Spring Awakening

Spring Awakening Essay Questions

  1. 1

    Consider the names of the schoolteachers in Spring Awakening. What do these names tell the reader or audience about the theme of education in the play? Pick two names and construct a detailed analysis of why these particular characters might have inspired their nicknames.

  2. 2

    Why is the title of the play Spring Awakening? Explain your answer and provide examples from the text.

  3. 3

    Throughout the play, the characters refer to Greek epics, mythology, gods, and stories. Why might Wedekind have chosen to emphasize this aspect of the children's education? In your explanation, pick at least two moments in the play that contain allusions to Greek mythology or culture. Explain what the character is alluding to and how the allusions add to the scene.

  4. 4

    Moritz: I've been through Meyer's Lexicon from A-Z. Words! Nothing but words! Not one simple explanation. Oh this sense of shame! -- What's the good of an encyclopedia that doesn't answer the most pertinent question in the world?

    Moritz makes this statement when he and Melchior are discussing Moritz's lack of knowledge about sex. What do Moritz's words reveal about Moritz's community (both local and cultural)?

  5. 5

    Wendla tells Thea, "It must be a thousand times more inspiring to be loved by a man than by a girl!" (I, iii)

    Moritz tells Melchior, "Girls enjoy themselves, Melchior, like the gods in their bliss. And a girl's nature is self-protective. A girl keeps herself free of everything bitter until the last moment. She then has the pleasure of seeing all heaven break over her. She hasn't stopped fearing hell when suddenly she notices paradise in full bloom...By comparison, a man's satisfaction seems to me shallow, stagnant" (II, i).

    Moritz and Wendla seem to agree that "it is...better to be [a girl] loved by a man." How do Wendla's rape and her eventual death from an improperly-conducted abortion make these statements problematic?

  6. 6

    Like later Expressionist theorists, Frank Wedekind employed blatant depictions of adolescent sexuality to force his audience to reconsider their views on themes ranging from authority to the responsibilities of parents to children. Do you think that Wedekind is successful in this endeavor, or is Spring Awakening too shocking to do more than embarrass and anger his audience? Do you think this question would have had a different answer when the play was first written than it does today?

  7. 7

    When Ilse tells Martha that she has the gun Moritz used to kill himself, Martha asks her for it. Why do you think Martha asks for the gun? Why might Wedekind have included this exchange in the play?

  8. 8

    What is the role of the man in the mask? How is he going to help Melchior?

  9. 9

    Is Mrs. Bergmann to blame for Wendla's ignorance, or does she justify her actions when she says she was only doing as her mother had done before? In general, how much of the responsibility for Wendla, Melchior, and Moritz's actions lies with them, and how much lies with their parents?

  10. 10

    Throughout Spring Awakening, Wedekind closely links ideas of sex and violence. Why does this make sense given the cultural and social mores of the community explored in the play?