So, first and foremost, sorry that this post is coming out so late! I didn’t have time to write it this morning before classes started up because I realized that what I wanted to take on was going to take a lot longer than I initially anticipated and eventually, I realized that it would be ultimately too difficult to really format the analysis for “Defying Gravity” / “Frei und Schwerelos” [Free and Weightless] from WICKED so instead, I settled for “Dancing Through Life” / “Tanz durch die Welt” [Dance Through the World] from WICKED so that I can analyze the differences between the two interpretations of Fiyero!
As I’m already running behind on schedule, this is kind of more of an analysis of Fiyero through the song and the two different translations. Therefore, I’m only picking a few stanzas to compare and contrast!
“The trouble with schools is They always try to teach the wrong lesson Believe me, I’ve been kicked out Of enough of them to know They want you to become less callow Less shallow. But I say: Why invite stress in? Stop studying strife And learn to live “the unexamined life””
I think here, it’s immediately clear that Fiyero doesn’t like schools merely because they don’t agree with him. They’re just not right for him. However, as we go to the German version…
“Ich halt nichts von Schulen. Was du da lernst, das kannst du vergessen Ich weiß das. Schließlich flog ich aus genügend Schulen raus Vielleicht wird man von Lernen weiser Und leiser. Doch soll man sich deshalb stressen? Studieren lohnt kaum Für den, der weiß: “Das Leben ist ein Traum.” [I think nothing of schools. What you learn there, you can forget. I know this, I’ve been kicked out of enough schools. Perhaps one becomes wiser through learning and quieter. But should someone put themselves under stress for that? Studying hardly repays. For him who knows: Life is a dream.]
Now, it’s here that I see the biggest difference of character in Fiyero. In the German version, he does have well… arguably (depending on how you view things) good points about why he doesn’t like school. It’s not just that he thinks that they’re dumb because they disagree with him but rather that he truly doesn’t think that the things that you learn in school are worth subjecting yourself to a life of stress and quietness. In fact, here, in the German version, Fiyero almost sounds like a revolutionary rallying the Shiz students. And that’s kinda an interesting spin on his character, I think.
And, for my last stanza pick, I chose:
“Dancing through life Swaying and sweeping And always keeping cool Life is fraught less When you’re thoughtless Those who don’t try Never look foolish.”
So, you might think, “Why this stanza?” Well, let’s jump to the German version, shall we?
“Tanz durch die Welt, Werd nicht gescheiter. Man kommt viel weiter Mit Ignoranz. Was ist wichtig? Zu leben, und zwar richtig. Darum leb’, So als wär’s ein Tanz …” [Dance through the world, Do not be clever. One gets much further With ignorance. What is important? To live, rightly. Therefore live, As if it were a dance …]
Okay, so, I think you can see the difference here as well. In the English version, Fiyero is essentially just trying to tell the Shiz students not to study and not to try. In the German version, Fiyero’s perspective on life is really brought out. He thinks that it’s better to go through life joyfully without having to feel the intellectual need to analyze every situation. Therefore, “One gets much further with ignorance.” And then, we see that Fiyero views living as more important than studying and being smart. He wants to live a life full of happiness and joy.
So now, maybe you have a new view of Fiyero? I don’t know! I’ve always been a little confused by Fiyero due to being brought up with the German version (which I love) and then being introduced to the English version later on (which I also love). While it’s the same Fiyero, I feel like the way we see him is pretty different in the two versions. I don’t know! What do you think? Vielen dank und tschüss!