society. To him, when she says no, he doesn't realize it's wrong to try and persuade her farther. The way I see it is if you compare it to any teenager trying to convince their parents that they want something. If a kid in high school walks around all the time pestering their parents for a car, we don't really view at WRONG, do we? annoying maybe, but nothing bad. Now we've been taught that when someone says no, you respect that, but that doesn't mean that we can't get caught up in selfishness and push things like that, right? Well, to Melchior, THAT is what sex is. It's simply a thing. A thing that he has read about in books and wants very badly, which is all the more perpetuated by the fact that he knows he's not supposed to have it. So yes, he becomes pushy in the SAME way that a teenager today would become pushy about wanting a car or something else like that. And that sounds so wierd to US because WE have grown up in a society where we have been taught from day 1 that sex is a very intimate, emotional act that is not to be taken lightly and not to be undetaken without the FULL consent of both parties. But to him, his learned politeness causes him not to ignore her when she asks him to stop, but it doesn't stop him from pushing it until she gives in, just like any teenager might do with any other thing they might want very badly.



AGAIN: not trying to say that he's totally innocent. I'm just defending where he's coming from a bit because I DO think there are very valid points to it and people tend to see those valid points in Wendla's case but not so much in Melchior's.

does melky rape wendy?
Posted by orangeskittles 2008-02-04 15:55:33


snl, people like you are the reason so many rapists get away with their crimes. Your comments on this topic aren't just wrong, they're seriously disturbing.


I'm very, very willing to bet none of the books he read ever delved into the idea of sex, if it is not wanted, being a painful and scarring experience.

What, when you see Spring Awakening for the 30th time, do they give you a special reading list of Melchoir's personal library? You continue to claim he didn't know rape existed, but there have been books delving into rape since Ancient Greek mythology and the women killed themselves after being raped by gods. Since he is very clearly portrayed as well-read in the play and the musical, of course he would have come across the concept and the consequences of rape.

You're just making things up to support your argument and hope no one will notice your repeated "guarantees" are biased, narrow-minded assumptions and not provable facts.

does melky rape wendy?
Posted by SporkGoddess 2008-02-04 16:05:53


I don't know who said it, but I'm most disturbed by the remark that once Wendla stopped resisting him, it was her own fault.

does melky rape wendy?
Posted by snl89 2008-02-04 16:25:17


wow, I'm sorry, I'm not even quite sure where to begin in responding to that. First off, I'd just like to reiterate for the gazzilionth time that I am NOT condoning rape in the least. I never, NEVER would. And I am obviously not the only one who doesn't feel that what Melchior does is truly rape, or else we wouldn't be debating it. So to imply that somehow my opinions on this issue condone rape is very offensive to me. This is a case where the situation is not that clear cut, and so people are going to have differing opinions on it. Just because someone's opinion does not match yours, that doesn't mean it's "seriously disturbing". I hope that I have not come off as though I'm bashing other peoples' beliefs that it is rape (if I have, please, by all means, let me know, because I didn't mean to), and all I request is the same courtesy back.

Secondly, maybe you're right. Maybe I'm WAY off base here. But I still tend to lean toward the idea that Melchior probably does not know the idea of rape. And I guess I was admittedly a little bit strong in my wording on the issue. There might have been mention of rape in books back then. The books in which he read about sex might have touched on it. But I do not think I was entirely wrong to guess, based on what we know of the society in which he grew up, that he might not have read about it. I'm not making it up for the heck of it; I just don't think that it seems that realistic that the books he read would discuss rape. And if they did, then I do have a weaker basis for my argument and I fully aknowledge that. I don't think it would be entirely dimminished, as it's still painfully obvious that their society did NOT have the same "no means no" standards we have today, but yes, it would be quite a bit weaker.

But just like I don't have clear cut evidence that he hasn't learned about rape, you also have no clear cut evidence that he has, and yet you too say "of course he would have come across the concept and the consequences of rape". The argument doesn't just go one way- if you're going to say things like that, I should be able to also without getting bashed for it

does melky rape wendy?
Posted by bwaygal1 2008-02-04 16:30:24


She said no. End of story. She may believe she 'let him love her' but from the moment she said no, it became rape.

does melky rape wendy?
Posted by Jonny boy 2008-02-04 16:32:48


It wasn't rape in the slightest!

does melky rape wendy?
Posted by george95 2008-02-04 16:37:40


SNL89, I do not know how you deal with all these people and their rude postings to you......Seriously is there a rule on BWW that if if you disagree with somebody, you have to be insulting when you criticize their argument? But wow good job to you SNL89 for not stooping down and getting rude back.....I dont think I could have kept my cool that well.

does melky rape wendy?
Posted by luvtheEmcee 2008-02-04 16:40:52


I am NOT condoning rape in the least.

Oh, but honey, you ARE. You're going on and on with excuses for Melchior and about how we owe Melchior some sort of courtesy. She said no. She did not give consent. He did. it. any.way. Non-consensual sex. Form. of. rape. And you are making excuses for it. You may not be condoning the modern criminalized "version" of rape, and no, you're not saying it's okay for a man to rape a woman as you see rape, but that's only because you refuse to expand your narrow-minded definition. You are finding all sorts of reasons why what this character engaged in is not so bad.

Why don't you spend a little less time repeating yourself and a little bit more time getting the idea of non-consent through your pretty little head?

And I am obviously not the only one who doesn't feel that what Melchior does is truly rape, or else we wouldn't be debating it

And this is why I have said over and over again that this is due to problems with the writing.

don't think it would be entirely dimminished, as it's still painfully obvious that their society did NOT have the same "no means no" standards we have today, but yes, it would be quite a bit weaker.

How do you know that? How is that "painfully obvious?" How do you know he didn't just ignore what he was taught because he had a hard-on? Going on about lack of evidence and then saying stuff like that is pretty hypocritical.

But just like I don't have clear cut evidence that he hasn't learned about rape, you also have no clear cut evidence that he has, and yet you too say "of course he would have come across the concept and the consequences of rape".

At least orangeskittles had some historical background to support what she's saying. You're just making things up based on how you feel about the characters.

does melky rape wendy?
Posted by Jonny boy 2008-02-04 16:41:28


You get use to it here george95

does melky rape wendy?
Posted by SporkGoddess 2008-02-04 16:48:55


The Rape of Lucretia, anyone? If he's studying the classics, he'd know it.

does melky rape wendy?
Posted by george95 2008-02-04 16:50:04


well I'm an academic so its challenging for me to deal with people who are so condescending and seemingly anti-intellectual. Could you imagine having an argument in a university classroom and saying this like "well honey" and "why dont you get it through your pretty little head"
I know this is just a message board and we joke around a lot, but this thread could be a real actual discussion if it werent for the mean-spiritedness.

Wow.

does melky rape wendy?
Posted by Jonny boy 2008-02-04 16:56:40


I totally feel you..... I was put off at first also.

does melky rape wendy?
Posted by SporkGoddess 2008-02-04 17:06:05


It's a sensitive subject, though. Some people get very easily miffed when it comes to this sort of issue.

does melky rape wendy?
Posted by East Village 2008-02-04 17:07:59


I know a lot of folks' read is that she gives in when she places Melchior's hand on her breast. But she also said "no" -- so guys you have to stop looking for wiggle room. Once the no word is said you're in rape territory -- no matter what happens afterwards.

Now I don't see any indication that Wendla is going to turn around and make that charge -- but if she did, you'd have a very confused Melchior being accused of just that.

does melky rape wendy?
Posted by luvtheEmcee 2008-02-04 17:15:29


Yeah, exactly. It's easy to get heated about a topic like this. It's frustrating to be reading things that are as disturbing as some of us are finding things in this thread. I'm surprised by the idea that emotionality bleeding into your arguments somehow makes you not an academic or an intellectual. I'm "an academic" too, and I think part of what makes academia worth the while is passion. For example, I'm writing my undergrad thesis right now, and I've never been more passionate about anything in my entire life. That makes it no less real or legitimate. I hate the idea that the academic world is stale and boring. So the assumption that academic ideas can't coexist with emotionality is very, very odd to me. I won't try to argue that mean comments are the best way to communicate, but you can absolutely have an "actual" discussion with real, legitimate ideas even if it's a heated one. Thankfully, this is not a university classroom, and I can still be an intelligent, academically-bent individual without being expected to behave like I'm in one. I spend enough time in libraries and university classrooms.

does melky rape wendy?
Posted by SporkGoddess 2008-02-04 17:20:37


My academic focus actually sort of includes this area (sexual abuse), so.

does melky rape wendy?
Posted by george95 2008-02-04 17:23:32


Of course you can have a heated argument that's still very much intellectual and academic in the traditional sense. And of course you can be emotional about it, especially with something thats as shockingly emotional as rape.
But luvthemcee, I'm disappointed that it seems like you got the idea that I suggested that academic discourse must be stale and boring. Nothing is further from the truth, especially when it comes to a shockingly emotionaly topic like rape. (Today in my religion class, we discussed abortion politics! wow! talk about emotions!)
And I dont think there's anything wrong with acting like we're in a university classroom when we're talkin about something like rape. I think its appropriate.

does melky rape wendy?
Posted by orangeskittles 2008-02-04 17:29:01


But just like I don't have clear cut evidence that he hasn't learned about rape, you also have no clear cut evidence that he has, and yet you too say "of course he would have come across the concept and the consequences of rape". The argument doesn't just go one way- if you're going to say things like that, I should be able to also without getting bashed for it

Any well-read person in his time period would have been reading the Greek and Roman classics- the Rape of Lucretia, Rape of the Sabine Women, rape of Leda in The Illiad. There's even the rape of Tamar in the Bible. It is a fact that these characters have read the Bible; you can't dispute that, so that already disproves your argument that no one could have known about rape in Victorian-era Germany when it's shown in the best selling book of all time. That's more logical, provable evidence than any of your repeated guarantees that Melchior doesn't know rape exists. So yes, you deserve to be "bashed" for it, because you've given NO evidence to back up your argument and are basing it entirely on your personal feelings and affections for the character instead of facts.

Come up with something, ANYTHING as proof of your "feelings", and maybe you'll be able to convince people that you have some sort of intellectual basis for your views and it's not just that you think Jonathan Groff is too cute to rape anyone.

does melky rape wendy?
Posted by East Village 2008-02-04 17:36:31


I think SNL is essentially right. Melchior has no idea what he's doing or that he's committing rape. Half the guys on this board don't think so either.

As for having affection for that character, you're suppose to. He's a sympathetic and tragic character.

does melky rape wendy?
Posted by orangeskittles 2008-02-04 17:39:12


Then half the guys on this board need counseling.

I didn't say you can't have affection for the character, but your affection shouldn't cloud reality and prevent you from admitting to his obvious faults.

does melky rape wendy?
Posted by SporkGoddess 2008-02-04 17:42:17


A lot of guys think that sort of situation is okay. Doesn't make it okay.

does melky rape wendy?
Posted by snl89 2008-02-04 17:48:28


orangeskittles, just for the record, you HAVE read my many, MANY posts saying that I am NOT just saying "no, he's totally innocent, he did nothing wrong!!", right?

In fact, I'm essentially AGREEING that he was irresponsible and didn't think his actions through, and that Wendla WAS a victim of his irresponsibility. He made a huge mistake. I just don't consider it RAPE. And I feel like to consider it rape actually undermines TRUE rapists, like Martha's father for instance. Because I can sympathize with Melchior (and no, it's NOT because he's "sooo cute and dreamy". It's because it was WRITTEN so that you sympathize with him, as a CHARACTER), but I can NOT sympathize with someone like Martha's father. So to put them in the same catagory doesn't feel right to me.

That is ALL I am saying.

does melky rape wendy?
Posted by misschung 2008-02-04 17:56:56


As for having affection for that character, you're suppose to. He's a sympathetic and tragic character.

Just like Lester Burnham in American Beauty. *Shudder*

does melky rape wendy?
Posted by orangeskittles 2008-02-04 17:59:06


Exactly, snl. That's all you're saying because you KNOW there's no evidence to prove Melchior doesn't know about rape as you've repeatedly claimed and don't want to admit you have nothing to back up your argument. "Case closed."

does melky rape wendy?
Posted by Taryn 2008-02-04 18:24:12


I think the difficulty is that rape is an incredibly broad term. The fact of the matter is that violent, incestuous rape, while one of the most awful types, is NOT the only type. That doesn't mean that, just because one form of rape ended up less emotionally damaging to the victim, it's not rape. I understand SNL when she says she doesn't want to put Melchior and Martha's father in the same category; they're clearly entirely different cases. But to say that Melchior does not rape Wendla is, in my opinion, damaging to the cases of women who have gone through similar situations of saying no, being pushed, and eventually giving in. The differences between these cases and ones like Martha's (of violent, forced incest) obviously exist, but the similarity is that they have all been raped. You can be raped when a good part of you WANTS to have sex. Just because someone feels the urge and attraction and hormones doesn't mean they still can't say no for whatever reason. And just because they get physical enjoyment doesn't mean it wasn't rape.

And I think that the classics cited by others in this discussion have made it clear that rape would definitely be a topic known to Melchior.

does melky rape wendy?
Posted by Craww 2008-02-04 18:29:48


-it's still painfully obvious that their society did NOT have the same "no means no" standards we have today-
-How do you know that? How is that "painfully obvious?"-


I agree that what Melchior does is rape, but I disagree with this point. It seems like willful ignorance to purport that society to have had a healthy, feminist, enlightened view on the subject of rape. I mean, it is painfully obvious there wouldn't be a No Means No standard at that time, because No Means No (as a rally cry, as something a society would teach their young women and young men alike) places the blame on the perpetrator. While rape would certainly never be something encouraged of a young man, the shame and the blame would most likely fall on the woman. And forget about the idea of a man raping his wife. There's no way the society portrayed in Spring Awakening would consider that as anything but a man's right and duty.

I don't agree with SNL, and I see why people can find some of the defenses somewhat startling. But I think the discussion is definitely devolving when a respectful poster is being shamed and condescended to because they've taken up the controversial defense. If you can admit that there is a flaw in the writing, it doesn't seem fair to say so and in the same post belittle someone for interpreting something the way it was intended to be interpreted.

The elevation of Melchior as the hero of the piece after all of his manipulation and selfishness is such an uncomfortable, irresponsible, and maddening thing to have to watch play out. But I think the supposed danger and villainy of actually viewing him as a defensible protagonist is being a bit overstated.

does melky rape wendy?
Posted by East Village 2008-02-04 20:26:20


But there is no accusation of rape being made. Critically its still a valid discussion, but legally, there's no case without an accuser. I know some of you want to see "Degrassi Justice" but who knows what Wendla's response would be if Melchior was able to reach her in time. I don't find the writing to be flawed in this situation. Written and staged the way it is, begs for it to be examined.

does melky rape wendy?
Posted by bsherms 2008-02-04 20:50:40


Everyone should understand that the musical is NOT Wedekinde's play, nor is it ever supposed to be. It's Sater and Sheik's INTERPRETATION of Wedekind's play. Sater and Sheik view the story (and they have repeatedly said the following) as a parable NOT on the dangers of sexuality, but on the dangers of miscommunication between the knowledgeable and the unknowledgeable. Wedekind's play is a very wonderful piece, but it is not and never should it be comparable to Spring Awakening; that's like comparing the POTO novel with the POTO musical--they are two completely different entities with two completely different messages, and some of the characters have complete face-lifts. Some aren't even there at all.

In defining Melchior's "rape" of Wendla, in the musical's case, you have to look at it in the musical's context. Based on the libretto OF THE MUSICAL, Melchior is a relatively naive boy. He finds things out by reading books, yes, but that by no means translates into his actually understanding those things in their entirety. Hell, the kid giggles when Moritz asks specific questions about everything "fitting". He draws pictures and uses medical terminology to describe sex to Moritz, and, when asked about the girl's experience, he replies: "I just put myself in her shoes and imagine." Which is evidence to the fact that he does not in fact really know what the girl experiences.

The actual sex scene is, by definition, not rape. When Wendla says no, Melchior STOPS what he is doing BOTH TIMES. It is WENDLA who reinitiates it both times--the first by kissing him, the second by placing his hand on her breast. In the context of the musical, then, it cannot be defined as rape. Thus, in the context of the musical, rape is not romanticized, as it does not exist in the first place.

The musical's message is the consequences of miscommunication. The play's message is the consequences and dangers of sexuality. Two completely different messages, two completely different scenes.

does melky rape wendy?
Posted by george95 2008-02-04 21:57:42


So bsherms, you say its not rape because Melchior stops both times that Wendla tells him to and that she intiates the sex both times.
But eastvillage wrote earlier that "Once the no word is said you're in rape territory -- no matter what happens afterwards"

So which one of is right?
And is this a case of putting 21st century ethics on 19th century characters?

does melky rape wendy?
Posted by luvtheEmcee 2008-02-04 23:20:43


I'm disappointed that it seems like you got the idea that I suggested that academic discourse must be stale and boring. Nothing is further from the truth, especially when it comes to a shockingly emotionaly topic like rape.

This:

"this thread could be a real actual discussion if it werent for the mean-spiritedness."

seemed to indicate that this could only be a "real" discussion if not for the heated nature. But I'm glad you don't actually think academics can't be emotional, because that'd be very sad.

I think the show does ask you to have affection for Melchior. There's a lot that's likable about him, especially in the way he's set up. He's smart, he's popular, he's cute, he seems like a caring enough guy. But good theatrical characters are built to be like real people. They aren't clean-cut good and bad. So to say imply that we're supposed to feel pity for Melchior as some sort of "courtesy" just because part of his character is sympathetic, is something I have a bit of trouble with. I do agree that he's a tragic character, largely because of his mistakes, but again, that doesn't mean we can't point fingers at him. I understand liking a character. I really do. But liking or having affection for a character shouldn't stop you from being able to look at his or her actions critically, and at the end of the day, as a device within the drama. It shouldn't make you look at that person in clear-cut, black and white terms of good and bad.

does melky rape wendy?
Posted by Craww 2008-02-04 23:56:44


They should have just let the reform school boys carry through on their Melchior gangbang. Then he'd no longer have to just put himself in her place, and imagine.

does melky rape wendy?
Posted by george95 2008-02-05 00:22:42


oh man that reform school scene was so awkward to explain to the juniors I brought to the show last month....I used as many euphemisms as I could.

does melky rape wendy?
Posted by bsherms 2008-02-05 18:38:55


"So bsherms, you say its not rape because Melchior stops both times that Wendla tells him to and that she intiates the sex both times.
But eastvillage wrote earlier that "Once the no word is said you're in rape territory -- no matter what happens afterwards"
So which one of is right? "

I disagree, personally, with eastvillage. Honestly, if the victim initiaites the sex, then they are not a victim.

does melky rape wendy?
Posted by Craww 2008-02-05 18:56:46


Just by consenting to let him continue touching and kissing her, she didn't initiate the sex. She couldn't, because we're supposed to believe that she literally has no idea what sexual intercourse entails.

She didn't know what the act was, let alone the consequences. There's basically nothing it could be but a form of rape.

does melky rape wendy?
Posted by snl89 2008-02-05 19:35:57


So... just a thought, or question rather.

In 1800s German society, when was it that people WOULD learn about sex, anyway? Obviously after marriage and everything, but it's just.. Wendla's mother was SO uncomfortable talking to her about it. It would have had to have been explained to her at SOME point anyway, wouldn't it have? Because obviously if two people grow up knowing nothing of sex, it's not like they're going to get married and then suddenly know about sex haha.

But I was kind of just thinking of that, because if it were the kind of deal where they got married and then only the MAN was told about sex and everything so that he could initiate it(which I have no clue if it was or not, but it seems more or less plausable for that society), then even after marriage, by the standards just stated (that any time a person does not know what sex is and therefor cannot truly consent, it is rape), most sex back then would have technically been rape. Although I guess if he had been told and then he explained it to his wife or whatever before hand. But still, it's confusing! lol


sorry, that's getting kind of off topic, and very rambly, but I was just thinking about it haha

does melky rape wendy?
Posted by bsherms 2008-02-06 18:45:08


"Just by consenting to let him continue touching and kissing her, she didn't initiate the sex. "

True, just consenting is not initiating. However, as I've said multiple times, in the musical Melchior stops both times she says no. The first time, Wendla says no as he's trying to kiss her. Melchior stops, and Wendla ends up kissing him to continue what they are doing. The second time she says no and he stops, taking his hand off her chest. She proceeds to place it back onto her chest.

If that's not re-initiation, I don't know what is.

As well, there are no signs at all during the rest of the play that she was scarred, physically or mentally, in any way. She never regrets what she has done with Melchior--in fact, she often says how she wants to spend more time with him. Right after the sex scene, Melchior and Wendla are kissing, and Wendla sings how it was "sweet and unknown". How can it be a rape if the "victim" does not consider herself as one?

does melky rape wendy?
Posted by orangeskittles 2008-02-06 19:24:38


She doesn't re-initiate sex because that is not an invitation for sex. "Touch my boob" does not mean "Put your penis in me." It means "Touch my boob and maybe some point in the future, I'll let you put your penis in me." That's like claiming "She kissed him back" means it's not rape. Permission for one act is not permission for everything.

does melky rape wendy?
Posted by bsherms 2008-02-06 21:37:21


And yet those are the only two times she says no in the musical. And, as I already mentioned, she does not seem to regret the act. So, once again, I ask: how is she a rape victim if she does not feel victimized in any way?

does melky rape wendy?
Posted by orangeskittles 2008-02-06 21:52:00


This was already addressed earlier in the thread by a point sweetestsirent made. I suggest you go reread that discussion.

does melky rape wendy?
Posted by Taryn 2008-02-07 02:06:15


"So, once again, I ask: how is she a rape victim if she does not feel victimized in any way?"

How do you have consensual sex with someone who doesn't know what sex is?

does melky rape wendy?
Posted by bsherms 2008-02-07 18:16:01


So, because she does not realize the full extent to what she is consenting to, that makes it rape? I see where you are coming from, but even if it is rape by definition (which I disagree about), the fact that Wendla is not emotionally scarred defies that. Rape is something the victim feels victimized about. Even when Wendla learns about what sex leads to, she still does not regret having it with Melchior. Wendla does not consider herself a victim. Wendla considers it consensual. Even if you do not think it was, Wendla very obviously, throughout the musical, gives evidence that she does not think it was rape, and she does not consider herself a victim.

So how is it rape if there is no victim?

does melky rape wendy?
Posted by sally1112 2008-02-07 18:19:53


Do you think he'll rape anyone in Hair?

does melky rape wendy?
Posted by insertclevernamehere 2008-02-08 02:39:52


Dunkin Sheik wrote in the preface of the book of the play, "In Wedekind's script, Melchior 'date rapes' Wendla. We wanted him to make love to her...he helps Wendla discover her sexual awakening." And even better, in the preface to the acual play, Jonathan Franzen rips Spring Awakening a new one, and says, amoung other things, "The casual rape of Wendla Bergmann by the play's central character, Melchior Gabor, becomes a thunderous spectacle of ecstasy and consent."

does melky rape wendy?
Posted by Craww 2008-02-08 03:07:08


So how is it rape if there is no victim?

If admitted shame, sadness, regret, or suffering from the victim was required to classify it 'rape', there wouldn't be any such thing as 'statutory rape'. A 13 year old who concedes to sex with a 19 year old is being raped, even if she enjoys it and feels confident in the rightness of it. Probably thinking to herself "I let him love me".

But, usually, it will have a negative impact on a girl to be sexualized that young. Especially by an adult man, self aware and controlling the situation. Whether she feels it, whether she admits it, it will probably manifest. For Wendla, it manifested in her pregnancy and subsequent death. Thus, making her a victim of an act that she didn't understand.

does melky rape wendy?
Posted by bsherms 2008-02-13 13:01:39


Okay, I see where you're coming from, Craww, and it makes sense. However, I still disagree strongly. In my mind, you're putting words in Wendla's mouth. To others, she is victimized. But Wendla never gives even a hint that she regrets or is suffering from the sex she had with Melchior in any way. You can view her death as a result of your perceived "rape", if you want, but you can also view her death as the sad result of a fearful and restricted society.
And on a slightly related note: why is it that Romeo (who is sixteen or seventeen) is not attacked for having sex with Juliet (who is thirteen), while Melchior, who is the same age as Wendla, is? Is it because Melchior's was pre-marital? Even if this is so, Melchior intimates in his letters to Wendla that he plans on spending the rest of his life with her--before he finds out she's pregnant.

(P.S., I love your icon)

does melky rape wendy?
Posted by orangeskittles 2008-02-13 21:06:38


You missed the point of Craww's comparison to statutory rape. And Shakespeare never implies Juliet does not know what sex is. Spring Awakening makes a point that Wendla did not. Your comparison isn't valid.

does melky rape wendy?
Posted by Carolyn91 2010-05-12 21:04:28


I would disagree that the writers of this adaptation were cowardly. Unfortunately, to get the message (which is a good one) out to the masses, they had to commercialize. Whether I agree or disagree with the choice is irrelevant but these "radical" ideas were brought to a mainstream audience with rock and roll and a bit of commercializing. As long as people walk away with the essential message, maybe even find Wedekind's original and read that, I'm happy.

does melky rape wendy?
Posted by luvtheEmcee 2010-05-12 21:12:56


omg. Why is this thread back?!

does melky rape wendy?
Posted by LizzieCurry 2010-05-12 22:08:26


I don't know. But I do want to say that if anyone had seen it in Sydney, it was more like the other way around...

does melky rape wendy?
Posted by dramamama611 2010-05-13 05:46:54


Oh, come on.....who doesn't like to rehash a thread from two years ago. What fun. I'm sure we can learn something new and exciting.


Thud.

does melky rape wendy?
Posted by qolbinau 2010-05-13 06:45:52


" don't know. But I do want to say that if anyone had seen it in Sydney, it was more like the other way around.."


lulz. I'd like to see Andrew Hazzard the other way around!!

does melky rape wendy?
Posted by RENT's_Awakening 2012-11-11 05:37:42


This thread came to mind today when I read this review of Temple University's recent double cast production of SA, in which I was a member of the Orange Cast.

"The Blue Cast seemed to be playing the young love and naïve take on the show, something that is hard to do with Spring Awakening as the main theme seems to be “no innocence.” The young man playing Melchior, decided to create and earnest and sincere character, a choice that is not usually made for the role; this combined with Wendla being portrayed as a more receptive than resistant, allowed the play to be more sympathetic and heart-wrenching than previous productions I had seen of the show.
The Orange Cast, on the other hand was the opposite. The young Man playing Melchior seemed to shy away from truly believing what he was saying and came across as arrogant and overbearing. The young woman playing Wendla made a smart choice by shying away from Melchior more in this production, and, while it made sense, in doing this production took on a darker tone which alienated the audience at points. It may well be that was the cast’s intent, but it may not have been the most successful tactic in engaging the audience as many, myself included, left that production feeling like they had all borne witness to an actual sexual assault."

...this rather infuriated me. I feel like the author seems to have missed the entire point of the original story, which was never, EVER intended to be a beautiful love story along the lines of Romeo and Juliet. In the minds of me and my Wendla, Melchior pushes himself on Wendla and only after the act do the begin to rationalize it, retcon the event as it were, until Wendla believes it was love and Melchior believes they can build a world together, although truthfully they still barely knew each other.

I find it disturbing also that this scene always overshadows the scene where Melchior unleashes on her with a switch - an act of pure sado masochism which he can only justify as confusion. In short, I am quite licked by this article.

does melky rape wendy?
Posted by henrikegerman 2012-11-11 09:57:42


Never saw the musical, but in the play, he rapes her.

does melky rape wendy?
Posted by dramamama611 2012-11-11 10:49:36


Every two years.

No, in the musical, he coerces her -- but she most definitely consents.

The whipping scene is also mutual, he just gets carried away.

Certainly seems that you are at odds with the review because it didn't agree with your choices. (or that of your cast).

Opinions are like belly buttons, everyone (but Alfred Hitchcock) has one.

does melky rape wendy?
Posted by TheatreDiva90016 2012-11-11 11:16:13


You dug up an old thread to complain about the review you got in your local production?


*head/desk*

does melky rape wendy?
Posted by FindingNamo 2012-11-11 14:00:34


Is that a college paper review? Cuz you just have to realize that young writers are most interested in gazing at their own navels and writing pages and pages about it in much the same young actors are interested in gazing at their own navels and don't want anything but praise for doing so. It's best if the writer and actor paths do not intersect.

does melky rape wendy?
Posted by SporkGoddess 2012-11-11 15:53:50


If someone is coerced into a sexual act, then they did not consent. Coercion is considered a form of unwanted sexual contact by most, if not all, sexual assault researchers.

does melky rape wendy?
Posted by justoldbill 2012-11-11 16:03:51


Is the show as loud and irritating as it was at the Eugene O'Neill?

does melky rape wendy?
Posted by Taryn 2012-11-11 17:13:31


Oh man I missed this thread.

does melky rape wendy?
Posted by dramamama611 2012-11-11 21:04:40


Yes, perhaps 'coerced' was not the best choice of words.

does melky rape wendy?
Posted by Taryn 2012-11-12 00:44:26


Wendla can't consent because she literally does not know what sex is or understand anything about it. Melchior does, he knows she's ignorant, and he pushes anyways.