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Help with University essay, please?I am doing an essay on musical theatre for my university course. I am mainly focusing on the pleasures of theatre in relationship to Les Miserables.
My main focus is the outcasts of this musical.
My question is, what is it about outcasts (Javert, Fantine, Eponine, etc) that makes you love this musical? What are your feelings towards those outcasts?
Also could you please state what else makes you love Les Mis.
Any feedback would be greatly appreciated, thanks xxx
Let’s see… it’s hard to put into words what makes me love “Les Mis.” I don’t entirely understand why I love a work that’s so full of angst and gloom and that makes me hate society: other works with similar subjects just depress me. But somehow, I’ve adored it since middle school. I love the music, for one thing, but it’s certainly more than just that. I suppose I love it because it’s epic, because it’s Romantic, because it has such a rich array of characters, because it’s filled with such meaningful themes, because it ultimately has such an uplifting message, and because it’s so emotional and cathartic.
As for the individual outcast characters (I‘ll just go for the most obvious ones, even though virtually every character - yes Eppyboppers, even Cosette - is an underdog in some way or other)…
Valjean: I like him because he’s so strong and so noble, yet at the same time a believable everyman, because he runs the emotional and moral gamut throughout the story and has rich potential for characterization (even if some actors don’t take advantage of it and just play him as a one-note saint), and because he has such deep love for his adopted daughter, even if the musical underemphasizes it. He’s the quintessential protagonist whose depth, goodness and humanity even I (an Aspy girl who sometimes feels like a different species than everyone else on earth, especially men) am affected by.
Javert: I like him because he’s a complex, fascinating character, because he has such a dramatic, cathartic final breakdown, and because even though he’s the antagonist, he’s convincingly human. More and more I’ve been seeing myself in him: every now and then I find myself thinking rigid thoughts like “So-and-so did such-and-such one time, that makes him an unforgivable jerk,“ and I have to remind myself not to be so Javert-like.
Fantine: I like her because of Susan Boyle… KIDDING!! I like her because her situation is so emotional, because she’s so loving, strong yet vulnerable and full of feeling. I don’t quite understand why so many of the “fans” ignore her - maybe because too many actresses some across as just a stereotypical weak woman victim. If I were playing her or directing the show, I’d certainly bring across her passion, strength and depth of agony for all to see.
Eponine: I like her (in the musical) for most of the same reasons as I like Fantine. Because her role is emotional and cathartic, because she’s both strong and vulnerable, and (don’t shoot me!) because she’s romantic. Not that I like the cutesy, sappy Fanon!Ponine, but the fact remains that in the musical she’s clearly meant to be a romantic figure, and being a sucker for romance, as long as she still has a fair amount of street rat grit, I like her that way.