Her Campus Logo Her Campus Logo
The opinions expressed in this article are the writer’s own and do not reflect the views of Her Campus.
This article is written by a student writer from the Her Campus at Temple chapter.

The truth behind Evan Hansen 

Dear Evan Hansen,  

Today is going to be a good day and here’s why, because today, at least you’re not a villain, and that’s enough! 



The Broadway musical Dear Evan Hansen began its Broadway run in July of 2015, and ended its run very recently, on September 18, 2022.  The musical centers around an anxious high school boy, Evan Hansen, who struggles with his mental health and socialization. Another loner student, Connor Murphy, tragically commits suicide in the beginning of the show, with a letter that Evan wrote to himself in his back pocket. 

When the Murphy family finds Evan’s letter in Connor’s pocket, they assume that the letter was one that Connor wrote to Evan, showing that they were close friends. Evan doesn’t deny this, and continues to pretend that he and Connor were close friends, and frequently wrote letters to one another. The truth was that Evan was supposed to be writing encouraging letters to himself, and one day Connor caught him printing one out, and stole it from him.   

Many people are extremely critical of Evan’s actions, and frame him as a villain. They claim that by lying to the Murphy family, he was taking advantage of them. They also argue that Evan was using the situation to get close to Zoe Murphy, Connor’s younger sister that Evan has always had a crush on. However, if we look at Evan’s character as a whole, we can see that he was not a villain, but a complex human being. 

Evan never intended to lie to the Murphy’s. When he first heard that the Murphy’s thought that Connor was writing letters to Evan, he planned on coming clean. However, when the confrontation actually happened, the Murphy’s didn’t give him a chance to speak before saying how happy they were that Connor actually had friends. Evan could see in their eyes that they needed to believe that Connor had friends, and was a good friend. They needed something positive to remember him by. Evan never saw the lie as a way to get close to the Murphy family, or to Zoe, but as a way to give a grieving family the support they needed. He saw how much the Murphy’s needed the letters to be real, and knew that their world would be shattered if they knew the truth. The family needed to have a positive way to think of Connor. 

Evan’s family life was very difficult. His parents divorced when he was seven years old, and his father completely left them, starting a new family in a different state. Evan’s mother cared about him but had to work so much just to make ends meet for her and Evan. This left Evan alone a lot. When the Murphy family became attached to Evan, because of the friendship they thought he had with Connor, Evan was given a chance to have the parental support he never had before. He finally had a place he could go and eat a home cooked meal, or learn how to play baseball.  He got to have the family he never had. 

Faking a friendship with Connor not only allowed Evan to help the Murphy family, but he was able to help himself again. By faking the friendship, Evan was able to convince himself that he had a friend and that he wasn’t alone.  The things that Evan would “say to” Connor, about how he’s not alone, were reminders to himself. It was like he was able to tell himself that he was not alone and that he was worthy of love, through Connor.   

One of the main points of the story is that Evan broke his wrist by falling out of a tree over the summer. When Evan actually did fall out of the tree, he was by himself, and didn’t fall, so much as jump. When Evan fell, he laid there, helpless on the ground, for 10 minutes, before someone who worked at the orchard found him. In every story that Evan tells of Connor, they would go to the Orchard, and climb together. He tells a story of how he and Connor were climbing up a tree to see the sky, and that’s how he fell.  He says that Connor helped him immediately. Evan clung to this story and this idea because it was all he wanted. All he wanted was for someone to be there to help him up if he fell.  By faking this friendship, Evan was able to rewrite his own story, and convince even himself that he was not alone. 

Evan is an anxious teenage boy with no one around to really support or help him. He is not a grown adult with the resources to fully cope with his deep-rooted issues.  Yes, he had access to therapy, but he had no support outside of that therapy.  For therapy to be really effective, there needs to be support afterwards. Evan did make mistakes, and what he did wasn’t necessarily right, but he did not have any ill intent behind his actions. He just wanted to do what he saw was helping a grieving family, and also feel supported and cared for.   

Painting Evan Hansen as a villain is reductionist, and it erases the complexity behind his character, and his character’s motivations. Evan Hansen is a representation of all anxious teens who feel alone, and like they have nowhere to turn.  Almost anyone in that situation would take support from wherever and whoever they could get it from.

People will not always do the right thing, because human beings are flawed. But we can’t write people off for the actions they take alone, we have to understand why they do what they do. There is no villain in Dear Evan Hansen, because each character is human and each character is complex. They all make mistakes, and do the wrong things sometimes, but they all had good intentions behind every single one of their actions. That is how we should judge a person’s character. Not by the actions they take, or the mistakes they make, but by their intentions. 

Sara Siegel

Temple '25

Hi! I'm Sara, and I am a sophomore public health major at Temple! I'm writing for the opinion section, which is perfect for me because I always have a lot of opinions and love to share them! Outside of school and Her Campus, I love music, shopping, fashion, and spending time with my friends and family!