Monday, February 18, 2008

I can imagine how this play would cause such uproar in the early 1900s in Vienna. At this time even mentioning something along the lines of sexuality was big a huge shock, let alone an entire play about loose encounters throughout the social class structure of the Viennese. In terms of death, I found it interesting that no one was worried about STDs. I am sure that all ten characters were aware of the risks they were taking by performing these sexual acts. When I was younger my mom would refer to unprotected sex as practically playing a game of Russian roulette. It would be interesting to know what the death rate due to STDs was at this point in time. Oddly they were all willing to engage in this game to have a moment of satisfaction. Not only were they risking their life by playing these sexual games, they were risking their marriages, jobs, and livelihood. Each individual in the play risked something unique by each encounter. Whether it was social standing as in the sweet young girls encounters or a chance at excitement in the married woman’s encounters or something else, it seemed as if each characters was trying to gain something as well.


Brooke Bowen said...

I thought the entire subtext of the play is the transmission of syphilis, so I think it is interesting that you thought there was no worry about STDs. The exchange between the husband and sweet young girl includes a conversation where it seemed to me that he was trying to analyze her risk for syphilis, asking how many men she has been with. I also thought there were other parts that alluded to this rampant disease; do you think there may have been some other parts that had an underlying nod to risky behavior? Were there parts that derided women as the source of such evil rather than acknowledging men as complicit (if not responsible) in spreading disease?

annieguiler said...

When first reading the play without having an understanding of the background and meaning of the play, I thought that it was just curiosity as to whether or not the men were going to be the woman's first. Being the first has always had great importance to some partners. But after understanding a bit more about the underlying 'dirtiness' of the play and the ease of transmission, I understand now that the questions were out of concern for health. Although, I do think that the men would like to know and think that they were the woman's first. Like the husband with the wife. He wants to view him as only his, and if she were to have been with others, this 'possession' could possibly be taken away.

I do think that both men and women in the play are responsible for the transmission of the disease. If you look at the Tart for example, she could care less how many people her sex partner has been with; obviously stating her careless attitude towards the diseases of the time. The careless acts of the men in the play (mostly referring to the times when the men were like the young gentleman) also shows they are responsible for transmission too. So I don’t think that the play puts a sort of fault on either gender.