Spring Awakening

Characters

  • Wendla Bergmann: A girl who turns fourteen at the beginning of the play. She begs her mother to tell her the truth about how babies are born but is never given sufficient facts. In the middle of Act Two, Melchior rapes Wendla in a hayloft. She conceives Melchior's child without any knowledge of reproduction. She dies after an unsafe, botched abortion.
  • Melchior Gabor: A fourteen-year-old boy. Melchior is an atheist who, unlike the other children, knows about sexual reproduction. He writes his best friend Moritz an essay about sexual intercourse, which gets him expelled from school after the suicide of his friend and the discovery of the essay. His parents send him to a reformatory after his father discovers he has got Wendla pregnant.
  • Moritz Stiefel: Melchior’s best friend and classmate, a student who is traumatized by puberty and his sexual awakenings. Moritz does not understand the "stirrings of manhood" and changes happening to him. A poor student due to his lack of concentration and constant pubertal distractions, he passes the midterm exams at the beginning of the play. However, Moritz is ultimately unable to cope with the harshness of society, and when his plea for help from Fanny Gabor (Melchior’s mother) is declined, he commits suicide.
  • Ilse: A carefree and promiscuous childhood friend of Moritz, Melchior, and Wendla. She ran away from home to live a Bohemian life as a model and lover of various painters. Ilse only appears in two scenes throughout the show, and is the last person to whom Moritz speaks before he commits suicide. She finds the gun he used and hides it.
  • Hanschen (Hänschen) and Ernst: Two friends and classmates of Melchior and Moritz, who discover they are in love. Towards the end of the play, they confess their love for one another. (In the English translation of the play by Jonathan Franzen, Hanschen is called Hansy, as "Hänschen" is literally the German diminutive form of the name "Hans".)
  • Otto, Georg, Lämmermeier and Robert: Schoolmates of Melchior and Moritz. They laugh at Moritz and tease him when he threatens to shoot himself.
  • Thea and Martha: The schoolgirl friends of Wendla. Martha has a crush on Moritz and is physically abused by her mother and father. Thea is attracted to Melchior.
  • Frau Bergmann: Wendla's mother, who seems to not want her child to grow up too quickly and refuses to tell her daughter the truth about reproduction and sexuality.
  • Fanny Gabor: Melchior's mother. Liberally minded and very loving of her son, she protests against sending Melchior to a reformatory as disciplinary action until she discovers that he raped Wendla.
  • Herr Gabor: Melchior’s father. In contrast to Mrs. Gabor, he believes in strict methods to raise children.
  • Knochenbruch: The cruel and oppressive school headmaster who expels Melchior from school upon learning of the essay Melchior wrote for Moritz. His name means “broken bones” in German.
  • Knuppeldick, Zungenschlag, Fliegentod, Hungergurt, Sonnenstich: Teachers at Melchior’s school. These names mean “very thick”, “stammering”, “fly poison“, ”belt of hunger” and “sun stroke”.
  • Pastor Kahlbauch: The town’s religious leader, who leads the sermon at Moritz’s funeral. His name means “bold belly” in German.
  • The Masked Man: A mysterious, fate-like stranger who appears in the final scene of the play to offer Melchior hope for redemption. Portrayed on stage by Wedekind himself when the play was first performed.

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