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“You’re not going out like that, are you?”

The Letter, Issue 43, Spring 2010, Pages 111 - 119


“You’re not going out like that, are you?”

Helen Sheehan


This paper situates Frank Wedekind’s play, Spring Awakening, in a Freudian-Lacanian framework. The masked man who makes his appearance towards the end of the play is said to be a mediator between life and death for the adolescents, just as the preface written by J. Lacan suggests that the masked man serves as one of the names of the father.

Keywords: Freud; Lacan; adolescents; suicide; masked man; the names of the father I am basing my talk today on a play by the German, Frank Wedekind (1864- 1918), called Spring Awakening.[1]

Written in 1891, it created a scandal for the twenty-six year old playwright and it took sixteen years for German censorship on the drama to be lifted and then with crucial concessions. In 1906 it was put on in Berlin by Marx Reinhardt. In England the play was banned from public performance until 1963. In its first performance at the National Theatre London in 1974 the lead role was taken by Veronica Quilligan from Rathmines. The play is a series of brief scenes dealing with the awakening of sexuality in three adolescents, Wendla, Moritz and Melchior.


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