Yesterday’s post, I talked about characteristics I look for in a musical character. But as the day went on, I realized I left off a characteristic that is highly important to a wonderful musical character. That characteristic would be strength.
Why do I look for strong musical characters? To me, strong and complex characteristics seem to go hand in hand with each other. The strong characters are the ones who go through some kind of conflict. Strong characters tend to be courageous as well. Strong characters manage to somehow thrive no matter how tough their lives may be. Some strong characters as a matter of fact don’t have really tragic lives, but end up with inner conflict at some point into the story.
What are examples of strong characters? I find Young Cosette, Fantine, Eponine, Jean Valjean, Elphaba, Glinda, Belle and others as strong. Each of them are strong in their own way. They all are strong in various ways. Some of them are strong spiritually or emotionally. Something keeps them going in their lives, which could be something they believe in or even a person. It takes strength to make sacrifices and some of these characters have to sacrifice a lot in order to stay strong.
Fantine, Jean Valjean and Eponine sacrifice a lot for the ones they love. They do sacrifice happiness for either Cosette or Marius. Both Valjean and Fantine sacrifice for Cosette. Eponine sacrifices her happiness for Marius and that is an act of true love. Belle sacrifices her freedom in order to save her father from imprisonment in the Beast’s castle. Some strong characters don’t sacrifice, but still are strong.
Young Cosette stays strong through all the horrible abuse she faces at the hands of the Thenardiers and stays strong and gets through by imagining a better place. Even Eponine has to stay strong when she becomes horribly abused by her family and when they make her participate in their criminal schemes. Eponine’s strength is her love for Marius and he is the light of her life.
Elphaba has a very difficult life and stays strong and courageous and always stays true to herself and despite all of the discrimination she faces, she never abandons the cause she believes in.
What are some other strong characters? What do you think makes a strong character?