Does Evil Really Exist?
Does Evil Really Exist?
Wicked, the Life and Times of the Wicked Witch of the East is a fantasy book by Gregory Maguire. It follows the life of the Wicked Witch, the character from the Wizard of Oz, from her birth to her death, or her pseudo-death. It also explores the question the nature of good and evil.
The main character is, of course, the Wicked Witch, Elphaba. She is born green, with really sharp teeth, and afraid of water. When she gets near water, she just gets really scared, and when she cries or a couple drops of water get on her it burns her. When she is still young her father, who is a minister, decides they will move to the Quadling country to try to convert the people there to the faith of the Unknown God. Elphaba is described many times throughout the book as “prickly.” She is intelligent, and likes to get people to think. She is also convinced that she doesn’t posses a soul, in part to thwart her father’s religious convictions, and partly because she truly believes she doesn’t.
Then, there is Galinda. She meets Elphaba at boarding school in the town of Shiz, where they are paired as roommates. Galinda acts like a ditz but is actually quite smart. She is obsessed with becoming popular, until Doctor Dillamond dies. Then she becomes a little more serious and disenchanted with her old friends.
Doctor Dillamond is a Goat. Animals, with capital A’s, are treated as full human citizens until the Wizard arrives. They are able to speak and take part in society, but the Wizard passes bans on travel and employment. Doctor Dillamond is working on an important scientific experiment to show that there is no difference between Animal and human tissue, and therefore the bans could also apply to humans. He makes a major breakthrough, and then is murdered by Madame Morrible’s tick-tock machine. Madame Morrible is the headmistress of Shiz and works for the Wizard.
Nessarose, Elphaba’s sister, is born without arms. She is annoyingly religious, and her fathers’ favorite. Elphaba once says about her: “If she ever comes down off that plinth–the one that has words written on it along the edges in gold, reading MOST SUPERIOR IN MORAL RECTITUDE–if she ever allows herself the be the b**** she really is, she’ll be the B**** of the East.” She becomes the Wicked Witch of the East. Fiyero is a prince from the Vinkus, the west of Oz. He meets Elphaba, Galinda, and Nessa at Shiz.
The first part of the book is all about Elphaba’s childhood in Munchkinland. The next section picks up with Galinda on the train to Shiz, and goes through her and Elphaba’s school days. Madame Morrible tries to get them to work for the Wizard, but she puts a spell on them so they won’t remember.
Afterwards, Elphaba goes “underground” with a revolt against the Wizard. Fiyero spots her one day, and they start talking. Even though she tells him to go away for his own safety, he keeps meeting up with her and they have an affair. Elphaba tries to murder Madame Morrible but fails. Fiyero, who watched her, goes to her apartment, where members of the Wizard’s private army are waiting. When Elphaba comes back, she finds massive amounts of blood all around the room, but no body. She goes into shock, and seeks refuge with a religious order. It is implied she has a son but you never actually know because she was in a coma for the first year. She stays for seven years in all.
Elphaba, with her son Liir, goes to the Vinkus to beg forgivness from Fiyero’s wife, Sarima. Sarima is dead set against Elphaba telling her anything upsetting, so Elphaba’s wish is never fulfilled. By now, Elphaba has learned a little magic from a book she found in Sarima’s library, but is actually from our, and the Wizard’s, world. Nessarose, who is now the ruler of Munchkinland and a witch, writes, and Elphaba goes to visit. While she is gone the Wizard’s forces storm the castle and carry off Sarima and her family, leaving only Liir.
After seven years of unsuccessful search for the family on Elphaba’s part, Dorothy and the tornado arrive, killing Nessa. Elphaba had always wanted Nessa’s shoes, and had gotten Nessa to leave them to her in her will, because they were a symbol of their father’s love for Nessa. When Glinda gives them to Dorothy, Elphaba sees it as a betrayal, and sets out after Dorothy. She realizes that she