This can happen in all sorts of literature. At first glance, some characters appear to be simple, but in reality they are complex. Today I will talk about musical characters that are like that.
Fiyero- Major Spoilers
In Wicked, it is most obvious that Elphaba and Glinda are complex. However, at first glance, Fiyero isn’t. Fiyero goes through a drastic transformation- from being a jerk to softening up to eventually becoming a courageous and mature young man.
When he arrives at Shiz, he really is a jerk. He does’t care much about anything- he has been expelled from a number of schools. When we first meet him, he accidentally knocks over Elphaba, which sends her school books flying. Elphaba honestly can’t stand him- you get the feeling that she will never fall in love with him. All he really cares about is having a good time- as shown in “Dancing Through Life”.
The Lion Cub Scene: it is important to play close attention to Fiyero. He actually has softened up a bit. Right now, Elphaba and Fiyero are in the woods getting ready to free a scared lion cub in a cage. You can tell there is a strong chemistry between Fiyero and Elphaba, which indicates that Fiyero actually has a crush on Elphaba. These two are literally like basically filtering with each other in a playful way. You also start to notice that Elphaba is falling in love with Fiyero- there is a reason why her spell didn’t affect him. The Lion Cub scene is truly when the love triangle begins. After this scene, Fiyero can’t seem to forget about this scene in particular.
There is a reason why I said pay close attention to Fiyero in the Lion Cub scene. At the end of act I, Elphaba still has unrequited love. You truly think that Fiyero and Glinda are endgame. Think again- in “Thank Goodness”, after hearing about the rumors about Elphaba, he all of a sudden realizes he is in love with Elphaba. This love triangle really does develop in the same way the characters do. So, an unrequited love shift happens- that is a huge reason why he is complex.
Through his love for Elphaba, he shows a lot of courage and maturity. He literally is willing to sacrifice his life for her, and the same is also true for Elphaba. These two don’t want the other hurt- that is why Fiyero demands “to let the green girl go”. Fiyero looks like he might possibly be tortured- at the same time, Elphaba is trying spell after spell to save him. They both are considered outcasts.
Just like Fiyero, Marius is the male romantic lead. He truly does seem like a simple character. He appears as if he is just this romantic revolutionary. However, that is far from the truth. Due to reading the book, I realized he is more complex than he seems. He has a political conflict with his grandfather, is a revolutionary, and fell in love for the first time. At the same time, he is good friends with Eponine.
It might seem as if he is a jerk, but that is not true. If he was a jerk, Eponine never would have fallen in love with him. I know it appears that way when he asks her to do these errands for him. However, Marius is the only person who treats her kindly. He does worry about her and does care- he knows of her tragic and dark life. Look, at the beginning of act II, I believe he sent Eponine away to try to protect her from getting hurt or killed during the uprising. That is why he asked Eponine: “why did you come back”. He was really worried- you notice this when he realizes she was dying. He was devastated, but yet shows compassion. He comforted her and held her in this moment- how can people not see the compassion shown in “A Little Fall of Rain”. If he truly didn’t care or have compassion, he would have left her to die alone and wouldn’t have been devastated.
What are his characteristics- awkward, kind, sweet, romantic, and brave. I actually believe that awkwardness makes him a more charming person. He may not be a tragic character, but terrible things do happen to him. He was the only survivor of the barricade. All he has left is Cosette, the love of his life. He had to deal with survivor’s guilt. The sad thing about Cosette and Marius is that at the end of the musical, the only thing they have left is each other. Together, these two bring hope to this tragedy.
Are are other musical characters you think are more complex than they appear?