The prologue begins with a scene set towards the end of the book as the Wicked Witch of the West looks down from a mile above Oz on Dorothy and her traveling companions. She sees them maneuvering toward the Emerald City along the Yellow Brick Road, which has become buckled and broken at certain sections as a result of both winter storms and agitators tearing up the road.
Not sure of what she plans to do, the Witch flies down and creeps quietly towards the group, hiding herself behind a tree as she eavesdrops on their conversation. From there, she can finally make out the companions: a huge Cat of some sort, perhaps a Lion; a Tin Woodman; and an animated Scarecrow. She also sees that the girl is carrying a dog.
From their conversation, the reader is introduced to some of the questions that will permeate the novel, both in regards to the Witch’s character and the notion of evil itself. The Lion states some of the pervading rumors: “Psychologically warped; possessed by demons. Insane. Not a pretty picture.” The Tin Woodman adds another juicy tidbit: “She was castrated at birth. . . . She was born hermaphroditic, or maybe entirely male.” All of these rumors are among those that the Witch must face throughout her life.
As the Lion and Tin Woodman continue, however, they both offer more sympathetic views based on their own tragic experiences, positing that perhaps the Witch is the way she is because she was deprived of a mother’s love, was an abused child, was addicted to medication for her skin condition, was unlucky in love, was the spurned lover of a married man, or even that she preferred the company of other women. All of these possibilities introduce the question of why a person might become evil. Perhaps they are not born that way; perhaps they become that way as a result of the circumstances of life.
While the Lion soon returns to his contention that the Witch is a “despot . . . (and) a...
(The entire section is 563 words.)