Portland State University. Department of Foreign Languages
Date of Award
Master of Arts (M.A.) in German
World Languages and Literatures
1 online resource (2, 66 leaves)
Prostitutes in literature, Frank Wedekind (1864-1918)
The prostitute and the concept of prostitution played a meaningful role in both Frank Wedekind's life and his dramatic efforts. From his early youth to the writing of' his drama Schloss Wetterstein (1910), Wedekind remained deeply interested in the personal, social and philosophical problems generated by the existence of the prostitute and what he imagined her sensually based philosophy of life to be. Four of Wedekind's dramas were dealt with, which seem to be representative of his struggle to vindicate his own corresponding philosophy of sensuality. The first drama, Elins Erweckung (Elin's Awakening-1887), is important as his first drama dealing with the prostitute. It is largely socio-critical in tone and develops character types, which will later appear in other Wedekind dramas concerning the prostitute. Das Sonnenspektrum (~Spectrum of the Sun-l894), the fragmentary, second play analysed, develops the theme of sensual joy carried to its practical limit: a garden of physical love, where art and man's physical appetites live in harmony. The philosophical implications of unrestrained physical love, as embodied by the prostitute, take on a darker hue in the third drama, Tod und Teufel (Death and the Devil-1905). In this drama Wedekind's disillusionment with sensual love is shown. Its characters are not freely enjoying their unrestrained sensuality; they are driven by inner, bestial forces to their destruction. Wedekind attempts to rescue daemonic sexuality in the final drama worked with, Schlos Wetterstein (Wetterstein Castle). He creates the ''Edelhure'' (Noble Whore) in this work, who triumphs philosophically over sensual pleasure, but pays with her life. Her death is proud, but real. With Schloss Wetterstein ends Wedekind's attempt to reconcile unrestrained sensuality with practical reality. He found that the prostitute could not outrun the fate inevitably awaiting her, if she (and himself) looked for the meaning of life on the dark side of Man's existence. Death only, awaits those who open Pandora’s Box I
Mellen, Philip A., "Die Prostituierte in Frank Wedekinds Dramen" (1971). Dissertations and Theses. Paper 715.