Happy Halloween, y’all! Today, I have a little fun with the characters from the Addams Family. If you don’t know about them, please take some time to dig up (har-har) some of the old Charles Addams cartoons from the New Yorker. Or the Tee and Charles Addams Foundation. Such a lovely, spooky sensibility that plays with the border between “normal” and “weird.” Perfect for today, the traditional border between autumn and cold, hungry winter.
Morticia Addams: She is the Goddess stereotype. As a tempting maiden, she drives her husband crazy. But she also is a fruitful mother of two children. And her calm demeanor and mysterious taste in all things home and hearth make her rather crone-like. She owns her domain, and dominates it.
Gomez Addams: He’s apparently an entrepreneur and he’s obviously a very rich man. But his role in this drama is the wise fool. His passion for his wife turns him into a complete idiot – but he’s happy. He bumbles around the house and sometimes with his business, but he always comes out right. A cliff could be crumbling at his feet, and he’d find a vine to cling to. He’d escape the crisis with scarcely a stray piece of lint on his tidy three-piece suit. In order to be so
foolish, he must have some hidden depths. We rarely see them. But his athleticism is astonishing. And, well, there’s the money. Morticia is not foolishly in love with him, but I do think she deeply loves him, and we can see why.
Lurch: Lurch is the tall, monstrous butler. He’s got that Frankenstein quality about him, and may have been constructed rather than born. Lurch is the silent critic. He is eloquent with his moans and groans, and sometimes a grunt and a pained look on his stiff face is enough to steer the rest of the madhouse to sanity. Sometimes, he just suffers while the chaos continues. He works on a variety of levels. He is often the moral center of our drama, even though he rarely contributes a single word to the dialog.
Wednesday and Pugsley: The children. I am tempted to class them as simple comic relief, but in many ways, little Wednesday is a goddess in training, just like her mother. And Pugsley could easily grow into the kind of wise fool that his father is. They may be a motif.
Thing: Thing is my very favorite character. He (She?) is a hand in a box that moves about mysteriously in the house. What is Thing doing in this drama? I’m not quite sure, but I love it. Perhaps, Thing is the Hand of God. Thing is very wise, knows just what to bring to the situation, and is eloquent in its silence.
Cousin It: Another favorite of mine. On the surface, Cousin It seems to be a bit of a hippy. Everyone has an embarrassing relative in their family tree, although the Addams never seem to see Cousin It that way. Perhaps It’s charm lies in It’s visible appearance. It looks like haystack of hair. I’m not sure how to class It in a more classical way. I am intrigued to find that Cousin It rounds out a trio of characters who don’t use English as a method of communication. Maybe these three speak more to our right brains than our left.
Uncle Fester: Uncle Fester looks like a wise fool, and I’m not quite sure which branch of the family he belongs to. But Uncle Fester is the one character who demonstrates a sort of real magic: he lights up a light bulb with his mouth. This isn’t useful magic, but he does often enlighten us when the plot becomes a bit murky.
Grandmama: Like Uncle Fester, her family tree is a bit tangled. I’m not sure whose mama she is. She says she’s a witch. I can’t remember any of her magic spells working. If Uncle Fester is the crazy guy in the basement, she’s the crazy woman in the attic.
Did I miss one of your favorite Addams family characters? Which Halloween archetypes do you like best?