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Razzle Dazzle - Chicago

The other night in my screenwriting class we were discussing villains and antagonists. Someone asked if a villain had to be the antagonist. For some reason, I started thinking about Chicago…and…I can’t even figure out who the protagonist or antagonist would even be in this film. I asked my teacher, and it stumped him, too.

The obvious guess would be Roxie is the protagonist, and Velma is the antagonist….but… Velma doesn’t follow the main guidelines for an antagonist. She doesn’t really do anything to thwart Roxie’s goals, and at times Velma can even seem like the protagonist and the audience really feels for her (I Can’t Do It Alone, I Am My Own Best Friend, and Class are songs that come to mind.)

Also, a protagonist drives the story and action driven. Roxie has some golden moments of moving the story along, like when she makes up the story about having a baby, but a lot of the time she is reactionary and doing whatever Billy Flinn tells her.

Could Velma be the protagonist? That baby stunt that Roxie pulls really fucks her over, but.. She doesn’t do much to react to it.

Maybe both can be the protagonist. However, neither of them really change at the end. They work together and are successful, but - there isn’t any personal growth aside from the fact that even though Roxie hates Velma she chooses to work with her in the end.

If both are the protagonists, then who or what is the antagonist?

I thought maybe, Oh, the press or the Judicial system? That’s what the two are fighting, and what moves their actions in the entire story. But the press is wishy washy. A typical antagonist is reactionary and always acts against the protagonist - but…the press works for them at times, and they are both acquitted.

GAH. I don’t know. Ha, I love this musical and hated the movie when it came out, but the movie is slowly growing on me. I want to figure this out! I want to know the structure! Maybe I’m forgetting some details. I should watch it again.

Also. This song is pretty sexy. I want to be as beaded and feathered and glittery as these circus girls, and just as blonde as Roxie. Doop!:)

Filed under antagonist catherine seta jones chicago film literary devices protagonist questions razzle dazzle screen writing screenplays screenwriting sexy sexy structure roxie hart velma kelly