- First appearance in: "The Wonderful Wizard of Oz"
- Author: L. Frank Baum
- Year: 1900
Another complicated character, the Wicked Witch of the West, has been reexamined by modern revisionists. The Wicked Witch of the West first appeared in L. Frank Baum's "The Wonderful Wizard of Oz," where she ruled over Winkie Country. She teamed up with the Wicked Witch of the East, the Wicked Witch of the South, and Mombi to conquer the Land of Oz, dividing it among themselves. While not particularly powerful in her own right, she does express great power through the creatures she controls. Through the Golden Cap, for example, she can compel the winged monkeys to obey three of her commands. In the novel, the witch's fascination with Dorothy Gale is solely based on Gale's possession of the silver shoes, which are a power multiplier. As Gale is protected by the Good Witch of the North's kiss, the Wicked Witch of the West cannot kill her, but she does enslave Gale. When the witch makes Gale trip over an invisible bar, forcing one of the silver shoes off, Gale angrily throws a bucket of water on the witch, killing her. Water is argued to be a purifying element in many religions, so arguably it "purified" the witch.
The revisionist novel "Wicked: The Life and Times of the Wicked Witch of the West" painted the witch in a more sympathetic light. Named Elphaba, this witch was the illegitimate daughter of the Wizard of Oz, sired when he raped Elphaba's mother, Melena Thropp. Through her mother, Elphaba was a princess of Munchkinland, eligible to claim the land's highest title. Her green skin denied her a father's love, despite the fact that her sister was born with no arms. She would become best friends with Glinda, the Good Witch of the North. Following the death of her lover, Elphaba turned to magic and joined the Wizard of Oz resistance, as the Wizard was seen to be a tyrant. When Dorothy Gale's house crushed her sister, she was reunited with Glinda. But after learning that Glinda gave away the slippers that her father gave to her sister, she became enraged. The two would remain estranged until Elphaba's death from the bucket splash, as detailed in the Baum novel. In the musical, however, Elphaba has no such water allergy and used the rumor to escape and to get a fresh start, escaping through a trapdoor in the ensuing confusion.
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