The musical called Fiddler on the Roof was set in Anatefka, Russiaaround 1880-1900. During this time, in this small town, held Tevya andhis family.
Tevya, husband and father of five daughters, is a cynical,obstinate, determined, yet sensitive to feelings, and caring man. He isa clever philosopher and sticks very much to tradition. In the storyTevya says Anatefka is our home…
to keep in balance by tradition…This explains the title which is personally understood that throughTevyas eyes, without tradition, life would be as a fiddler on a roof,unbalanced.
This story, demonstrates the precarious lives of theRussian Jews of the late 19th century. The main character, Tevya,compares their lives to that of a fiddler on a roof with only traditionshelping them keep their balance. However, throughout the story,Tevya is forced time and again to face and break traditions.Tzeitle, Tevyas oldest daughter was supposedly to be prepareda husband by her parents with the help of Yenta (the old gossipwoman who also makes matches). Tzeitles parents agree with thematch-making to Lazar Wolf the rich old butler. The problem is thatTzeitle is in love with Mottle, the poor tailor and pledged each otherthey would marry. The bigger conflict appears when Tevya finds outand also after he told Lazar Wolf he could marry his daughter.
Tevya,after having a nightmare with Lazar Wolfs ex-wife, threatening to killTzeitle if she marries Lazar, and after realizing the true feelings of hisdaughter, Tevya broke the tradition.The second oldest daughter, Hodel, goes through a similar routeas her older sister Tzeitle. The only main difference was that Hodeland her fianc didnt expect permission. They wanted Tevyasblessings. Tevya, puzzled, upset, and surprised, begins to slowlyaccept after thinking of the pros and cons. When Tevya doesaccept, he tells his wife and runs as if not to get scolded.The third eldest daughter Chava had a guy in mind also.
Theonly problem was that this guy Fyedka was a Russian Gentile, not aJew. When Tevya noticed that, he could definitely not have that atall. Tevya at first would not give them his blessing, which would breaktoo much tradition, in Tevyas eyes at that time he only saw fourdaughters.In the end of the musical, the whole village was forced to leaveby the Cossaks at the Tzars command. Things still went well with thefamily leaving because they were leaving to begin a new life inAmerica with hope. Tevya was eventually reconciled the fact thatthere was nothing wrong with a marriage that wasnt arranged bythe families and also outside religion. Throughout the story, theconcept of changing times is brought up.
Tevya accepts that timesand traditions are changing, his daughters are grown up and in love,and he accepts the marriages which shows the first step ofaccepting these changes. As the Tevya says, with everybodyknowing their place in the order of life, they are allowed to scratchout a living balancing like a fiddler on a roof.Words/ Pages : 474 / 24