"The Miller's Son" - Finding Character in Through Lyrics
A character song from A Little Night Music (1973) that captures the lusty afterglow of a tryst between a ladies maid and a butler, "The Miller's Son" is an astute assessment of the social cast system as seen through the eyes of a domestic. Still quivering with the throws of passion, "Petra" examines what marriage would be like with a servant, a businessman, and the Prince of Wales. She resolves that she will never rise above her station, but plans to sample all of the bacchanalian joys life has to offer before she deigns to "marry the miller's son" and settle down. Stephen Sondheim's music has a sexy, laziness in the verse as the character apathetically imagines her life with men of varying places in the social strata. It is at the song's release and refrain that it bursts with a saucy exuberance and her wanton longing to break away from the constructs that will limit her options.