In my opinion, strong musical characters exist. It can be quite difficult to understand what makes a character strong. Some of them have very challenging lives and they tend to know how to thrive. Some of them are very strong-willed and even can be stubborn.
Here is the list I think of at the moment:
- Jean Valjean
- Young Cosette
- Anna- King and I
- Maria- Sound of Music
What exactly makes all of these characters strong? Well, both Anna and Maria are very strong-willed and both the Captain and the King both call them difficult women. Those two might be the most surprising on this list, but I know they are strong-willed.
Young Cosette is quite a strong character. She is Fantine’s daughter and her mother had to leave her in the hands of the Thenardiers. Little does Fantine know that the Thenardiers are going to treat her daughter poorly. The Thenardiers horribly abuse the little girl and forcing her to be a servant. Young Cosette is quite optimistic and is always positive that she will eventually get rescued. She eventually does after Valjean comes to take her away after promising to her dying mother that he will raise Cosette as his own.
Thinking of Young Cosette, I would like to talk about Eponine. Eponine and Cosette have an interesting dynamic in a way. Their lives completely switch places. While Cosette was rescued from the Thenardiers and gets a better life, Eponine is stuck with them her whole life. Eponine has to grow up pretty quickly due to how the Thenardiers will treat her. Her parents are quite horrible towards her and she gets the same treatment that Cosette got. She becomes the abused, neglected and lonely teenager and was raised to be a criminal. Her life has gotten even worse and all she sees in her life is darkness.
All of this is highly important to order to understand her. Even though she was treated horribly, she is brave and tough and manages to not fully develop her parents wicked ways. I think that might have something to do with Marius. What makes matters even worse is that she has only one source of light in her life. That would be Marius, but she falls in love with him unrequitedly, but she is quite protective when it comes to him. She would anything for him and he is what keeps her going. He is the only person who treats her kindly and he does care about her even though he is unaware that she loves him..
Jean Valjean is both physically and spiritually strong. He is well known for his physical strength. The book compares his physical strength to the strength of four men. He also is very spiritually strong. When released from prison, he is a very angered, harsh, and hateful man. But through the forgiveness, kindness, and compassion shown by the bishop, Valjean starts his life fresh and lives by the bishop’s example. His actions clearly show that. Whether that is promising Fantine he will raise her daughter, saving Marius from the barricade or turning himself in when an innocent man was believed to be him or forgiving Javert, his spiritual strength shows. He has to live his life as an ex-convict and it is his spiritual strength that makes him show compassion and forgiveness and always lives by the bishop’s example.
Fantine is quite a heart-renching character. She was abandoned by her lover leaving her to care for Cosette. She has to abandon her child in the hands of the Thenardiers. She even was fired from Valjean’s factory and had to turn to prostitution to provide for her child. She received a letter from the Thenardiers telling her that Cosette is deathly ill, but little does she know that Cosette’s guardians are actually scamming Fantine out of money and that they are horribly abusing her daughter. It is the love of Cosette that keeps Fantine thriving. In an act of self-defense, she attacks a man after he sexually harassed her and Valjean intervenes to prevent her from being arrested. She does not know what will happen to Cosette and Valjean decides to promise Fantine that he will raise Cosette as his own.
As far as Glinda, it is hard for me to describe why she is strong. But I know that she is. I do know that she has to face people spreading rumors about her best friend and she still sticks by even though it does hurt her. Fiyero even leaves her for Elphaba.
As far as Elphaba goes, the strength is easier to notice. Elphaba has been treated like an outcast her whole life. Her father hates her because she was born green and blames her for the reason why her mother is dead and why Nessa is disabled. Even at school, people still misunderstand her. She befriends Glinda and Glinda becomes her best friend and the story centers around their friendship. Even in the second act when the Wizard makes the citizens of OZ believe she is Wicked, she is still strong. She has always been misunderstood, but she is such a wonderful young woman. She truly does develop through this musical. At the beginning she is very hopeful full of innocence, but it is during “Defying Gravity” where she truly matures and finds a new purpose in life.
In your opinion, what makes a musical character strong and what are some examples of strong musical characters?