Audiences relay morbid support towards the enjoyment of horrific entertainment. Such examples are the success and long-standing allure spectators hold towards musicals such as Phantom of the Opera, Spring Awakening, Heathers, and more. These are shows that include themes of death, darkness, and tragedy which are presented. Using Abraham Maslow's Hierarchy of Needs and Motivation, The Jungian Archetype of Shadow, and Catharsis I will show how audiences are supportive of protagonists who portray actions resulting in death, darkness, and murder despite the societal pressure to find such subject matter as offensive, vile, repugnant, or obscene. By referencing the characters found in Sweeney Todd, Little Shop of Horrors, and A Gentleman's Guide to Love & Murder and through deep analysis and study of these psychological ideas, I plan to show how spectators ultimately fulfill their own Maslownian and Shadowesque desires from witnessing such instances of horrific entertainment resulting in catharsis.
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Master of Arts (M.A.)
College of Arts and Humanities
Length of Campus-only Access
Masters Thesis (Open Access)
Nuñez, Lesly, "Musicals, Murders, and Motivation: A View on the Audience and Their Support Towards Musical Murderers through Maslow" (2022). Electronic Theses and Dissertations, 2020-. 1061.