Love Triangles in Musicals

One of the best parts about musicals is romance itself. It translates well to song and is such a beautiful emotion. One fascinating type of love comes from a love triangle itself. There are three love triangles that easily come to mind when I think of a love triangle. They are ones from Phantom of the Opera, Les Mis, and Wicked. The plot of Phantom is basically a love triangle between Christine, Raoul, and Phantom. Than there is the love triangle in Les Mis, which happens between revolutionary Marius, brave Eponine, and innocent Cosette. But my favorite love triangle is in Wicked, which is between Elphaba, Glinda and Fiyero. The rest of this post will focus on these three love triangles more in detail.

Major Spoilers:

First up is love triangle in Phantom. This is the hardest love triangle to explain. I hardly have gotten to know this love triangle. I am one of those people who actually appreciate Raoul and Christine together. They are my favorite characters in this musical. Many people hate Raoul because he falls in love and Christine chooses him. That makes no sense at all because Raoul is such a wonderful guy. Christine and Raoul were childhood sweethearts. I love Raoul and Christine together and have nothing wrong with Phantom getting stuck with unrequited love. Phantom’s story basically revolves around this unrequited love. He seems to be a little too obsessed with Christine, which leads him to do destructive behaviors. I honestly have no idea how to describe this love triangle. Phantom of the Opera would lose a lot of its charm if Christine choose the Phantom.

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The next love triangle I am going to talk about is the one in Les Mis, which is between Eponine, Marius, and Cosette. Once again, I appreciate Marius with Cosette even though I love Eponine more than both of those characters. One of the best things about Les Mis is the switch between Eponine and Cosette, which is why it makes sense that Eponine gets the unrequited love and that Cosette ends up with Marius.

When Cosette and Eponine were children, Cosette was horribly abused by Eponine’s parents and they treated her like a servant. Cosette was quite unloved and broken on the inside, but was full of so much hope. Eponine’s parents, especially Madame Thenardier, seemed to love Eponine and they would spoil her. Well things take a turn when Valjean arrives to take Cosette away. While Cosette was rescued, Eponine was stuck with the Thenardiers her whole life.

After Cosette was taken away and ended up getting a better life, Eponine got the same treatment that Cosette got. She became so unloved, abused, lonely and neglected. She was taught the skills of the criminal world and how to steal and to lie. Her parents did not care for her. Once the two girls got older, Cosette’s life improved a lot while Eponine’s life became even worse. Both girls did fall in love with Marius, but Marius only has eyes for Cosette. Marius appears to treat Eponine unfairly, but he never once did. All Eponine has in her life in Marius and that’s it and is why her unrequited love is so heartbreaking and why she loves Marius as much as she does.

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Eponine does anything for Marius. She locates Cosette for him and protects him when her father and his gang tries to rob Valjean’s house. All of her actions are done out of love for Marius and that might seem like a weakness, but in reality it never was. Marius was the reason why she rose above her upbringing. Marius is what kept her going even though it led to tragic consequences. She does decide to join Marius at the barricade and Marius noticing that she is there asks her to deliver a letter to Cosette. He was only trying to protect her from the uprising (Gavroche delvers the letter in the movie).

Eponine finally was able to accept the fact that Marius will never be hers, but she will stick by his side no matter what. Well, Eponine does return to the barricades and while climbing over she gets shot and her wound ends up being fatal (in the movie, Marius was about to get shot and Eponine sacrificed her life to save Marius). Marius does decide to stay with Eponine until she dies, but she is happy being in the arms of the man she loves. Eponine’s fate is perfect just the way it is. This leaves Marius devastated and he truly knew just how dark Eponine’s life was. Literally right after she died, he said to the students “her name was Eponine, her life was cold and dark, yet she was unafraid”.

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Valjean, learning through the letter that Eponine gave him, he realized that his adopted daughter loves Marius. Valjean heads over to the barricade to make sure Marius comes out alive. He prays to God to save him and Valjean has to end up carrying Marius after he fell unconscious. Valjean takes Marius through the sewers. Marius is the only survivor of the uprising and he has to struggle with survivor’s guilt. Cosette helps him recover from his wounds. Marius and Cosette get married, but they still have lots going on. Marius lost both Eponine and all of his friends at the barricade and Cosette had a horrible childhood. In the book, Marius has a lot going on especially with his home life. On the night of Cosette’s wedding, Marius and Cosette head over to see Valjean, but discover that he is dying. Cosette had to watch her adopted father die and all Marius and Cosette have left is each other.

This love triangle as a matter of fact adds a wonderful texture to Les Mis. The switch between Eponine and Cosette fascinates me. Marius did love both Eponine and Cosette, but in different ways. Marius loved Eponine as a friend and did care about her and he loved Cosette in a romantic way. One of the most overarching themes in Les Mis is love itself: not just romance. It has love for the law, love for a parent, love for a child, love for a country, romance: both requited and unrequited, but ultimately love for God. So it is completely fitting that there is a love triangle in Les Mis. The love triangle is not silly one bit. Marius is such a sweet, compassionate, and caring guy and I don’t think he ever was a jerk to Eponine.

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Last but not least there is the love triangle in Wicked. The love triangle in Wicked is my favorite love triangle and has been the one that has been part of my life the longest. It is between Elphaba, Glinda, and Fiyero. The romance is quite important in Wicked, but not as important as the friendship between Elphaba and Glinda. When Fiyero first arrives at Shiz, Elphaba does find Fiyero bit too annoying and a bit kind of rude. Fiyero invites everyone to a school dance and this is when Glinda and Fiyero date for the first time. There was this day in class when Doctor Dillamond was taken away and a new teacher comes in and Elphaba spots this scared lion cub trapped in a cage. Out of anger, she cast a spell on the class and for some odd reason it didn’t affect Fiyero. Both Fiyero and Elphaba run out in an open field to free the lion.

Through the conversation they have, Elphaba realizes that she actually loves Fiyero. “I’m Not That Girl” is a heartbreaking unrequited love song, but not fully heartbreaking in the fact that Elphaba just discovered she loves Fiyero. There was a time when I didn’t view “I’m Not That Girl” as a heartbreaking song because at the time, I didn’t understand what it meant for a musical song to be heartbreaking. But I did know the song was sad and through the help of “On My Own” and memorizing the lyrics, I realized that the song was heartbreaking, which actually strengthened and deepended the love triangle, which gave the musical a bigger sense of vulnerability.

The last time I saw Wicked, I began to wonder about Fiyero. The way he was interacting with Elphaba before “I’m Not That Girl” and afterwards when we learn he couldn’t stop thinking of the scene with the lion cub. I started to wonder if Fiyero actually had a crush on Elphaba without even realizing it.

Out of a major plot twist, Fiyero actually breaks up with Glinda and realized that he loves Elphaba. He hates the fact that Glinda is staying with the citizens of OZ because they are saying disrespectful things about her best friend. When Glinda realizes that Elphaba and Fiyero have started a relationship, she feels betrayed by both of them. The shift in unrequited love in Wicked is why my favorite love triangle is in that musical.

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So overall, love triangles provide incredible textures and are not pointless. They don’t take away from the plot. I think they actually add to a musical plot. I think the love triangles are perfect just the way they are. Christine and Raoul and Cosette and Marius are wonderful couples. What did Raoul and Marius even do wrong? What is so wrong with Phantom and Eponine having unrequited love in the first place?

Eponine is such a wonderful character and I feel like she would lose a lot of her charm and vulnerability if the unrequited love wasn’t there. If Marius was not in love with Cosette, Marius would never have been rescued from the barricade. Les Mis was crafted wonderfully and is perfect just the way it is. In the case of Phantom, Raoul is a much better fit for Chrsitne because he doesn’t seek revenge like the Phantom does. As for Wicked, the unrequited love shifts from Elphaba to Glinda.

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Author: mphadventuregirl

I am a strong spiritual person who is a big fan of musicals. This blog deals with spirituality and musicals. I am finding that by writing about these, I am realizing I know more about each of them then I think I do. I hope you find my blog inspiring!

18 thoughts on “Love Triangles in Musicals”

    1. Without these love triangles, the shows would not have as much complexity as they have. Just wish people would understand that there is more to Marius and Raoul besides their romantic side. I agree its nice that the Wicked love triangle is not hated upon. Elphaba and Fiyero are my favorite couple because you wouldn’t expect them together at all.

      Love triangles are an incredible addition to musicals. Love triangles make a lot more sense now than ever before. Before Les Mis, I knew about the love triangle in Wicked, but I clearly didn’t fully understand it. Every since I understood the emotion of heartbreak, those negative emotions are so much more clearer

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      1. I agree. For some reason the romantic aspect of both Raoul and Marius seems to overpower all of their personality characteristics for people that dislike them. I also agree that the Wicked love triangle is awesome because it’s pretty unsuspected

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      2. I feel like I have gotten to know Marius better than Raoul. Ever since I fell in love with Phantom, I have not taken the time to get to know those characters. But I know he is a sweet guy.

        As for Marius, I definitely know him. He is revolutionary and a romantic, who has a challenging family situation. That family situation gives a complexity to Marius. He is so sweet, compassionate, and kind.

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      3. I’ve gotten to know Raoul pretty well because my friend and I are always having debates over Phantom. Marius though, I’ve actually just taken the time to get to know whereas my Raoul knowledge is kind of just something that I’ve obtained due to countless rebuttals of arguments

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      4. My knowledge of Marius comes from my growing love for Eponine. When it comes to Eponine, it is easy to get to know Marius. I also have gotten to know him through the revolutionaries. But most of my knowledge really comes form being obsessed with the musical.

        I found the Phantom love triangle the hardest one to describe because I have not taken the time to get to know it. I want to say this is the most complicated love triangle in musicals. But I really feel like the one in Wicked is more complicated due to the unrequited love shifting gears on you

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      5. The Phantom love triangle is confusing because different people interpret it differently, I think. Personally, I don’t think that Christine ever saw the Phantom as a romantic prospect but more of a friend. Other people will say that she does care for him romantically but I’m not so convinced.

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      6. I don’t think Christine ever loved the Phantom romantically at all. I myself have a hard time interpreting the love triangle myself. I first saw the stage show two years ago, but the plot still confuses me

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      7. I’ve read the book multiple times as well as watched the musical more times than I can count and I just don’t see the romantic connection between Christine and the Phantom. I think that she cares for him but more as a friend than anything else. In the book, it is very evident that Christine does not love the Phantom

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      8. When I saw Phantom, I viewed Christine as the protagonist, and not the Phantom. I feel strongly for the Phantom, but still feel like Raoul and Christine are a wonderful couple. I don’t see why anyone would want Christine to end up with the Phantom.

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      9. I agree. I actually had a similar conversation with my mom after we had seen Phantom on Broadway and we were walking back to our hotel. I feel bad for what happened to the Phantom but I definitely don’t think that he should have ended up with Christine (nor would I have wanted that)

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  1. Three very worthy love triangles! Although I have yet to see Les Mis or Wicked, I am very familiar with the Phantom love triangle. Unlike many “Phans,” I don’t necessarily hate Raoul, but I am a huge sympathizer with the Phantom. However, as you stated, the Phantom of the Opera would not be the tragic love triangle that it is had the Phantom and Christine ended up together.

    Wonderful blog! I quite enjoyed reading this post and learning more about the other two love triangles I have yet to see. This post reminded me of how I’ve been meaning to watch Les Mis and Wicked.

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    1. I feel bad for the Phantom, but love Christine and Raoul together.

      I hope you eventually get to see Les Mis and Wicked. Wicked sparked my love for musicals and Les Mis made me a musical fanatic. They are my top two favorite musicals and are currently tied. Both are worth seeing

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  2. Very invmioatrfe and trustworthy blog. Please keep updating with great posts like this one. I have booked marked your site and am about to email it to a few friends of mine that I know would enjoy reading

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