As a kid, I was always relatively used to tragedy in musicals even if I didn’t understand the whole tragedy thing. Now, though, I pick out tragedy easily. So… today, I’m talking about my favorite tragic characters. Let’s say… ten? Los geht’s!
1. Sydney Carton from A TALE OF TWO CITIES – Sydney Carton just bleeds tragedy. Well… not literally of course. But he is a tragedy in and of himself and so is his story. His whole story just hurts. From his feelings of uselessness to his final sacrifice, everything is just one big tragedy when it comes to Sydney. And man… it hurts. It really hurts, but I can’t help but love him.
2. Sisi from ELISABETH – If you were to ask me what lyrics I think most accurately describe Sisi are I would say: “Die welt sucht vergebens den sinn meines lebens, denn ich gehör nur mir.” (“The world is searching in vain for the meaning of my life because I belong to me.”) And I think that that line just really, really shows the tragedy of Sisi’s life. People will look at her as the empress of Austria and think that her life must’ve been blissful. And at first glance, it might seem that way. But it’s not. She just wanted to be herself and be a part of the circus. She never got that though. No, she fell subject to a tyrant of a mother in-law. A mother in-law who took her children from her and tortured her to the point of making her want to commit suicide. And then, she suffered the death of her children. That’s her tragedy. And it’s such a real tragedy that it hurts. It really hurts.
3. Rudolf from ELISABETH – Rudolf was Sisi’s son. Sisi, in an attempt to save herself, began to do what she thought of as necessary and that involved leaving Rudolf behind. And Rudolf became suicidal and killed himself. He killed himself because he felt alone in the world. There seemed to be no one there for him.
4. Éponine from LES MISÉRABLES – Éponine is well-known for her tragedy. It’s probably one of the most well-known tragedies of all time. She’s known for the unrequited love that she suffered from. But one of the most tragic parts of her life is completely overlooked by so many people. Éponine’s parents were horrible towards her. Éponine’s parents forced her to steal. Éponine’s parents caused a lot of pain in her life. And to me, that’s one of the biggest tragedies of her life.
5. Fantine from LES MISÉRABLES – Fantine was the first character from LES MIZ that I really fell in love with. She’s one of those characters for whom there were once happier times but we never really get to see those. She did everything for Cosette. She died for Cosette. And she loved her through all of it.
6. Javert from LES MISÉRABLES – In my opinion, Javert is probably the most tragic character from LES MIZ. And… I know that’s not really a popular opinion. But hear me out. Every character in LES MIZ has their tragedies. Every character in LES MIZ has something of a tragedy about him. But Javert seems to have no tragedy surrounding him throughout the story. He does what he thinks is right. But he was also born inside of a prison. And then, at the end of his life, when he lets Valjean go… he feels all of the misery and pain crashing down on him, driving him to suicide. He doesn’t get a lifetime to spread out the feelings of misery. He gets minutes—an hour at most.
7. Cathy from THE LAST FIVE YEARS – With Cathy, her tragedy is something that occurs way too often. Man… it’s hard even to talk about. But… I will say that if you just go ahead and watch the musical, you’ll know what the tragedy is within the first five minutes. And you’ll get what I’m talking about. All it takes is that first song.
8. The Phantom (Erik) from THE PHANTOM OF THE OPERA – The Phantom’s tragedy is easy to explain as it’s the basis of the whole story, essentially. It’s the whole reason why he is the Phantom. He’s suffered through a bad childhood and abuse from his parents. He suffered the world despising him for how he looked. Now… while I don’t particularly like the Phantom’s character, I do find it easy to pity him and feel horrible for him for all that happened. It’s all stuff that shouldn’t ever happen to anyone. And while that doesn’t excuse all of the murdering and hurting he did to other people, it does make him a character that one can pity.
9. Lucy Harris from JEKYLL & HYDE – Lucy’s tragedy is that she never got to see her dreams come true. She never got to free herself. She got caught in a horrible life and she could never fly from that place. She never got to get away.
10. Claudia from LESTAT – Claudia would have died on the streets without Lestat, that’s true. But… she did die. She died and then became a vampire because of Lestat. And the tragedy? Well, Claudia would have been happier dead than trapped in a never-changing form where she’s doomed to be a child forever; all of her hopes and dreams stripped away from her.
Whew. That’s done! So, who are your favorite tragic characters? Tschüss!