*Warning: This post contains spoilers in regards to the narrative and characters from the musical Fiddler On The Roof. Read at your own risk if you have not seen the movie or any of the stage adaptations.
There is something to be said about a well written, human character. They leap off the page and speak to us as if they were right in front us, as flesh and blood human beings, instead of fictional creations.
In this series of weekly blog posts, I will examine character using the characters from Fiddler On The Roof to explore how writers can create fully dimensional, human characters that audiences and readers can relate to.
Love, especially young love, creates new sensations and a new reality. Especially when one lives in a repressive society where marriage is not based on love, but on family status and income. In Fiddler On The Roof, Tzeitel is the oldest of Tevye and Golde’s five daughters. She knows that marriage is in the cards for her immediate future. She also knows that in her world, she has no say in choosing her husband.
The husband that has been chosen for her is Lazar Wolf, the local butcher. The problem with Lazar is two-fold: first, that he is much older than she is. The second is that she is in love and has agreed to marry Motel, her childhood sweetheart. Her father does not know about Motel and might force her to marry Lazar instead of Motel.
In the end, Tzeitel marries the man she loves, but not before experiencing a few obstacles.
To sum it up: A young woman in love is not a new character trope or narrative. It is up to the writer to distinguish this very basic character and narrative in order for their story to stand out. In Fiddler on the Roof, Tzeitel is willing to break tradition just to marry the man she loves. In her era, women are second class citizens. The only career open to them is marriage and motherhood. By standing up for her love and her future, Tzeitel is taking a small, but important step toward feminism and female autonomy.