Tag Archives: Tzeitel

Fiddler On The Roof Character Review: Hodel

*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.

There is only one certainty in life: change. In Fiddler On The Roof, Hodel is the second of Tevye and Golde’s five daughters. In the beginning of the story, Hodel states her choice of her future husband: the Rabbi’s son. Her elder sister, Tzeitel is quick to burst her bubble. Their father is a dairyman.  Daughters of dairymen do not marry Rabbi’s sons. Being the smart ass that she, Hodel laughs it off.

Then Perchik enters the picture. Perchik is a young man traveling through Anatevka who has ideas that do not mesh well with the locals. While tutoring Hodel’s younger sisters, it becomes clear that there is chemistry between her and Perchik. But when the time comes, Hodel will have to make a decision: stay with her family or follow Perchik into the unknown.

To sum it up: In choosing to join Perchik in Siberia instead of staying in Anatevka, Hodel is willing to accept change. Even if it means that she may never see her family again. Change often comes whether we like it or not. As writers, when we create a character who is faced with change, how the character deals with the change is a mark of their character. It’s up to the writer to determine if the character will accept the change or fight it.

 

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Fiddler on the Roof Character Review: Motel

*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.

Any writer worth their salt will tell you that one of the basic elements of a story is a character arc. The character starts off in one place and ends in another place. One of the under used common character arcs is that of a character who find the confidence to speak up for himself or herself and while doing so, makes their dream a reality.

In Fiddler On The Roof, the audience is introduced to Motel as Tzeitel’s childhood playmate and hopeful intended. The problem is that he is a poor tailor and Tzeitel’s parents have chosen a husband for their daughter who is higher on the social and economic scale. The problem is that every time he tries to ask Tevye for his blessing, he bumbles it up. Motel, to put it bluntly, in the beginning of the story needs to grow a backbone.

He does so, by finally asking Tevye to break tradition by asking for his blessing to marry Tzeitel.  It’s not easy, especially considering the strict rules of the era and the fact that he is quite terrified of Tevye when we meet him initially. But he does so, in spite of the fear and receives the blessing he has hoped for.

To sum it up: Motel’s journey reminds me of one of my favorite Carrie Fisher quotes:

“Stay afraid, but do it anyway. What’s important is the action. You don’t have to wait to be confident. Just do it and eventually the confidence will follow.”

Motel’s journey feels very human. Sometimes the one thing we need to succeed when taking a risk is confidence, even if we don’t feel we have it. Motel takes the risk, knowing that Tevye could easily say no and force his daughter to marry the much older and wealthier butcher. But Tevye says yes and Motel’s risk pays off. In life as in fiction, taking a risk and having the confidence to do so is never easy. The outcome of the risk is not guaranteed. But we’ll never know until we try.

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Fiddler On The Roof Character Review: Tzeitel

*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.

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Filed under Character Review, Feminism, History, Movies