In The Wonderful Wizard of Oz, why does Oz appear differently to the different characters or why do the characters see Oz differently?

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The primary theme of L. Frank Baum’s book is that a person should appreciate where they come from and what they have. The characters that Dorothy encounters—who are remarkably like people she knows back home—each desire what they believe is lacking in their life. Dorothy herself had been feeling confined and under-appreciated on the Kansas farm where the orphaned girl lived with her aunt and uncle.

Making her way to the Emerald City, Dorothy shows increasing courage and loyalty to her new friends. Everyone arrives there believing the Wizard is the one who can make their dreams reality. Of course, he is a fraud and he has no power to do this—except the power to make people see themselves in a different way by appreciating their own inner resources and the positive things in their real lives. Because that achievement is within the person, each individual projects their needs and priorities onto the Wizard’s manifestation.

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Let us remember that the wizard of Oz is "wonderful" for lots of reasons, and one of them is the way that he has managed to convince his followers that he is actually a very powerful wizard. Note what the Munchkin man tells Dorothy and her companions about this wizard in Chapter 10 when they ask to see the wizard:

He is powerful and terrible and if you come on an idle or foolish errand to bother the wise reflections of the Great Wizard, he might be angry and destroy you all in an instant.

Part of his power is his ability to transform himself, seemingly endlessly, as people come before him. Of course, what we realise as we finish the rest of the book is that the wizard is actually no wizard at all, and his power and supposed shape changing abilities are all built on elaborate tricks and ruses that deceive the people he commands just as they deceive Dorothy and his companions. The different transformations are therefore designed to perpetuate the myth of the wizard's power and might.

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