Wicked: The Life and Times of the Wicked Witch of the West
by Gregory Maguire
Good vs. Evil Quotes in Wicked: The Life and Times of the Wicked Witch of the West
How we cite our quotes: Citations follow this format: (Volume.Chapter.Paragraph) and (Volume.Chapter.Section.Paragraph)
[Sorcery is] a practical skill, like – like reading and writing. It's not that you can, it's what you read or write. Or, if you'll excuse the play on words, what you spell. (188.8.131.52)
Though Glinda is talking specifically about sorcery here, this idea can also apply to the theme of good and evil. What a person chooses to do is what makes them good or evil, not the fact that they can do something.
"You're eschewing all personal responsibility. It's as bad as those who sacrifice their personal will into the gloomy morasses of the unknowable will of some unnameable god. If you suppress the idea of personhood then you suppress the notion of individual culpability."
"What is worse, Fiyero? Suppressing the idea of personhood or suppressing, through torture and incarceration and starvation, real living persons? (3.9.8-9)
Vocab points to Fiyero here. Snazzy word choice aside, he is basically just saying that it's bad to not take personal responsibility for your actions. We definitely see a lack of personal responsibility with the Wizard, who has his "I can do what I want!" routine down pat. It's interesting though that Elphaba, by the end of the novel, is desperate to take responsibility for something, be it Madame Morrible's "murder" or freeing the Lion cub. How might this attitude be just as bad as refusing personal responsibility?
"I say you save the innocent bystander if you can ...but not, not, not at the expense of other, realer people. And if you can't save them, you can't. Everything costs."
"I don't believe in the concept of 'real' or 'realer' people." (3.9.11-12)
One of Elphaba's biggest character flaws is that she tends to place people and Animals on a sort of hierarchy of worth. Fiyero argues that one person can't be "realer" or worth more than another; Elphaba disagrees. How might Elphaba's own personal experiences, and particularly her fraught relationship with Frex, contribute to her attitude here?