Character Analysis: Into The Woods

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The content and style of Sondheim’s musicals work together to speak to the themes of his work. Each show has a slightly different theme, but certain ideas string together all of his works. For example, many of his shows deal with the idea of duality and the extremes; in his shows, he portrays every topic as multi-faceted, neither one thing nor the other. Consequently, his lyrics use concepts of “binary polarity and the transformations of opposites into each other” (Banfield, 9). Because he writes each character to live in the gray area between two extremes, antagonists in his stories do not have purely evil intentions. Throughout Into the Woods, the Witch frightens the protagonists, which suggests that she will remain evil throughout the play.…show more content…
Although the audience might be uncomfortable because of what he has to say, these three aspects of his shows work together for the sake of clarity. Although his musicals use different styles, Sondheim makes sure that the structure fits the play’s setting and uses his creativity to add insight and clarity to the characters’ emotions. In addition, Sondheim mixes conventional and unconventional methods of storytelling, progressing the plot at a steady yet exciting pace and using romance in different ways. Finally, his shows always contain deeper messages about society and humanity, detailing nuance while offering solutions for the future. With his style, content, and themes, Sondheim pushes the audience away, causing them to think differently about musical theatre. He shows that the genre can offer more than acting, singing, and dancing. In fact, musical theatre reflects reality and goes deeper than surface level. Although he pushes some audiences away, he still intends that they understand the depth of his shows. Therefore, he uses meticulous precision in the words sung by the actors and actresses on stage. Sondheim’s scrupulousness has paved the way for bright-eyed innovators who want to add their own spin on the genre, and because of Sondheim, the field of musical theatre accepts change. Since his popularity on Broadway, other similar writers follow his example, but throughout Stephen Sondheim’s canon of musical theatre lyrics, he alters the requirements for musical
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