Does Legally Blonde The Musical Offer Valuable Life Lessons?

The Musical, Legally Blonde, is based on the Reece Witherspoon movie of the same name, about a sorority girl named Elle Woods who struggles to win back her ex-boyfriend, Warner Huntington III, by sending herself to Harvard Law School to earn a law degree, to prove her worth to him.

After Warner surprisingly decides to break up with her, when she thought he was going to ask for her hand in marriage, she decides to prove what he thinks about her is wrong. She takes the Lw School Admissions Test, passes, and manages to get accepted into Harvard Law School. When she arrives she finds out that Warner is engaged to another woman, Vivian Kensington. After Vivian invites her to a party, and Warner disrespects her, she comes to the realization that he will never respect her. This prompts her to succeed on her own.

In order to succeed on her own, she studies hard and impresses many of her classmates, and professors, including winning at Internship with a Law Firm, where she meets Emmet Richmond. Both end up shunned for even associating with each other, so Elle gives him a makeover.

After the firm wins a key part of a case thanks to Elle, Professor Callahan makes sexual advances towards her, and she slaps him for it. He fires her. Warner and Vivian both see this happen through a window, but Warner only turns away in anger, leaving Vivian the only one to witness it. When Callahan leaves, Warner re-eneters the room, mocking Elle, but Vivian tells him to shut up and they both leave the room.

Following this event, Elle decides she should leave and starts saying goodbye to other folks she met, but Vivian and another convince her otherwise, and she decides to stay. Elle marches back into the courtroom and continues using her skills, causing a key witness to slip up, and ensuring their victory. At this point, Warner proposes to Elle, having been dumped by Vivian, and Elle  refuses.

Three years later, she graduates valedictorian of her class, at this point Vivian had entered the PeaceCorps, Warner completed dropped out and decided to pursue a modeling career, Callahan ran for Governor and was defeated, and his wife hired Emmet to handle their divorce. At the end of the graduation, Elle proposes to Emmet, and Emmet accepts.

What makes a seemingly stereotypical and possibly sexist musical so important? 

Although, it may appear sexist and stereotypical, Legally Blonde is much, much more than that. Elle originally goes to Harvard Law to win back her ex-boyfriend, but ends up finding within herself the ability to succeed on her own, and graduates very successfully. As she said herself, “I was living in ignorant bliss, till I learned I could be more than this.”

She gets Warner to propose to her, but declines in order to pursue something she has found that she is really good at. Instead of Emmet “getting down on one knee” and proposing, it is Elle who does this, and he accepts. That is not sexist, but actually more feminist.

After Professor Callahan makes sexual advances towards her, whom was originally her competition, Vivian Kensington, ends up becoming her ally and ensuring she stay at Harvard Law. As Vivian Kensington states at the graduation ceremony, “William Shakespeare wrote ‘To thy known self be true, and it must follow as the night, the day. Thou canst not then be false to any man.’ I believe this wise statement most applies to a woman, a blonde woman. Over the past three years, she taught me and showed us all, ‘Be true to yourself’ never goes out of style. Ladies and gentleman, our valedictorian, Elle Woods!’

Elle Woods started as a follower, and grew to be a leader among those who knew her, and did so genuinely, and in the face of adversity.

Role Reversals

It’s really important to recognize how the roles that both Elle and Warner played ended up reversing. Elle was thought the superficial unintelligent one trying to be something she wasn’t at Harvard Law, but become more than that after showing many people she was capable and thoughtful, even if her attire didn’t automatically give that away about her.

Warner not only came to regret breaking up with her, but also lost Vivian Kensington, and dropping out of college into the industry we could have easily pegged Elle Woods doing at the beginning of the musical. Warner proposed, and she declined, and instead proposed to Emmet, not what she had initially dreamed at the beginning either. It was Warner, not Elle, who become the object to look at, maybe not listen to, by the musical’s end. Appearances are not always what they appear to be, and we should all remember this lesson.

The Important Journey

Although, Elle originally went to Harvard Law to get back Warner, it was by going there that she met Emmet Richmond. Her relationship with Emmet is never displayed as one-sided bliss. He sees something in her and despite being shunned by the Law Firm, continues to associate with her, and she, in turn, gives him a makeover.

Appearances Are Intelligent

Above all else, this musical reminds us that not only can one be interested in how things physically appear, but also see through that what may appear one way, isn’t actually how things are, simply by looking at things with a finer detail. Elle Woods tears down female stereotypes, by simply not being appearance-driven, but also by becoming the dream she always wanted. In order to be successful in our everyday lives, we must acknowledge that appearances matter, even when they may be deceptive, or seem unimportant. By doing so, and this way, we may uphold all of our collective humanity, instead of simply the parts we may really like, or disregarding those we may really dislike. Only through this method can we really truly grow and find ourselves in the world we live in.

Why Did Elle Woods Propose At The End?

At the beginning she was only expressing superficial traits, to try to get by, but once she succeeded in not only getting into college, but becoming a valued student, the perspectives on her most desired dreams changed with this experience. It no longer mattered, by that point, who proposed, and Elle felt confident enough in her skin to decide to propose the person she wanted to marry.

This also shows some perspective on how tradition ranked hugely important at the beginning for her, but her dream, by the end, was to buck that tradition.

Conclusion

Legally Blonde The Musical is a fantastic musical that really offers some great lessons to learn, and that is what makes it really fantastic.

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