Spring Awakening, The Birthday Party, Entertaining Mr. Sloane; despite the fact that Spring Awakening was written a century before The Birthday Party and Entertaining Mister Sloane, and The Birthday Party and Entertaining Mister Sloane were written a decade apart, all three of the plays have common themes underscoring the most sinister predilections of the human experience. Intentions are obscure, hypocrisy is commonplace, and distorted moralism is prevalent throughout all three plays. However, it is the exploitation within each play that resonates strongest within me, reminding me intensely of vampires. Wedekind, Pinter, and Orton did not write Fantasy novels, all of their characters are acutely human. However, it because of this humanity that the vampiric-like exploitation of their characters both horrifies and fascinates.
The underlying exploitation in Spring Awakening is first hinted upon during the third scene of Act One. It is the conversation between three young women. Martha has just told the reader that her family abuses her, “ For God’s sake Wendla! Papa beats me till I’m crippled and mama locks me up in he coal cellar for three nights at a time” (Wedekind 8). It is her next line that suggests exploitation; “Sometimes I think they’d miss something if they didn’t have a disgraceful brat like me!” (Wedekind 8) Miss what exactly, having a punching bag? [Having someone to take their frustrations out on?] Even though it’s subtle Wendla is being exploited by her parents, she’s being used in an unjust manner because of their overwhelming fervor.
The next case of subtle exploitation seen in Spring Awakening is also parental. It is between Wendla and Frau Bergmann in Act Two. Wendla is asking her mother about where babies come from stating that she is fourteen and cannot be expected to believe in the stork forever. Wendla is instant as she inquires her mother about the essential knowledge that all ladies of a certain age should know.
Wendla and Frau Bergman go back and forth repeatedly. During this scene Frau Bergman calls Wendla a child no less than four times, but Wendla is not a child. She is a teenager, a young woman and her mother refuses to equip her with the knowledge necessary. Why? Because she cannot bear to see her child growing up, she cannot bear to be the one to disillusion her regarding the facts of life. This, in essence, is also a form of exploitation. It is Frau Bergman denying Wendla’s needs because of her own overwhelming desire to keep Wendla a child.
As the play progresses Wedekind’s underscoring exploitation is more conspicuous, reaching its apogee when Melchior is blamed for Moritz’s suicide.
This is a shining example of exploitation in it’s most obvious form, that of the authority. It is those with power abusing their power by making the powerless a scapegoat for their misdeeds and wrongdoings. Melchior is being blamed, and will eventually pay the price, for Mortiz’s suicide when in actuality it is the...