What are Your Feelings of Love Triangles in Musicals?

It is no surprise that most musicals are home to romance. Because I have been analyzing Wicked characters recently, I want to talk about love triangles in this post. In a love triangle, two people are in love with one person and things are never easy because someone gets the unrequited love, which is a heartbreaking situation to get caught up in, which was originally seen as just sad, which eventually I discovered was heartbreaking. Wicked is home to a love triangle, a love triangle that is extra special to me and is also my favorite. What exactly makes me fall in love with a love triangle in a musical? For me, I want to feel emotionally drawn to a love triangle and I want it to feel unique.

Spoilers ahead:

Elphaba, Glinda, Fiyero

This love triangle is the first one I ever emotionally connected to and ever seen. This is in my opinion is also the most complicated one. Glinda and Elphaba are two best friends, who are both in love with Fiyero. At first, it seems like Glinda and Fiyero are endgame, but a plot twist happens and Fiyero and Elphaba end up being the final couple. In so many ways, the love the two best friends have for Fiyero strengthens and tests their friendship. The friendship after all is the true center of the musical so the love triangle is crucial the development of their friendship. This love triangle provides a fascinating texture to the musical, which is something I started to understand in high school.

The two best friends, the plot twist, the growth of the three characters makes this love triangle a wonderful, but complex love triangle.

Unrequited love song: “I’m Not That Girl”

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Cosette, Marius, Eponine

This love triangle is more straightforward than Wicked’s. It isn’t silly and fits nicely into Les Mis. Cosette represents hope and light in the midst of all the tragic events going on so I love that she falls in love with Marius. While everything is sad on Eponine’s part, I love that she brings Marius and Cosette together and shows true love towards Marius. One of the most fascinating parts about Les Mis is the switch that happens between Eponine and Cosette so it makes sense that Eponine gets unrequited love in the end. One overall theme in Les Mis is love, which occurs in all aspects, which is why the love triangle fits nicely into this musical.

In so many ways, this love triangle made me understand that unrequited love is quite heartbreaking and painful and I was able to connect and bring that understanding to Wicked’s love triangle. What makes me love this love triangle? This love triangle like Wicked’s provides an interesting texture and brings a youthfulness. In many ways, I love this love triangle mostly because of Eponine due to how strong her love for Marius is.

Unrequited love song: “On My Own”

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Phantom, Raoul Christine

The entire plot of Phantom of the Opera centers on the love triangle between Christine, Phantom, and Raoul. The love triangle feels like it is the most complex, but in reality it really isn’t. This is the love triangle I understand the least of the three. The love triangle is dark and mysterious due to the Phantom and that character honestly doesn’t respond well to unrequited love. He wants to take revenge when Christine fell in love with Raoul, but to be honest Christine never loved the Phantom.

This love triangle, I honestly don’t know why I love it. It still stands out.

Unrequited love song: “All I Ask Of You (Reprise)”

Romance is a beautiful part of musicals and love triangles are really complicated thanks to unrequited love. I first started to be aware of love triangle with Elphaba, Glinda, and Fiyero and knew about the fascinating texture and then the Les Mis love triangle  showed me that unrequited love is heartbreaking, but not just sad like I once believed and then the Phantom love triangle I have no idea what to think of it.

What do you think makes a good love triangle in a musical?

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“I’m Not That Girl” Analysis

When I mean “I’m Not That Girl”, I am only referring to when Elphaba sings it. This song is very parallel to “On My Own”, which is why I decided to analyze it today.

Just like “On My Own”, “I’m Not That Girl” is an unrequited love song. “On My Own” is about Eponine’s unrequited love for Marius and “I’m Not That Girl” is about Elphaba’s unrequited love for Fiyero. As a matter of fact, “I’m Not That Girl” was my first exposure to unrequited love. I knew it was a song about a girl who loves a boy who doesn’t love her back, but I didn’t know it was called unrequited love. Well, in middle school and high school, I interpreted the song as sad. I didn’t see it beyond sad and couldn’t see anything else about it.  That was how much I understood the song and eventually I found the heartbreak in that song.

Even in 2013 when I saw the show for the third time, this song stayed sad. I was aware of the emotion of heartbreak by then, but still couldn’t find heartbreak in “I’m Not That Girl”. I don’t remember when it was but I soon made the connection to “On My Own”. When I realized it was about the same thing as “On My Own”, I picked up on the fact that the song is heartbreaking. But it wasn’t until I memorized the lyrics where I realized the song has a lot of insight built into it.

In my opinion, “I’m Not That Girl” is not quite as heartbreaking as “On My Own”. The melody of “I’m Not That Girl” even sells that opinion. The melody stays very consistent throughout. The song still has some innocence built into it with the right amount of vulnerability, fragility, and insight. The melody doesn’t sell as much strength and power as “On My Own”. I feel like my understanding of sad in musicals really shows its journey through “I’m Not That Girl”. I feel like “I’m Not That Girl” is moderately heartbreaking. The song once started out as being sad and eventually became heartbreaking over time.

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I don’t exactly know how to analyze this song. By understanding that “I’m Not That Girl” is heartbreaking, but not quite as heartbreaking as “On My Own” shows that even heartbreak is layered. Elphaba’s unrequited love for Fiyero is not as important as Eponine’s unrequited love for Marius.

I love the scene leading up to “I’m Not That Girl”. Elphaba and Fiyero are in the woods about to free a lion cub. Previously a new professor was about to an experiment on the lion cub and out of anger, Elphaba cast a spell on the class and it didn’t affect Fiyero. Well they run into the woods and through their conversation, Elphaba realized she loves Fiyero, but her best friend, Glinda, loves him as well. In that entire scene, I feel like Fiyero has a crush on Elphaba, but didn’t’ realize it. Because Elphaba realized she loves Fiyero literally just moments before she sings that unrequited love song, the song doesn’t even have room to be fully heartbreaking.

Just like “On My Own”, there are lyrics that are quite similar. One such place is where Elphaba sings “every so soften we long to steal to the land that what might have been” and that is a place of fantasy, but right after that she sings “but doesn’t soften the ache we feel when reality sets back in”, Elphaba realizes that her best friend loves Fiyero. That is just like the instances in “On My Own” when Eponine realizes that the reality is that is only in fantasy that she can be with Marius.

Just like “On My Own”, I feel like “I’m Not That Girl” goes beyond the unrequited love. There is a lyric in there that goes “I wasn’t born for the rose or pearl” and I interpreted the lyric as Elphaba doesn’t think she’s good enough for Fiyero because she’s green. For me, it is a bit ironic feeling heartbroken in “I’m Not That Girl” due to the fact that she will eventually get Fiyero in the end, but I have to feel heartbroken because Elphaba doesn’t know it yet.

So overall, I find “I’m Not That Girl” less heartbreaking than “On My Own”. I feel there is more innocence in “I’m Not That Girl” and has even less strength and power. My understanding of “I’m Not That Girl”  was strengthened thanks to the help of another song from another musical. That shows that musicals rely on each other. I feel like “On My Own” helped me understand “I’m Not That Girl” because “On My Own” is a more intense and strong form of unrequited love. I feel like it is easier for me to analyze “On My Own” than “I’m Not That Girl”. A big reason for that is that Eponine’s story revolves around unrequited love while Elphaba’s story revolves around her friendship with Glinda.

Love Songs in Musicals

The love songs in musicals are very important. When I am talking about love, I am talking about romance. In musicals there have mostly been happy romances, but at the same time there have been complicated love triangles, breakups and tragic love stories. That means that there is also heartbreak involved in love. Romance is the biggest theme in the world of musicals and is also one of the best parts. Here is list of some love songs in the world of musicals. I will include some of the heartbreaking love songs. Love tends to happen in musicals with younger characters, which is why innocence tends to be a part of them.

  1. Something to Believe In
  2. I’m Not That Girl
  3. As Long as Your’e Mine
  4. Something Good
  5. A Heart Full of Love
  6. On My Own
  7. Some Enchanted Evening
  8. Younger Than Springtime
  9. All I Ask of You
  10. You Were Meant for Me
  11. This Nearly was Mine
  12. I Should Tell You
  13. I’ll Cover You
  14. One Hand, One Heart
  15. Tonight
  16. Somewhere
  17. Love Song
  18. Till There Was You
  19. Beauty and the Beast
  20. A Whole New World
  21. Can You Feel the Love Tonight

To Love Another Person is to See the Face of God

To Love Another Person is to See the Face of God

-Finale, Les Misérables

The above quote comes from the musical sensation, Les Mis. This line is from the finale and truly represents Les Mis as a whole. Les Mis explores many different kinds of love. Love is one of the biggest themes in the show and that theme is one of the biggest reasons why the show is so inspirational despite all the heartbreak and misery.

Major Spoiler Alert:

One of the first kinds of love the musical shows is love for a child. This happens through the tragic Fantine. She is a mother who lives a very tragic and heartbreaking life. You first see her in 1823 as a worker in Jean Valjean’s factory. She has an illegitimate child, Cosette, and her child is currently living with the Thenardiers. Cosette’s father abandoned Fantine and her little girl, which led Fantine with no choice but to leave Cosette with someone else in order to get a job because having an illegitimate child at that time is not okay.

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But what Fantine doesn’t know is that the Thenardiers are terribly abusing the little girl. She receives a letter from saying that Cosette is deathly ill and needs medicine as soon as possible. But its a trap and Fantine doesn’t know that the letter is a big lie. One of the factory girls finds this letter and steals it from Fantine and reads it out loud. This causes a big fight in the factory and the foreman arrives to try to break it up. Valjean asked the foreman to solve this fight. Unfortunately for Fantine, she gets fired and this leads her into a downward spiral.  Her dreams are completely shattered and still continues to care for Cosette.

Fantine ends up selling her locket and hair and later become a prostitute as a desperate means to pay for Cosette. Soon after she becomes a prostitute, she gets into a fight with an abusive customer and she attacks the man to defend herself. But Javert demands that she is sent to jail for six months, but Valjean intervenes and demands that she is to be taken to the hospital instead. While Fantine was dying in the hospital, Valjean promises to raise Cosette as his own and this gives Fantine some peace and comfort because she knows that Cosette will be in good hands.

Another form of love of a child is through Valjean and Cosette. Valjean has to care for Cosette as he promised Fantine. Valjean learns that Cosette was terribly abused and that she is very broken. Cosette is unloved and neglected at the time. At the time Valjean picked up Cosette, she was only eight. Cosette was the first person he ever loved after being released from prison.They are both broken on the inside due to the trauma both have already faced. Cosette is so important to Valjean and that explains why it is so hard to let her go especially as she gets older.

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The Thenardiers are an expectation to love for child. It appears as if the Thenardiers loved their daughter, Eponine, when Valjean came for Cosette. Eponine is the same age as Cosette.But as the two girls got older, their situations reversed. Cosette grew up with Valjean and her life improved and she became the loved child. But Eponine’s life got even worse and her family fell into extreme poverty and she became the unloved and neglected child. This perfectly shows how Eponine’s parents are unloving and that they raised Eponine to be a criminal.

Coincidentally both girls (Eponine and Cosette)  fell in love with the same man, Marius. This created an amazing texture to the show. Marius and Cosette love each other, but Marius only has eyes for Cosette. He doesn’t even realize that Eponine loves him and that is mainly due to fact that Eponine has not even told him that she loves him. Even though Eponine loves him unrequitedly, she still does anything for Marius even if that means he wouldn’t do the same for her. So the love triangle is another aspect of love found in this musical. Some people find this love triangle silly, but is not due to Les Mis exploring different sides of love.

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Another form of love in Les Mis is the love for a country. This is shown through Enjolras, Marius, Gavroche, and the students. They are part of an underground movement and they start the uprising due to the unstable government and General Lamarque who is dying of cholera is the only one left in the government who feels anything for the poor. The most passionate of all the rebels is Enjolras. These students have a love for each other and love for France. Once Lamarque dies, they know it is time to start the rebellion the next day.

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Last but not least, there is a love for God found throughout the musical. You see this initially through the mercy of the bishop. When Valjean was released from prison, everyone would not give him a place to sleep, a job, or even something to eat just because he was an ex-convict. The bishop decided to let him stay for the night and provided a meal. But even after Valjean steals the silver, the bishop still forgave Valjean. Valjean lived by the bishop’s example during the rest of the show. He gives to the poor and helped Cosette, Fantine, and Marius. He confessed to court that he is Valjean when a man was innocently accused of being Valjean. He even helped save the seriously wounded Marius from the barricades. All of this lead to Valjean’s strong redemption at the end of the musical.

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What other kinds of love do you find in Les Mis?

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Letter to Eponine

Major Spoilers:

Dear Eponine,

I just want you to know that I have a growing love for you. I know reasons why I love you, but don’t know where this growing love comes from. I saw myself falling more in love with “On My Own” and even saw myself falling in love with the touching “A Little Fall of Rain”.

I still cannot believe your life had to be so dark and full of so much misery and sadness. I just love how you still manage to thrive despite all of that. You once were spoiled by your parents, the Thenardiers and your life was not as bad in your younger years. But once you became a teenager, you life became even worse. You had parents who used you to your advantage and terribly abused you. They dragged you into the criminal world and you had to be involved in your father’s schemes. Most people you are were around never once showed you an once of kindness. But for some reason, you were able to see the good in others despite who your parents are.

Than one day you fell in love with a revolutionary student, Marius. He was the only source of light in your miserable existence. You saw the good in him and that is why you fell in love with him. You have not once felt love from anyone and at least you are capable of falling in love. I know it truly hurt you when you saw him falling in love with Cosette. This love may have been unrequited, but Marius means the world to you. You just wanted to make sure he is happy and you showed true love despite never feeling love yourself.

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You allowed him to have his relationship with Cosette. I love how you still showed him where she lived. You even helped protect him from your father and his gang. When they tried to rob Valjean’s house, you stood up to your father in order to protect Marius and the love of his life. I know this made your father disown you. You had to completely fend for yourself because you had parents who never once cared about you.  You had to struggle through extreme poverty. You did eventually accept the fact that Marius will never be yours. Even though you hoped to be loved in return, at least there was some kind of light in your life.

This sounds crazy, but even your fate is wonderful. I find it so heartbreaking that you are going to die at the barricades. But the thing is at least it is going to be in the arms of Marius himself. You did everything you can be to be near Marius even if it means dressing up as a boy to be with him at the barricades. When Marius realized you were fatally shot, he stayed with you till the end. He offered you peace and comfort during these unfortunate moments and you were happy for once in your miserable life. True, this was not easy on Marius, but you finally realized just how much you mean to Marius. Marius truly cared about you and was completely aware of just how unhappy your life was. I just wish things could have been easier for you. You lived such a very short and miserable life. Even though you had to put up with extreme poverty, horrible parents, and unrequited love, you are still strong and still showed true love.

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Love Triangle of Wicked

Major Spoilers

The love triangle in Wicked is the best love triangle in all of musicals. I even love this love triangle more than the one in Les Mis. The love triangle in Wicked has some major plot twists, which is what makes it quite interesting.

The love triangle starts to develop when Fiyero first arrives at Shiz. He arranges for the students to go to the OZdust Ballroom for a school dance. At this point, Elphaba thinks he is quite annoying and kind of rude. Galinda( AKA Glinda) decides to ask Fieyro to the dance. Originally Boq asked Galinda, but she wanted to go with Fiyero. So she asked Boq to take Nessa to the dance instead and she only did that so that she can go with Fiyero. At this point, Fiyero and Galinda believe that they are meant to be a couple.

Later that same evening, Elphaba and Galinda were hanging out in their dorm room. The two girls have bonded at this point and a beautiful friendship begins. Galinda confesses to Elphaba that she and Fiyero will get married. But Fiyero never proposed. Elphaba has not yet developed a crush on Fiyero at this point.

One day in class, a new teacher came in after Doctor Dillamond was fired. They were doing an experiment with a scared lion cub. This maddened Elphaba and she put a spell on the entire class. But for some odd reason, it didn’t affect Fiyero. The two ran off together to free the cub. It was in this scene when Elphaba actually realized that she has a crush on Fiyero even though she still does not like Fiyero at times. Fiyero was trying to ask Elphaba to explain why the spell did not affect him. Elphaba was not able to get herself to say that she loved him. There are actually clues in this scene that show that Fiyero might have a crush on Elphaba. The two were flirting in this scene and in a way it makes you wonder if Fiyero has developed a crush on Elphaba. But Elphaba does not realize how Fiyero feels. She does not think any one can love her just because she is green.

After this scene, it was where the unrequited love song, “I’m Not That Girl”, comes into play. Elphaba is perfectly aware that Fiyero is in the middle of a relationship with Galinda. She is so heartbroken, lonely, and sad during this scene. This song is where it proves that there is a love triangle in Wicked.

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There is even the scene after this one where you begin to wonder more about Fiyero. He can’t stop thinking about the incident with the lion cub. That is another clue that he might have a crush on Elphaba. Before heading to Emerald City, Fiyero hands Elphaba a flower before she goes.

Well, in act two there is a major plot twist. It is during the song, “Thank Goodness”. Fiyero has to listen to all of the mean things that people are saying about Elphaba. This upsets him a lot and he actually realized that he is in fact in love with Elphaba and never has loved Glinda. He breaks up with Glinda and he is mad at Glinda for being a voice for those who are oppressing and discriminating Elphaba because the wizard made them believe she is in fact wicked.

Fiyero does sneak into the wizard’s palace to find Elphaba. He disguises as a guard to sneak in. Elphaba has learned that Fiyero actually has broken up with her best friend. Glinda saw the two together during this scene and feels betrayed by both of them. The two share their love for each other in a nearby forest. They know that they are both outcasts at this point and know this might be the only time they can be in a relationship.

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Fiyero does come to Elphaba’s rescue in a scene following this. Elphaba’s sister has been killed by a house falling on her during a tornado. Elphaba goes to this scene to say goodbye to her sister. Glinda kind of arranged for Nessa to die because she was so heartbroken at Fiyero leaving her and without thinking that the best way to capture Elphaba is to use her sister. The guards find Elphaba there and was about to arrest when Fiyero arrives and demands that they let Elphaba go. As punishment, they send Fiyero to the field and will torture him.

Well, seeing all of this leaves Elphaba with a lot of frustration and anger. She tries spell after spell in “No Good Deed” and feels like she has failed. She thinks she was not able to rescue Fiyero at all. She reflects on the death of her sister, the torture of Doctor Dillamond, and the possible death of Fiyero. She starts to believe she is truly wicked even though deep down she knows she is not. Society placed a false label on her and she is so lost at this point in the show.

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In the very last scene of the show, Elphaba realizes that she in fact did save Fiyero’s life. She was able to turn him into a scarecrow and they escape OZ together because they know they are wanted in OZ.

The reason why I am so fascinated by this love triangle is because of how the unrequited  love jumps. It starts with Elphaba getting unrequited love, but later Glinda ends up with it. These two best friends just happened to fall in love with the same man. You wouldn’t expect Fiyero to leave Glinda and fall for Elphaba. But like I said, there are clues throughout act one that shows that Fiyero has always loved Elphaba.

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“On My Own” and “I’m Not That Girl”

I find it quite interesting how you can have two different musical songs about the exact same thing and yet are strongly different from each other. The songs, “On My Own”, and “I’m Not That Girl” are two songs about unrequited love. “On My Own” is from Les Mis and is about Eponine’s unrequited love for Marius and “I’m Not That Girl” is from Wicked and is about Elphaba’s unrequited love for Fiyero. I see incredible differences between them in terms of strength and emotion. I see differences and similarities between the two different girls.

One way I know how different they are from each other is understanding the differences between Eponine and Elphaba during these two parts of the show itself. Both of these girls get caught in the middle of a love triangle and both live in broken families and they both are considered outcasts. They also are both quite young. The thing that makes the girls different is the lives they live. The differences in the characters is what makes one of the songs sadder then the other.

Possible Spoilers:

Elphaba is treated like an outcast in her family and society. Despite that, she still manages to find a friend in Glinda and love in Fiyero. I find it interesting how Glinda and Fiyero both fall in love with the same guy because the two girls are best friends. “I’m Not That Girl” is a song that happens in the first act and not much has happened to Elphaba at this point in the musical. You still have not gotten the full scope of who Elphaba is. In the previous scene, Elphaba accidentally cast a spell during class and it didn’t affect Fiyero. The two ran away with a scared lion cub to release it into the wild. Fiyero wanted Elphaba to say why her spell didn’t affect him, but she couldn’t even get herself to say that she loves him. She doesn’t even know if she is deserving of his love because she is green. I believe that Fiyero has fallen in love with Elphaba at this point, but I don’t think he even realizes it until the beginning of act two. “I’m Not That Girl” is a song dealing with heartbreak, loneliness, love, and sadness.

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But Eponine’s life is worse and darker compared to Elphaba’s. The thing you have to understand about Eponine is that her parents, the Thenardiers, are very abusive, selfish, cruel and greedy. She was raised by them and they taught her how to be a criminal, which means she was always around dark people in her life. She has never seen a source of light or good or even felt loved growing up. Her family falls into extreme poverty after Valjean adopted Cosette. When she meets Marius for the first time, he changed her life because she learned to love and due to her love for Marius, she was able to not develop the wicked ways of her parents.

The love she had for Marius ended up being unrequited, but the sad truth is Marius was the only light in her life. The song “On My Own” happens in the second act and by that point, you have already gotten to know Eponine and her heartbreaking situation because enough time has passed between the time you saw her as a child and the time “On My Own” is sung. In the stage show, it happens in the second act and at this moment, Marius still doesn’t know that she loves him. Eponine already has risked her life several times to make sure that Marius is happy. She helped find Cosette for him and prevented her father and his gang from robbing Valjean’s house. Eponine has decided to dress up as a boy to join Marius at the barricades and Marius notices her and sends her off to deliver a letter to Cosette. “On My Own” happens immediately after she delivers the letter. “On My Own” has heartbreak, loneliness, sad, and love in it, but is capable of anger as well.

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Because Eponine is the sadder character and due to her unrequited love being deeper, it makes “On My Own” the sadder of the two songs. Due to the emotional differences of “I’m Not That Girl” and “On My Own”, that shows that even heartbreak can be a layered emotion. Each song is full of incredible insight, honesty, and truth and both are beautiful songs as well. Both Elphaba and Eponine are strong and complex characters and are two of the most memorable characters in musical theatre.