does melky rape wendy?

overthemoon419
Broadway Star
joined:6/4/04
does melky rape wendy?
Posted: 3/25/07 at 07:29pm
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.
"It's not for sissies, contrary to popular belief." - Tommy Tune, on musical theatre.

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teka21
Leading Actor
joined:12/19/06
does melky rape wendy?
Posted: 3/25/07 at 08:01pm
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.
fetzles1490
Featured Actor
joined:4/16/05
does melky rape wendy?
Posted: 3/25/07 at 08:51pm
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.
papalovesmambo
Broadway Legend
joined:11/4/03
does melky rape wendy?
Posted: 3/26/07 at 08:58pm
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.
condom history
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beyondblessed
Featured Actor
joined:11/1/06
does melky rape wendy?
Posted: 3/26/07 at 09:16pm
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. Iím 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 feelÖ she was raped.
Going to a musical late in its run is like going to a prostitute late in her shift.
Becoz_i_knew_you21
Broadway Legend
joined:4/29/06
does melky rape wendy?
Posted: 3/26/07 at 10:03pm
"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.
pants2
Broadway Star
joined:5/15/06
does melky rape wendy?
Posted: 3/26/07 at 11:17pm
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.
Can, can I have it?
bsherms
Swing
joined:2/2/08
does melky rape wendy?
Posted: 2/2/08 at 10:45pm
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.
GlindatheGood22
Broadway Legend
joined:7/17/07
does melky rape wendy?
Posted: 2/2/08 at 11:07pm
She says no, but then she kind of gets suckered into it. It's technically a gray area.
I leave the room smiling.
Elphaba3
Broadway Legend
joined:3/30/04
does melky rape wendy?
Posted: 2/2/08 at 11:28pm
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.
george95
Broadway Legend
joined:1/1/08
does melky rape wendy?
Posted: 2/2/08 at 11:30pm
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.
Elphaba3
Broadway Legend
joined:3/30/04
does melky rape wendy?
Posted: 2/2/08 at 11:32pm
I still see it as rape.
george95
Broadway Legend
joined:1/1/08
does melky rape wendy?
Posted: 2/2/08 at 11:34pm
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.
mwjr16
Stand-by
joined:5/11/04
does melky rape wendy?
Posted: 2/2/08 at 11:38pm
No, she wants it . . .
bohemianqueen
Understudy
joined:1/18/06
does melky rape wendy?
Posted: 2/2/08 at 11:48pm
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.
Nothing really matters, anyone can see, nothing really matters, nothing really matters to me....any way the wind blows
snl89
Broadway Legend
joined:10/4/05
does melky rape wendy?
Posted: 2/2/08 at 11:58pm
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.
I don't need a life that's normal. That's way too far away. But something next to normal would be okay. Something next to normal is what I'd like to try. Close enough to normal to get by.
SporkGoddess
Broadway Legend
joined:7/27/05
does melky rape wendy?
Posted: 2/3/08 at 12:01pm
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.
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luvtheEmcee
Broadway Legend
joined:12/9/03
does melky rape wendy?
Posted: 2/3/08 at 12:05pm
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.
A work of art is an invitation to love.
george95
Broadway Legend
joined:1/1/08
does melky rape wendy?
Posted: 2/3/08 at 12:20pm
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.
luvtheEmcee
Broadway Legend
joined:12/9/03
does melky rape wendy?
Posted: 2/3/08 at 12:23pm
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.
A work of art is an invitation to love.
Updated On: 2/3/08 at 12:23 PM
george95
Broadway Legend
joined:1/1/08
does melky rape wendy?
Posted: 2/3/08 at 12:35pm
So if it it's so laugable, then why dont you specifically address at least one of those points made?
luvtheEmcee
Broadway Legend
joined:12/9/03
does melky rape wendy?
Posted: 2/3/08 at 12:48pm
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.
A work of art is an invitation to love.
Updated On: 2/3/08 at 12:48 PM
Taryn
Broadway Legend
joined:1/24/04
does melky rape wendy?
Posted: 2/3/08 at 12:53pm
How can you really, truly consent to an act that you don't even know what it is?
george95
Broadway Legend
joined:1/1/08
does melky rape wendy?
Posted: 2/3/08 at 12:58pm
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.
Updated On: 2/3/08 at 12:58 PM
MaronaDavies
Featured Actor
joined:3/17/06
does melky rape wendy?
Posted: 2/3/08 at 01:01pm
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.
Updated On: 2/3/08 at 01:01 PM
luvtheEmcee
Broadway Legend
joined:12/9/03
does melky rape wendy?
Posted: 2/3/08 at 01:03pm
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.
A work of art is an invitation to love.