Are Oscar Hammerstein’s musicals characters in Carousel and The Sound of
Music a true representation of women and family structure in the period they were
Between 1945 and 1959 Oscar Hammerstein wrote two hit musicals Carousel and
The Sound Of Music In this independent project, I argue that despite their different
time settings these two musicals explore social issues of the day, including women’s
rights and transmuting roles in America’s culture, sometimes directly and sometime
obliquely. Women’s activism and the development of feminism can be seen as a
response to the previous years of domestic ideology and its contradictions. Within
14 years Hammerstein charted the liberation of women and their role in the family.
Both Carousel and The Sound of Music can be seen as an adversarial response to
These shows establish women of their times and their need for stability from their
family, emotionally and the men they were surrounded by. Carousel represents
that previously women had very little say in society and were stereotyped to stay
home, make babies, be a good homemaker and wife. Whereas in The Sound of
Music represents the ideological aggression against feminism, the belief that all
people, particularly women are entitled to freedom.
No one name is more admired in the field of American musical theatre than Oscar
Himself and Richard Rodgers originated the development of the joining of
dialogue, music, and lyrics within the musical structure. They helped increase the
importance of dance by their revolutionary work with ballet with Agnes DeMille
and Jerome Robbins. Hammerstein was among the first writer to “normal” people
as major characters in his shows and not the standard prince and p…
…haracters spoke their minds against Billy’s
abuses, even Julie herself, the victim of her husband’s rage. When he commits
suicide Julie bewails his death, but also touches on the man he had turned into
“It was wicked of you to hit me… on the breast and on the head and face… but
you’re gone now. (She sits next to him and touches his face.) You treated me
badly; that was wicked of you. But sleep peacefully, Liliom… you bad, bad boy,
you. I love you.”).
The scene when the audience aurally recognize that Billy is Violent towards Julie
in Carousel presented few but crucial differences with the original work by
In Liliom, it is Julie herself who confesses Liliom’s abuses and somehow
condemns them. In the musical Rodgers and Hammerstein introduced the
character of cousin Nettie.
“Nettie: You know something else, Carrie? Last Monday, he hit her.