Unjustly Maligned Characters From Musicals?

Ah… snow days. Another one. Man… I need to stop sleeping in so late. Anyways… I thought that I’d talk about some of my favorite examples of maligned characters from musicals. So, the point of this post is to focus on the good guys of musicals that are well… disliked or maybe even hated by fans! Achtung, fertig, los!

· Marius Pontmercy (LES MISÉRABLES) – Marius is one of the most essential characters in LES MIZ. He plays a large role in the lives of Éponine, Cosette, and Jean Valjean (and to a certain extent, Javert). He falls in love with Cosette (Éponine’s feelings for him go unrequited) and survives the fall of the barricade. But Marius’s life isn’t all sunshine and rainbows. He actually has it pretty tough in his at-home life.

· Raoul de Chagny (THE PHANTOM OF THE OPERA) – Raoul is Christine Daaé’s childhood friend / sweetheart and the ultra-good guy in PHANTOM. He always tries to do what is right and cares a lot about Christine. Christine chooses Raoul over the Phantom in the end. All-in-all? Raoul’s one sweet guy. Raoul doesn’t threaten to kill people, Raoul doesn’t kidnap people.

· Lisa (Emma) Carew (JEKYLL & HYDE) – Lisa (She’s called “Emma” in some productions but for the purposes of this post, let’s just call her “Lisa”) is Henry Jekyll’s fiancé and super sweet and really understanding. Really, I don’t think that I’ve ever come across a character so willing to forgive and so kindhearted in my entire life.

· Franz Joseph (ELISABETH) – Franz Joseph is the emperor of Austria and marries Sisi (though he was supposed to marry her sister, Helene). A lot of the time, Franz Joseph just doesn’t care about whatever Sisi is going through (if he does, he doesn’t do anything to help her). Nonetheless, he’s not a bad guy.

So, those are the four characters that I want to talk about today and brief descriptions of all of them.

Maybe you picked up on something similar about all of these characters: they’re all in love. And funnily enough, that is largely the reason why they are disliked by many fans. They’re all a part of a love triangle. And that love triangle is largely the reason for the hate that they receive.

Let’s see… Marius is loved by both Éponine and Cosette. Marius loves Cosette. That’s not liked by fans. Fans hate him for it. Raoul loves Christine. The Phantom also loves Christine. Christine loves Raoul and chooses him. Fans hate Raoul for it. Lisa is in love with Henry Jekyll. Henry Jekyll loves Lisa and is engaged to him. Lucy Harris also happens to love Henry (albeit he never knows about it). Henry Jekyll marries Lisa. Fans hate Lisa for it. Franz Joseph marries Sisi. Death love Sisi. Sisi ultimately decides that Franz Joseph is more of a friend to her, and, in her death, chooses Death instead of Franz Joseph. Fans hate Franz Joseph for “getting in the way” of that relationship.

See the pattern?

Really, hating a character because they fell in love or because they are loved instead of another character is utterly ridiculous. And yet, people do it all of the time. And for three out of four of the characters on this list, I don’t see how that’s possible.

Marius is a really sweet guy actually and has to deal with a lot of horrible stuff. Nonetheless, he fights through it and stands with his friends. He’s a good, nice guy. Raoul cares for Christine. Raoul tries to save Christine and is willing to die so that she can be free. He’s a good, nice, sweet guy. Lisa cares about Henry. She sticks up for him when his colleagues laugh at him and call him insane. Goodness’s sake… when Henry transforms into Hyde during their wedding and tries to kill her, she doesn’t freak out. No, she’s patient with him and begs him to hear her. She’s a sweet, good, nice lady. Franz Joseph genuinely cares for Sisi and fights for her. He’s a caring guy.

And yet, all of the good things about these characters get somehow overpowered by that one crucial thing: that they “get in the way” of the relationship that fans want to happen.

Now, granted, I’m not a big fan of Franz Joseph. But I don’t hate him for loving Sisi. No, I’m constantly frustrated by the fact that he doesn’t stick up for Sisi and that he lets his mother ruin his life when he could easily stop all of it. But I mean, I understand that he loves Sisi. But I don’t hate him for that. Sure, I prefer Sisi with Death but… I don’t hate Franz Joseph for loving Sisi. Because that’s just not fair.

You see, the thing is, it’s okay to dislike the characters that I’ve listed here. I get it. Not everyone is going to like certain characters. But I don’t think it’s fair to say “I don’t like this person because they fell in love with this person instead of this other person” or “I don’t like this person because this other person fell in love with them instead of this other person” or even “I don’t like this person because he/she gets in the way of this relationship that I like better”.

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So… that’s it for me, I think! What characters do you feel get hate for unjust reasons? Do you agree with the points I made here? Tschüss!

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8 thoughts on “Unjustly Maligned Characters From Musicals?

  1. Ahh Marius. Of the survivors, he is my favorite Les Mis characters. He is such a sweet and kind guy. He does care for Eponine and she did mean something to him. He is so compassionate, which is strongly shown in “A Little Fall of Rain”. Agree its not fair to hate him because he loves Cosette and not Eponine. The love triangle adds an amazing texture to Les Mis

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    1. Marius is definitely one of my favorites. I think it’s so funny that people hate him because he loved Cosette and not Éponine, as if that somehow that overpowers everything good about him. It’s kind of like Raoul’s situation. Raoul gets chosen over the Phantom and so many fans hate him. Which is crazy because he’s a really good, sweet, nice guy and really doesn’t do much wrong. But it’s that one little thing–love–that just completely destroys him (like Marius) for so many fans and that just doesn’t seem right

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      1. I would agree. Both Raoul and Marius are hated just because they are in love. Both those musicals would lose a lot of their charm if Marius choose Eponine and if Christine choose the Phantom. Why hate on Raoul and Marius? What did they do wrong? All they did was fall in love. The love triangles of both of these musicals are perfect just the way they are and if it was the other way around, those musicals may not be successful as they already are

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      2. Definitely! Les Miz would lose a lot of the tragedy in a turn that wouldn’t quite make sense. It would also disconnect Marius from the end of the musical–he’d probably die at the barricade. And Cosette and Valjean would never have parted. Who knows how that would end? Phantom would be completely and utterly ruined if Christine chose the Phantom. Nothing would be right

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      3. In addition, think about how much that would affect Eponine’s storyline. Les Mis is perfect just the way it is. If Marius choose Eponine, that would not even be right at all. One of the biggest things I love about Les Mis is the switch among Cosette and Eponine, which is why it so makes sense that Marius ended up with Cosette

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      4. Absolutely. It would lose the overall voice of the story and the story as a whole would be a complete mess. I think that Victor Hugo carefully planned every aspect of Les Miz and if Éponine had ended up with Marius, so much of all of that would be ruined

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      5. The love triangle does add an incredible texture to the musical. One of the overall main themes is love itself meaning not just romance. Because of that overall theme, it makes sense that it is a love triangle. So glad both of us love Marius and Cosette together. Everything about Les Mis is perfect just the way it is

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      6. Yep. Better to leave things the way they are. Changing even what seems to be a tiny thing about Les Miz could potentially change a lot just because of how well Victor Hugo tied everything together in his story and I think that that’s a crucial part of what has made Les Miz so successful

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