The character of Lulu Essay Example
The character of Lulu Essay Example

The character of Lulu Essay Example

Available Only on StudyHippo
  • Pages: 10 (2710 words)
  • Published: October 6, 2017
  • Type: Essay
View Entire Sample
Text preview

This essay will discuss the cultural and societal context of Frank Wedekind's play Lulu, examining its challenge to or perpetuation of assumptions about gender and sexuality. It will also explore the play's relevance in modern times, analyzing Lulu's character and her relationships with men and women during the late 1800s. The essay will delve into the challenges faced by women as they suppress their sexual desires in a patriarchal society throughout history, while examining themes of female subjugation and gender roles. Additionally, it will explore the roles of fictional and real-life "Femmes Fatales" across different time periods, from those found in narrative books to internationally recognized iconic figures covered by modern media.

The text discusses whether being an attractive adult female is a help or a hindrance. It questions if women are slaves to men's desires or if they use


their attractiveness to live the life they want. The research on the character of Lulu includes reading the introduction from the play Lulu by Nicolas Wright. Wright offers insight into Lulu's character and Frank Wedekind's research method, which involved having sexual encounters with various prostitutes. Wedekind created a captivating character by incorporating different qualities and flaws of the prostitutes he encountered. These women are described as "irresistible, some fearlessly honest, some cunning, some insane, all doomed" (Wedekind/Wright, 2007:11). In the introduction, Nicolas Wright gives the impression that Wedekind may have encountered a woman who was raped and forced into prostitution by her own father at a young age, which is exactly what happened to Lulu as described by Wedekind.

According to Nicolas Wright, Lulu's life has been shaped by a horrifying event, which has had

View entire sample
Join StudyHippo to see entire essay

a significant impact on her as an adult. Although as a 19th-century vaulting horse, he may not recognize the connection, his insights on women are perceptive. Lulu sexualizes every relationship she enters into with a man, which strongly suggests she is suffering from damaged-child syndrome. Wright argues that Lulu is an abused child with a distorted perspective on acceptable behavior in relationships. This is shown in Act 4 when she asks Schigolch to kill Rodrigo, an acrobat who has mistreated her.

  • "Smasher: what do you desire? Do n't inquire excessively much.
  • Schigolch: good, now... . if you of all time felt nostalgic... for our old agreement... ..
  • Smasher: oh God... .. !
  • Schigolch: Why non?
  • Smasher: I 'm... .changed. I 'm non a kid any more.
  • Schigolch: what do see when you look at me now? Some aged monster?
  • Lulu ; but you 've already got a kept woman. ''( Wedekind/Wright, 2007: Act 4:94 )

Lulu from a young age was passed around like a plaything for men's enjoyment. This information reflects that Lulu is always looking for someone to look after her, and the security which comes with marriage, as she has never had that as a child.

Lulu now relies exclusively on her beauty and the attraction she generates from men of various backgrounds. This allows her to manipulate them, making them act according to her wishes while they remain under

the illusion of control. However, in exchange for providing these men with what they desire, Lulu captivates them by exploiting their vulnerabilities and obtaining what she wants until her interests change. This becomes more apparent when she enters her second marriage to Eduard Schwarz. In this relationship, Lulu assumes dominance but dislikes it as she lacks any means of manipulation over him. Consequently, I believe this is why she initiates an affair with Dr. Franz Schoning.

This matrimony to Schwarz appears to be a functional relationship and a comfortable way of life. However, Lulu's involvement with Schoning raises doubts about her desire for a loving family and the security that comes with marriage. It seems that she wants some excitement and risk in her life, which contradicts the expectations of women from her background. This selfish attitude, which would be highly coveted by many women in her position, makes me question what Lulu truly desires. It is clear that she needs the security of marriage, as society expects of women like her. However, this is not what Lulu wants. She is a sexually confident woman with natural desires that go against societal norms. Lulu's character was ahead of her time, written during an era when women were oppressed and had to marry for security. Most women during that time aspired to marry well and improve their social standing, much like Mrs. Bennet's obsession with finding husbands for her daughters in Pride and Prejudice by Jane Austin.

Elizabeth Bennet, the protagonist in Pride and Prejudice, differs greatly from Lulu. Unlike Lulu, Elizabeth desires to marry for love rather than security. When her cousin Mr. Collins proposes to her,

it takes him some time to realize that Elizabeth is rejecting his proposal, as it was uncommon at the time for a woman to decline such an offer. Mr. Collins states, "Your role is unfortunately so small that it will likely diminish the effects of your beauty and pleasant qualities. Since I must conclude that you are not serious in rejecting me, I will attribute it to your lack of increasing my love through suspense, as is customary among sophisticated women" (Austin, 1996:106). Interestingly, even Jane Austen herself accepted a marriage proposal from Harris Bigg-Wither in 1802, but she changed her mind the following day.

In her novels, the protagonist always ended up marrying the man she loved, which suited her well. However, Jane Austen herself opted to stay unmarried and became an "old maid." According to this article, after Austen's death, Harris Bigg-Wither closely analyzed her books and concluded that marriage did not interest her. He believed that Austen didn't depict sexual passion in her novels; instead, she wrote about the lead-up to marriage in a platonic manner. This suggests that Austen may have thought introducing sexual tension into a marriage that began without it – one based on affection – would lead to its downfall. It seems that as a woman living in the early 1800s who was expected to marry, Austen had reservations regarding sex and its complexities. She believed love should be the foundation of marriage rather than a practical arrangement. In a letter to her niece, Austen is quoted expressing this viewpoint. Thus, during the early 1800s, Jane Austen challenged societal norms by advocating for remaining unmarried if one didn't desire

marriage. However, rumors arose in the 1990s suggesting that Austen might have been a lesbian, potentially explaining why she chose not to marry. Nevertheless, this theory remains unproven and undebunked. In my opinion, assuming that adult females who choose not to marry are automatically lesbians is unfair. Even in contemporary society, women face criticism and judgment when they prioritize their careers over starting families.
I believe that men's egos are damaged when they feel unimportant.

The play Lulu by Frank Wedekind presents a unique perspective, portraying Lulu as an elegant prostitute who possesses both beauty and cunning to manipulate the men she desires. What makes Lulu shocking for its time is that society commonly believed men were driven by their sexual desires while women had none. If Lulu were portrayed as a man, this play would be referred to as Casanova, which wouldn't have been as surprising since Giacomo Girolamo Casanova de Seingalt, who died in 1798, was renowned for his exploits seducing young women and gambling.

However, Lulu was not a man, but she was influenced by the men in her life. She attempted to gain power by manipulating and enslaving the men she desired through her sexuality. Similarly, Milady Clarick de Winter from Alexandre Dumas' novel "The Three Musketeers" employed similar tactics to acquire information from her targets. Milady, a young woman forced into a convent, fell in love with a priest and escaped with him.

After stealing belongings from the church to support their new life together, both of them are apprehended and marked as felons with the fleur de lys. Later on, she appears in Athos' modest town posing as his sister and accompanied by

a man. Athos becomes smitten with her and eventually weds her. Nevertheless, as they spend more time together, he uncovers a telltale brand on her shoulder that reveals her true identity as a thief.

Despite the misconception that Athos wed her solely for her fortune, he endeavors to end his heartbroken wife's life by hanging her from a tree. Surprisingly, she manages to survive this perilous ordeal. In the time when this novel was penned, it was socially acceptable to use deadly methods to punish one's spouse if they had committed an offense. Milady Clarick de Winter is an incredibly adept spy who possesses both physical allure and extraordinary talents. She serves as a representation of strength and independence for women, all while carrying the burden of a sorrowful past. Furthermore, she nurtures profound animosity towards men and takes delight in ensnaring and annihilating them.

Milady Clarick de Winter and Lulu are women who use their beauty, appeal, and sexual allure to achieve hidden goals. They manipulate and trap men, providing them with temporary support but ultimately leading to their downfall if they discover their past actions. Both women seem trapped in their situations, unable to escape the consequences of their relationships with men, which often result in deadly outcomes.

Both Milady Clarick de Winter and Lulu have multiple names due to marriages and various name changes. In the drama, Lulu's first husband, Dr Goll, discusses with Dr Franz Schoning their preferences for what to call her. With so many men renaming her, it is not surprising that no one truly knows the real Lulu. Does she even exist anymore? I believe that names hold great power, and

by altering this aspect of a person, they cease to exist as they were. Each time her name is changed, Lulu becomes a completely new individual with a fresh personality and is molded into whatever the man desires. In the case of Milady Clarick de Winter, she had to change her name because her first husband, Athos, whom she deeply loved, believed she was dead after hanging her from a tree. For her own protection, she changed her name once again when she married Lord De Winter. Given all these name changes, it is no wonder that these women manipulate men for their own benefit.

When it comes to altering their names and molding them into marionettes or coercing them to change their names for protection, it is often the adult males who have the power. This process deprives individuals of their true identities and the potential they could have reached. Does society still impose pressure on women to conform to certain standards? In a celebrity-obsessed culture that seeks information even in tragedy, society always wants more. Marilyn Monroe, a renowned beauty known for her curves, surpassed being just a sex symbol of the 1950s. She dominated the era of film stars and became the most famous woman of the 20th century, maintaining a strong fan base even 45 years after her death. Born as Norma Jeane Mortenson and baptized as Norma Jeane Baker, she never knew her father.

Norma Jeane's upbringing was characterized by time spent in surrogate places and orphanages due to her mother's mental illness. Eventually, she went to live with a family friend but had to find another situation when they relocated and

couldn't take her along. Her options were limited: return to the orphanage or get married, as was common for girls without families in the 1940s. Norma Jeane chose to marry her boyfriend of six months, although their marriage didn't last due to her growing career as a model and as Marilyn Monroe.

A significant turning point occurred when a photographer discovered Norma Jeane while she worked in a factory during the war effort. This led to her successful modeling career under the iconic name Marilyn Monroe. She quickly gained fame through movie roles and received accolades. Unfortunately, on August 5th, 1962, Marilyn Monroe died under suspicious circumstances that have sparked numerous conspiracy theories debated throughout the 20th and 21st centuries.

There is a prevailing belief that Marilyn Monroe was murdered by the Kennedy family, a belief shared by her second husband, Joe DiMaggio, until his death. In his book about his life, DiMaggio's attorney and close friend Morris Engelberg expressed these beliefs. DiMaggio attributed Monroe's downfall to her romantic relationships, driven by his deep love for her. Many of Monroe's fans also hold the view that there remain unanswered questions about her death. I concur that there is a significant amount of information missing. Monroe found herself at the mercy of influential men who sought to silence and prevent disclosure of the information she possessed.

The alleged involvement of the Kennedy family in Marilyn Monroe's death has not been proven or disproven. Similarly, Monroe underestimated her influence over powerful men. Some speculate that she was killed by Jack the Ripper, an educated man who used his wealth to attract vulnerable prostitutes. Another potential suspect is Prince Albert Victor,

Duke of Clarence and Avondale, Queen Victoria's grandson; however, this accusation remains unconfirmed or refuted.

In my research, I discovered striking similarities between Monroe and Lulu. Both women met tragic ends at the hands of men. It is important to note that Lulu is a fictional character based on real-life encounters with prostitutes by Frank Wedekind but shares many characteristics with the iconic Monroe. This emphasizes the unsettling reality that women's circumstances have not significantly changed over a century or more.

My intention in this essay was to analyze Frank Wedekind's Lulu within its historical and temporal context while exploring whether women's roles have evolved considerably during this period. To achieve this objective, I examined works by other authors and also considered a modern-day icon. It is crucial to acknowledge that my discussion heavily reflects a female perspective. If written from a male viewpoint, it would likely present a markedly different outlook. Obtaining a male perspective on the topic may have been beneficial for further analysis purposes.

Did Frank Wedekind write Lulu with the intention to shock society? Or did he aim to illustrate the restrictions imposed on women in the 1800s through text? When Frank Wedekind wrote Lulu, I believe he knew it would be shocking in his society as a sexual tragedy. However, I don't think he realized that he had delved so deeply into the repression of women by their gender and the impact that certain sexual experiences can have on women in intimate relationships. Even today, women sometimes use their sexual attractiveness to manipulate men or get what they want. In my opinion, women have been fighting for equality with men, yet we still

choose to use our beauty to our advantage. Is this because from a young age, society and literature perpetuate the stereotype that women belong at home taking care of children while men work and support their families? Times have changed, and as a society we have accepted same-sex marriage, LGBTQ+ rights, and had a black president- something I never thought I would see in my lifetime. Yet, the ongoing struggle between genders continues, and I don't believe it will end with a satisfactory outcome for both sides. Lulu is a modern play about sex.

It's not a helpful story about gender roles or sexual politics, or even at heart a marriage drama, as all four of her marriages end badly. Lulu is a ruthless exploration of the terrifying destructive potential of a basic human drive, and of that favorite scapegoat for that destruction, the femme fatale.


  • Austen.J (1996) Pride And Prejudice, London, Penguin Group.
  • Wedekind.F/Wright.N (2007) Lulu, London: Nick Hern Books limited.


  • Attribution of Identity: The "Bild" motive and the character of Lulu, Silvio Jose Dos Santos, The Journal of Musicology, Vol. 21, No.2 (spring 2004), pp.267-308
  • Masterpieces of French literature By Marilyn S. Severson
  • Refraction of the Feminine: The Monstrous Transformations of Lulu, Karin Littau, MLN, Vol. 110, No. 4, Comparative Literature Issue (Sept., 1995), pp.888-912
  • The Three MusketeersbyAlexandre Dumas
Get an explanation on any task
Get unstuck with the help of our AI assistant in seconds