Wicked: The Life and Times of the Wicked Witch of the West

by Gregory Maguire
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How have Dorothy and the other characters in "Wicked" changed or remained the same?

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"Wicked" by Gregory Maguire is a radically different take on the original Wizard of Oz. Dorthy plays a very small role, an outsider who is unaware of the true culture of Oz. Dorothy is a newcomer who only gets one side of the story, and acts on the wizard's perogative. She is a minor character in the book, which mostly focuses on Elphaba (who is "the wicked witch of the West"). In "Wicked," Oz is not a fantastical, dreamy, fairy tale place, but a highly charged political climate where Animals are discriminated against, good and bad are a grey area, religion and technology are linked, and political unrest abounds. The "wicked witch," Elphaba, is not the same character from the L. Frank Baum novels or the movie, she is revealed as a complex character on a mission for social justice. She is an activist, a revolutionary, in a time of unrest. The Wizard is a political dictator who has overthrown the old Ozma Reagent's government. These are not your 1939 movie characters, Maguire has re-invented Oz.

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