Lines from Songs in Musicals That Just Sum Up the Characters

Guten morgen, leute! So, yesterday, I was being weird (as usual) and skipping through songs on my playlists, just going to certain parts that I really, really love from those songs and then, sometimes, I’d think: “Hey… that line just really sums up that character perfectly!” And well… that’s what this post is going to be about! 15 lines from songs that I feel sums up a character perfectly. Quick note, though, before we begin! Not all of the lines are sung by the character themselves (but most of them are)! Los geht’s!

1. “Ja, ich weiß, er hat mich übersehen, ganz egal, ich muss zu ihm stehen.” (“Yeah, I know he overlooked me; doesn’t matter, I must stand by him.”) from the German version of “On My Own” [Nur Für Mich] from LES MISÉRABLES – Personally, I think that this line just really describes Éponine so well. Éponine knows that Marius isn’t (and will never be) in love with her, but she sticks with him anyways. So… I’m pretty obsessed with this line because, in so many ways, it’s just perfect!

2. “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.”) from “Der Schleier Fällt” [The Veil Descends] from ELISABETH – Sisi is a historical figure that a lot of people speculate about. And while many historical figures are treated much the same way, I think that this line sums up Sisi pretty well. We’ll never know for sure who Sisi was. We’ll never know for sure what she was like. Because she was her own person. And that rings so true of her personality, I think.

3. “And yet, dolls can be beautiful… they live within a different world. So easy on the eyes… but careful not to touch! It wouldn’t do for you to touch or come too close at all…” from “Reflection” from A TALE OF TWO CITIES – Sydney Carton… of course. Who else would say something like this? Sydney sees himself as worthless and practically a waste of life. And I think that this line, especially the last part, “It wouldn’t do for you to touch or come too close at all…” is so fitting. Sydney doesn’t see himself worthy of anything good in life. And well… this song in general sums that up really well.

4. “Our little lives don’t count at all.” from “ABC Café / Red and Black” from LES MISÉRABLES – Enjolras! …Of course. And really, I oftentimes think that this is one of the strongest lines in relation to the students. His claim here is reiterated when he dies (rephrased, I should say) when he says “Let others rise to take our place until the earth is free!” I think that this line just in general holds true to what Enjolras believes in and ultimately why he doesn’t feel scared about dying.

5. “You’d really have thought she’d ought to be dead…” from “Grizabella, The Glamour Cat” from CATS – So, this is sung by Demeter about Grizabella. And man… I love this song! It’s so hauntingly beautiful. But, I think that this line just rings so true when it comes to Grizabella. Not that I think that she ought to be dead. No… more that that’s what the tribe thinks of her. And really, the main plot of CATS, some would say, is Grizabella’s redemption and being “reborn into a new Jellicle life”. So… I just think that this line really screams “Grizabella!”

6. “The Rum Tum Tugger is a curious cat!” from “The Rum Tum Tugger” from CATS – Need I say more?

7. “Doch wir sind nicht gemacht fürs Glück, für seine Stürme und Gefahren.” (“But we’re not made for happiness, [but] for his storms and dangers.”) from the German version of “I Dreamed a Dream” [Ich Hab’ Geträumt vor Langer Zeit] from LES MISÉRABLES – So, I’ve fallen in love with this line. Really, really fallen in love with it. Because it’s so true. And while I’m talking about this in application mostly to Fantine, I’d also like to go ahead and relate it to all of the characters in LES MIZ. Because this line sums the whole story up pretty well. But man… this line just holds a lot of weight and especially for Fantine, you can see how it applies. Fantine’s life has pretty much been just one big tragedy. She wasn’t “made for happiness”. And I don’t know… I just really, really love this line!

8. “Denn ich gehör nur dir.” (“Because I belong [only] to you.”) from “Ich Gehör Nur Mir Reprise” [I Belong (Only) to Me Reprise] from ELISABETH – Franz Joseph is not, by any means, my favorite character in ELISABETH. And it’s lines like this that just really makes me feel “meh” about him. While, yes, this line could be taken in a “aww… that’s cute!” way, that’s not how I look at it at all. Throughout the musical, we see Franz Joseph letting his life be controlled by his mother. And that’s really what caused Sisi to withdraw from their relationship. He just really couldn’t stand up for himself and wouldn’t stand up for her either. And here, yes, he’s just stood up to his mother, but I don’t know… something about this line just makes me feel as if he’s walking up a mountain of sand and each time he takes a step, he slides back. Maybe that’s a bit harsh. And I don’t mean that I hate him as a character either. But I think that this line’s just a pretty accurate representation of his personality.

9. “Miss Eyre, I tell you this because I want you to know… that I, with some luck… without shame, without blame—all the curse of my name—I might’ve been as good as you.” from “As Good as You” from JANE EYRE – Mr. Rochester here is being pretty straightforward and honest. He doesn’t hide the fact that he’s not necessarily been the best person in his life—nor is he necessarily at this point either. But I think that something about this line is just so… him. I don’t even really know how to explain it, really.

10. “Ich geh nie mehr zerückt, das ist vergangenheit! Ich bin frei, endlich frei! Und ich fühle mich wie neugeboren!” (“I will never go back, that’s [in the] past! I am free, finally free! And I feel like a newborn!”) from the German version of “Let it Go” [Ich Lass Los / Lass Jetzt Loss] from FROZEN – So… I talked a little bit about this a few posts ago when I was talking about listening to Disney songs in other languages. And these lines just completely blew me away. Seriously. Aren’t these words so Elsa? I don’t know… I just feel like so much of Elsa’s childhood got stripped away due to her parents’ reaction to her powers, and she’s always been restrained. Hearing her rejoicing in this newfound freedom is absolutely amazing. And then, having this exclamation of feeling like a newborn? Man… it’s just really powerful, I think and it really just seems to emanate who Elsa is.

11. “So, I won’t betray his trust, those people say I must. I’ve got to stay true just as long as he needs me!” from “As Long as He Needs Me” from OLIVER! – For fans of OLIVER!, how Nancy ends up is no surprise. And really, her devotion to Bill Sykes and her love for him is what leads her to that end. But this line pretty much sums up the why factor in all that. And I don’t know… this line just really sums up Nancy in a nutshell, I think.

12. “Why shouldn’t I fly so far from here? I know the girl I might become here!” from “Palace Walls” from ALADDIN – Have I mentioned yet that I’m a huge fan of Jasmine and ALADDIN in general? No? Well… I am. There, I said it. But man… this line just is Jasmine to me. And one of the reasons why I’m so glad that this is in the Broadway / stage productions is because I feel like we get to kind of see this side of Jasmine in the movie but somehow, this song just brings that out 10x better!

13. “And if I’m flying solo, at least I’m flying free! To those who’d ground me, take a message back from me!” from “Defying Gravity” from WICKED – I feel like Elphaba’s story is largely about doing what’s right and gaining confidence in herself (and of course, her friendship with Glinda) and I think that these lines from “Defying Gravity” just really is Elphaba as a character in a nutshell.  

14. “My heart is stone and still, it trembles…” from “Javert’s Soliloquy / Suicide” from LES MISÉRABLES – Javert, Javert, when will I ever fully understand you? Well… if I’m going to be honest with myself, I probably will never, ever fully understand Javert. But this line helps loads. Javert is hard-set in his morals and belief (his heart is stone), but Valjean has completely changed the game, making him doubt all that he lived his life by and thought was true (his heart trembles). And man… this line is just so amazing to me. I love it so much. Sums Javert up pretty nicely, I think!

15. “I’m reviewing the situation…” from “Reviewing the Situation” from OLIVER! – And finally, Fagin. Fagin just goes wherever things are looking best for him. When the going gets rough, he wants to run. And well… he’s very indecisive about things. He never seems to know quite what he wants. He just wants security. And well, this song demonstrates that very well. The back-and-forth is really powerful and his constant “reviewing of the situation” is very… him.


And just as I’m finishing up this post, I’ve thought of the perfect line that I could have used for Emanuel Schikaneder from SCHIKANEDER. Ah, well! Maybe a sequel to this post is coming soon! Anyways, what are some of your favorite examples of lines from songs that just pretty much describe a character? Tschüss!


4 thoughts on “Lines from Songs in Musicals That Just Sum Up the Characters

  1. You are sure right about Javert when you say will I ever understand you and I feel like I never will, but than again that is part of what makes him memorable. It is so hard thinking of lines that just best describe a musical character


      1. Makes sense. Javert is one of the most complex musical antagonists. He is one of those characters that I did not spend time getting to know. My knowledge of him mainly comes from seeing the show in any form and listening to the songs. I as a matter of fact still struggle with understanding “Stars” and what it is about, but it is a beautiful song


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