Favorite Male Characters: Part 2

Yesterday, I wrote a list of my favorite male characters. Today, I will explain why I love them.

Possible Spoilers:

First up is Jean Valjean. He is the protagonist of Les Misérables. I love him because of his transformation. He is an ex-convict who has been imprisoned unjustly. He was sentenced for five years because he stole a loaf of bread to save his sister’s son. Because of trying to escape, he was imprisoned for nineteen years. When he was released, he was a hateful, harsh, and angry man. He realized that society was treat him poorly because he was an ex-convict. Through an act of mercy, compassion, and forgiveness by the bishop, Valjean was able to start his life fresh.

Years laters, he started to live by the example by the example. He was no longer angry, harsh, and hateful. He began to show compassion towards the poor. He decided to help the prostitute, Fantine, after he intervened to prevent her from being arrested. On her deathbed, Valjean promised to raise her daughter, Cosette, as his own. Valjean has this strong spirituality and is one of the reasons why Les Mis is inspirational.

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Another set of Les Mis male characters I love are Gavroche, Enjolras and the students. They are a group of revolutionaries who are planning to start a rebellion. They stand up for what they believe and they continue to stay passionate and hopeful. Even when they know they are going to lose, they still are passionate towards their cause. Of all the students, Enjolras is their leader and the most passionate about the cause.

A lot of their songs are passionate and hopeful, but in “Drink With Me”, they feel quite hopeless because they know are going to lose, but they always stay passionate. I love how they decide to take in Gavroche, a heroic boy. Gavroche is a Thenardier and the parents become his family.

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A group of characters that is similar to the students in Les Mis are the Newsies. Just like the students, they stand up for what they believe in. The Newsies are like this big one family with Jack Kelly as their leader. Of all the Newsies, my favorites are Jack and Crutchie. I love the bond they have for each other, which is clearly shown during “Santa Fe (Prologue). You discover Jack is quite protective of Crutchie. Jack is a well rounded character because he has a hobby of drawing and he eventually goes through inner conflict after seeing Crutchie being arrested after this big fight breaks out.

In Wicked, I love the character of Fiyero. But the problem is I cannot exactly pinpoint why I love him. I don’t know if has something to do with his songs or his costumes of something completely different. He starts out the story with no really caring much about anything. He is involved in a very complicated and ironic love triangle with Elphaba and Glinda. I honestly wish I know why I love this character.

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Another male character I love is the Beast. I love how complex of a character he is. I love how he eventually learned to love. At the beginning, the Beast started out as angry. I don’t blame especially after he had to live his life as beast the enchantress put a spell on him. He had to live his life as a beast and would stay that way if he didn’t learn to love. But when he met Belle, everything changed. Belle taught him the importance of love and she learned to see that is more to the Beast than the temper he always seems to have.

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What are some your favorite male musical characters?

Strong Musical Characters

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:

  1. Elphaba
  2. Glinda
  3. Jean Valjean
  4. Eponine
  5. Young Cosette
  6. Fantine
  7. Anna- King and I
  8. 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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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In your opinion, what makes a musical character strong and what are some examples of strong musical characters?

Musical Characters I Relate to

One unique thing about musicals is that you find characters you can relate to. This post will talk about musical characters I relate to: both stage and nonstage.

First up is Elphaba from Wicked. Out of all musical characters, I relate to her the most. Like me, she is smart, determined, talkative, unique, big-hearted and believes in equality and staying true to herself. Another thing that I relate to her is her friendship with Glinda. Because I relate to her so much, I have the most personal relationship with her and she is my favorite musical character. She is one of the biggest reasons why Wicked has become meaningful.

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Next up is Annie from Annie. Just like her, I am optimistic.

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I relate to Anna from Frozen. I have a very outgoing personality as well and am funny. Sometimes like Anna, I act before I think. This sounds crazy, but Anna reminds me of Glinda.

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I feel like I can relate to Belle from Beauty and the Beast. I love to read especially mysteries, classics, fantasies, and mythology. Just like Belle, I am caring and capable of seeing who someone is beyond what they look like.

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There are some characters where I can only relate to a small piece of then. I can relate in some way to Jean Valjean’s strong spirituality. Ever since high school, I have always been known I have a strong spirit.

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What are some musical characters you relate to?

Heartbreak and Inspiration of Les Mis

A progress from evil to good, from injustice to justice, from falsehood to truth, from night to day, from appetite to conscience, from corruption to life; from bestiality to duty; from hell to heaven, from nothingness to God. The starting point: matter, destination: the soul. The hydra at the beginning, the angel at the end

-Victor Hugo

Yes, Les Mis again

The quote above just shows the tale of Les Mis and how the main character’s journey progresses from beginning to end.

The musical, Les Misérables, is one of the most successful musicals of all time. The tile literally means the miserable and can even mean the downtrodden, the outcasts, and the fugitives. The title literally gives away the fact that Les Mis is indeed a very heartbreaking musical. The musical takes place during early 19th century France starting in 1815 and ending up in 1832.

 It can be quite curious as to why such a heartbreaking musical is so successful. I do remember the first time I saw the movie, the moment I learned Les Mis was a tragedy, I was so confused and sort of lost. That time around, I saw the musical as too depressing. I didn’t know if I actually liked that movie or not when it finished. I didn’t know if I would give the movie a second chance or not.

Despite all the confusion, I still decided to research the musical and learn more about the book. I even started to listen to the songs more and discover more about them. After all of that, I did decide to watch the musical movie a second time. This time around, I truly knew there was something special about the musical. I was curious as to why so much heartbreak can actually make you feel uplifted in the end. 

In Les Mis, it is important not to view the musical as just a heartbreaking musical because it is way more than that. True, most of the scenes are sad and heartbreaking, but those scenes are incredible scenes to watch as a matter of fact. The story is one of misery, heartbreaking, suffering and death, but also a story of love, compassion, hope, sacrifice, forgiveness, humanity and redemption. In a lot of ways, the inspirational side of Les Mis does exist throughout the heartbreaking nature.

The heartbreaking and the inspirational nature of this musical both show up in the prologue. The very first scene, the negative emotions enter the picture and up until the bishop scene, we see Valjean being treated poorly by society. No one is given him a place to stay, a job, or even something to eat all because he was an ex-convict. All of those scenes are heartbreaking and we can feel the injustice that Valjean faces. But enter the bishop and he offers Valjean a place to sleep and food to eat. But Valjean does still steal some silver from the bishop out of desperation and he is caught. He is surprised that the bishop actually lies and tells the police that he gave Valjean the silver has a gift and gives Valjean two candlesticks. Valjean uses the lesson that bishop taught him throughout the rest of this journey. The moment the heartbreaking and the inspirational natures clash together, the two are inseparable.

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Possible Spoilers:

You see inspiration through Valjean helping the poor once he becomes mayor. There is something inspirational about Valjean rescuing a man who has fallen under his cart. There is even inspiration when Valjean learns that a man was falsely accused of being him and Valjean turns himself in. But Valjean truly shows compassion towards Fantine, a former worker at Valjean’s factory, who turns to prostitution after being fired. Valjean promises to Fantine on her deathbed that he will raise Cosette, Fantine’s daughter, as his own. So there is compassion shown during death scenes.

Another death scene where compassion is shown is through Eponine’s death scene. She has just retuned to the barricades (different circumstance in the movie) and gets caught in the crossfire and gets shot and unfortunately her wounds are fatal. She loves Marius, a revolutionary on the barricade, unrequitedly. The moment she climbs over the barricade, Marius has no clue that she is terribly hurt. But after she collapses in his arms, Marius knows what is going on. He is truly devastated, but ultimately shows her compassion by never leaving her side. Even though he thinks it is too soon for her to leave, he still stays brave for her.

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There is something hopeful about the students standing up against the government. They are so passionate about their cause. Up until Eponine’s death, the students feel like there is a chance they will win. But after Eponine died, the students realized that they are way outnumbered and feel hopeless. But they still fight hoping that others will stand up for what they believe in. Valjean arrives shortly after Eponine died and he shows mercy and forgiveness towards Javert after he releases him from the barricades even though he promised the students he will execute Javert.

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If I never found a spiritual side to Les Mis, I feel like I would be kind of tired of the musical by now. I love feeling hurt and heartbroken in this musical because I strongly care about the characters and strongly love the plot and strongly love how the show makes you feel. You can feel hope, compassion, forgiveness, love, joy, excitement, uplifted, sad, heartbreak, guilt, loneliness, anger, hopeless, fear, desperation, devastation, depressed,  and even uncomfortable and there are even more than that. To understand the success of Les Mis, you need to see beyond its heartbreaking nature.

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The reasons why I believe Les Mis is so successful because it has incredible and memorable characters, like the angered, harsh, hateful turned compassionate and saintlike Valjean, the strict and obsessive Javert, the loving and prostitute Fantine, the greedy, abusive and comical Thenardiers, the loving, brave, neglected and lonely Eponine, the revolutionary and romantic Marius, the kind and innocent Cosette, the passionate and hopeful, leader Enjolras, and the unloved and heroic Gavroche. In addition, I love the brilliance of the story, which is the tale of Jean Valjean, an ex-convict and his journey to redemption, which includes the love triangle of Eponine, Marius and Cosette, the student uprising (AKA June Rebellion of 1832), and the story of Fantine.

But ultimately, I think the biggest reason why Les Mis is so successful is due the emotional nature of the songs. They make you feel several emotions at such a deep level all the way to the deepest level of the Holy Spirit. This musical feel so realistic and feels like you can truly care about the characters. Even though it is heartbreaking, it has several topics found in Christianity like love, humanity, sacrifice,  compassion, forgiveness, hope, and redemption. Les Mis is the most powerful musical ever and its complexity changed my view on musicals and taught me the value of tragedy in the first place.

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Favorite Musical Protagonists

This is a list of some memorable musical main characters.

  1. Elphaba and Glinda
  2. Jean Valjean
  3. Annie
  4. Jack Kelly
  5. Miguel De Cervantes/ Don Quixote
  6. Maria Von Trapp
  7. Pippin
  8. Roger and Mark
  9. Harold Hill
  10. Nellie and Emelie

Wrap-up of Les Mis Character Analysis

Major Spoilers:

For the past couple of days I have been analyzing the Les Mis characters. The ones I analyzed are Jean Valjean (protagonist), Javert (antagonist), Fantine, Cosette, Marius, Eponine, the Thenardiers, Enjolras, the students, and Gavroche. These memorable characters are one of the biggest reasons why this musical is so successful. These analysis’ shows how interlocked their lives are. It shows how they directly and indirectly they affect each others lives. They all belong in Les Mis because something no good happens to every single one of them. Most of them die by the end of Les Mis and the only survivors are Marius, Cosette, and the Thenardiers.

Below I will give a few adjectives to describe the characters. If I put an arrow, it shows if their personality changes.

Jean Valjean: bitter, harsh, angry> compassionate, merciful, forgiving

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Javert: obsessive, strict

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Fantine: loving, heartbreaking, tragic

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Cosette: broken>curious, romantic, considerate, hopeful

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Marius: revolutionary, romantic, compassionate, kind

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Eponine: spoiled> loving, lonely, neglected, unloved, brave, fearless

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Thenardiers: abusive, greedy, selfish, cruel, unloving

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Enjolras and students-passionate, brothers, Enjolras (leader)

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Gavroche: brave, heroic

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There is a reason why all of these characters are so loved. It is very hard to pick a favorite even though I love some more than others. As for the females, my favorite is Eponine and have no idea why. These characters are quite complex and you feel like you get to know them. They are so important and though most may die, most die not alone, but with somebody like Valjean being by Fantine’s side when she dies or Eponine dying in Marius’ arms.

What are your thoughts on the Les Mis characters

 

Analysis of Cosette

Major Spoilers

Cosette is Fantine’s daughter and later becomes Valjean’s adopted daughter.

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We first learn about Cosette through Fantine. Fantine had to leave her daughter into the hands of the Thenardiers. Little did she know how poorly the Thenardiers would treat Cosette. The Thenardiers make Fantine believe that her daughter is seriously ill just to make money. The Thenardiers horribly abuse Cosette and treat her like a servant. Cosette is especially scared of Madame Thenardier. Cosette hopes for a better life and through “Castle on a Cloud”, we learn she gets through the abuse through fantasies that she creates. The money that Fantine sends for Cosette is used to spoil the Thenardiers’ daughter, Eponine. Following her parent’s lead, Eponine treats Cosette poorly as well. The Thenardiers force Cosette to collect water late at night, which terrifies Cosette.

On Christmas Eve, Valjean meets Cosette for the first time. It was during one of those times when the Thenardiers sent Cosette into the woods to collect water from the well. Cosette is eight at the time and Valjean cannot believe that this is the little girl that he was looking for. A couple scenes back, Valjean promises to her dying mother that he would raise Cosette as his daughter. Valjean learns the truth about Cosette and cannot believe the abuse that Cosette had to face. Cosette was scared of Valjean at first, but later learns to trust him as they walk back to the Thenardiers’ inn.

Valjean had to buy Cosette away from the Thenardiers, but they try to make Valjean believe that Cosette is in good hands with them, but Valjean knows the truth. Cosette finally gets the freedom she wants and Valjean becomes a loving father to her. Both Valjean and Cosette are both broken and have never found love before and they help heal each other.

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-1832

Nine years pass and Cosette becomes this seventeen year old teenager. She is living with a loving father. Cosette is very protective and sheltered, which makes sense because Valjean is always on the run from Javert. This makes raising Cosette quite difficult at times. One day in the street, a law student named Marius bumps into Cosette and automatically falls in love with her and the same thing happens to her. Eponine is also in love with Marius and she is now living in extreme poverty and has become a part of the criminal world.

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The two girls lives have literally switched places. Cosette is quite curious and demands to know the past of her adopted father and her mother, but Valjean is not willing to tell her. She is even charitable, which she learned through Valjean. There is not much to her at this point in the story, but she is still an incredible character. The relationship between Valjean and Cosette is quite special. They found happiness for the first time through each other. Cosette was horribly abused as a child and Valjean faced hard labor in prison. They both have gone through some kind of trauma and through their relationship, they found some kind of happiness.

Eventually Marius find Cosette again because Eponine found the address for him. The two lovers confess their love for each other as Eponine watches in the background. At this point, the Thenardiers try to rob Valjean’s house, but Eponine screams to warn Valjean and Valjean believes that Javert has found him so he tells Cosette that they are leaving for England. Cosette does not want to leave due to her love for Marius, but even Valjean does not know that she loves Marius.

Valjean does learn that Cosette is in love with Marius in the second act after Eponine delivers a note from Marius to Cosette. Valjean heads to the barricades to protect Marius due to how much he loves Cosette. After Marius becomes seriously injured, Valjean takes Marius to his grandfather’s house. While Marius is recovering, Cosette helps take care of him. Later Cosette’s adopted father dies and all Marius and Cosette have is each other. Even though they both have happier fates than a lot of the other characters, they still have faced lots of trauma in their lives: Cosette as child and Marius watching all of his friends die.

Lots of Les Mis fans dislike Cosette just because she fall in love with Marius and because she does not have much depth to her. True Cosette is kind of one dimensional when she becomes a teenager. But there is no need to dislike Cosette because she loves Marius and because Marius loves Cosette. There is nothing wrong with the love triangle between Marius, Cosette, and Eponine. People feel like Marius and Cosette should never have become a couple in the first place and that Marius should be with Eponine. I believe that Marius and Cosette is a wonderful pairing and as a matter of fact, that relationship is based off young Victor Hugo and his first love. That is one big reason why I love Marius and Cosette together. True people might think that Valjean shelters and protects Cosette too much, but Valjean was an ex-convict on the run. So many people tend to forget about young Cosette.

There is a reason why Cosette is the logo of Les Mis. She played such a big part of Valjean’s life and she even connects to the other character’s storylines as well. She is Fantine’s daughter, involved in a love triangle with Eponine and Marius, Marius is one of the revolutionaries, used to live with the Thenardiers and because she is Valjean’s adopted daughter, she connect to Javert’s storyline because they are always on the run from Javert. Cosette represents hope and light in this tragic tale and Victor Hugo compares her to a lark. I like Cosette as a character even though she is not as developed as many of the other characters.

Next post is for Marius