I did a post a couple weeks back about what makes musical character believable. As time went on, I realized I left off a characteristic. So I am doing another post.
Below are the characteristics:
Complex– Musical characters have to be complex. These are the characters that have so many layers. There is a lot to be explored in them. They are the ones who usually face some kind of conflict in their lives. Complex characters range from Jack Kelly, Eponine, Elphaba, Jean Valjean, Beast, Glinda and Marius.
Negative Emotions– The characters who express the negative emotions are also “believable”. In real life, we deal with brought times and we do express negative emotions. It all goes back to the idea of complex. Conflict plays a huge impact on the negative emotions. The conflict has to be strong enough in order for the negative emotions to appear. Eponine, Phantom, Fantine, Marius, Jack Kelly, Beast, Nancy, Jean Valjean, and Crutchie all express negative emotions.
A character does not have to be tragic to express negative emotions: it just has to do with what happens in their lives. Marius, for instance, faces a lot of trauma at the barricade- he first has to watch Eponine die during “A Little Fall of Rain”, which leaves him devastated, and then he ends up being the only survivor so he is an example of a character who expresses negative emotions and who is not a tragic character.
Positive Emotions- Characters who express positive and negative emotions are even more realistic. I know there are characters like Eponine who expresses a lot of negative emotions but are able to experience the positive emotions. Eponine experiences happiness when she is able to die in the arms of Marius. Marius like I already said, experiences a lot of trauma at the barricade, but he does experience positive emotions such as his love for Cosette or the hope he did have for the rebellion.
Other characters like Jack and Crutchie, they very easily express positive and negative emotions. Prior to the big fight and “Santa Fe”, Jack expresses the positive emotions and does not express any negative emotion, but when he is upset that his boys are getting hurt and Crutchie gets arrested, he goes through a lot of “inner conflict” from “Santa Fe” all the way to “Something to Believe In”. Crutchie mainly expresses the negative emotions in “Letter from the Refuge”. So you have both tragic and non-tragic characters expressing the positive and negative emotions.
Flawed– This is the characteristic I forgot to include last time. Characters have to be flawed. Sometimes it can be hard to notice a character’s flaws. But it is so true. Flaws help a character become even more “believable”. Elphaba for instance can be a bit impulsive. Fiyero starts off as rather rude, but he soon learns to soften a bit and eventually matures. Beast has a hard time controlling his temper but soon learns how to control it.
All of these characteristics are part of humanity. We all have our flaws and we all express positive and negative emotions. Plus humans are very complex. There is much to humans. So when a character has all of these characteristics, they feel the most “real” and those characters are more enjoyable to get to know.
Do you agree?