Does Melchior rape Wendla in SPRING AWAKENING?

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

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Updated On: 3/23/07 at 03:13 AM
eatlasagna
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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
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gumbo2
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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.
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The Distinctive Baritone
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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...
Updated On: 3/23/07 at 03:57 AM
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Ha, we posted that at the same time, but yes, exactly.
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The Distinctive Baritone
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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?
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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.
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In the old script, the last work she says before black out is "NO!" underlined too...

What does it say in the original play?
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"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.
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eatlasagna
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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
Updated On: 3/23/07 at 06:17 AM
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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"
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mint0621
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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.


Updated On: 3/23/07 at 08:18 AM
paphillyguy
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I the Atlantic version off broadway, it was played more toward the rape side, I thought. It is lessened in the Broadway version
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She wanted it!
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"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.
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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.
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It's called Coping out.
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Agreed. CurtainPullDowner
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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.
Updated On: 3/23/07 at 10:37 AM
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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.
Updated On: 3/23/07 at 10:52 AM
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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.
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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.
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