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)
Work together, Fiyero found himself thinking, hardly aware he could have such a thought. Work as a team – there are twelve of you and only one of him. Is it your differences from one another that keep you docile? Or are there relatives inside who will be tortured if you make a break for freedom? (3.11.13)
The scene where Fiyero witnesses the Gale Force guards abusing political prisoners, including a Bear cub, is really crucial in his character development. This scene also demonstrates the political themes at work in the book.
"In folk memory evil always predates good.". . .
"One never learns how the witch became wicked, or whether that was the right choice for her – is it ever the right choice? Does the devil ever struggle to be good again, or if so is he not a devil? It is at the very least a question of definitions." (188.8.131.52-5)
Oatsie manages to synthesize a bunch of major themes here. (Way to go, Oatsie!) This idea of evil predating good in folk memory really speaks to Maguire's thoughts upon writing this novel. In a number of interviews, Maguire noted that the Wicked Witch was this sort of icon of evil in the Western world. After her death, "evil" is about the only thing anyone remembers about her; Elphaba doesn't really exist anymore.
Oatsie continues, talking about how no one ever questions evil or tries to explore it. Maguire might have made a pitch similar to this when he went to get Wicked published; it's basically the untold story of evil.
Nothing in the Grimmerie on how to depose a tyrant – nothing useful. Armies of holy angels were not answerable to her. Nothing there that described why men and women could turn out so horrible. Or so wonderful – if that ever happened anymore. (184.108.40.206)
This idea of how and why people can be good or evil is never really answered in the book, which is probably the point. Perhaps one of Elphaba's biggest problems is that she slowly loses the ability to see the "wonderful" in the world, or the faith that it still exists.