The past two days, I talked about what makes a character simple and what makes a character complex. I do love characters that are both simple and complex. Why do I exactly love both of those sets of characters.
Just like simple and complex plots balance things out, the same applies to the simple and complex characters. Some of the musical characters I love are Annie, Crutchie, Winthrop, Elphaba, Glinda, Fiyero, Young Cosette, Eponine, Enjolras, Fantine, Jean Valjean, Gavrcohe, Jack Kelly and Maria (Sound of Music). This list consists of both simple and complex musical characters. All of them just have something about them that makes me fall in love with them.
It can be hard to describe why I love simple and complex characters. Some of the characters I love are characters I can actually relate to and some I don’t. Annie is a simple character, but it is her optimism that makes me love her. In the complex characters, they tend to be more well-rounded and it can be enjoyable to get to know them.
You think you might know them, but then you realize there is more to them than what meets the eye. For instance, Jean Valjean is one of my favorite complex characters due to the spiritual journey he goes through and how he responds to his moral dilemmas. Up until the bishop scene, you would think he would stay a thief, but through an act of kindness, compassion, and forgiveness, he starts his life fresh.
All of the characters I love are just incredible characters. It can be hard to describe what makes a good character. Naturally I would be more drawn to the more complex characters because they feel the most real and are the most fascinating to get to know.
Some of these complex characters have an incredible relatability like Elphaba for instance. Out of all musical characters, I relate to her the most. She is smart, determined, talkative, big-hearted, different and believes in equality and staying true to her self. I admire the strength and courage that she shows. Out of all the Wicked characters, she is the character I am the most familiar with and I understand her the most. I love her relationship to Glinda and her relationship to Fiyero. Even though she is misunderstood, she still has an incredible purpose in life.
As for the simple characters, I can relate to Annie due to her optimism. Just like Annie, Young Cosette also has hope. Young Cosette is so hopeful and despite being horribly abused by the Thenardiers, she gets through it through the fantasies she creates. She constantly has hope that she will eventually get rescued. She eventually gets rescued by Jean Valjean. In my opinion, Young Cosette is more complex than Annie is.
A good character is a character where you can find something special about them and sometimes you are surprised by how they respond to their current situation. Eponine for instance may have been raised to be a criminal and is terribly abused, but it is surprising that she somehow doesn’t fully develop her parent’s wicked ways which might have something to do with Marius. Another unique thing about Eponine is that she does anything for Marius despite her love for him being unrequited and he gives her a purpose in life and gives her some kind of light in the midst of the darkness she is always surrounded by.
Fantine is a character that isn’t tragic by a tragic flaw. Her downfall was caused by society. I love how despite how horrible and tragic Fantine’s life, she does everything for the sake of Cosette. Even though she does everything for the sake of her daughter, she has no idea that her daughter is currently being terribly abused. She never stops thinking of her little girl and she trusted Valjean to raise her daughter as his own and he does.
Than there are Jack Kelly and Crutchie from Newsies. The thing I love about Jack is how he is protective of Crutchie and truly cares about his brothers. He is a dreamer who is always dreaming of going to Santa Fe. I love exploring the inner conflict he eventually goes through. Crutchie is a wonderful character and despite having a bum leg, he does not think twice about it. He is just a character you can easily get to love.
Sometimes I end up questioning complex characters and that is what can make them interesting. It is not just relatability that makes me fall in love with a character, but if its a character I cannot relate to, I end up loving them due to how they respond. It also has something to do with their songs.
Still I honestly don’t have a good idea of why I love both simple and complex characters. I gave a few examples to explain why I love some of these characters, but it can be harder to describe why you love a character when you don’t even relate to them.