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)
Frex was aware that the Clock of the Time Dragon combined the appeals of ingenuity and magic – and he would have to call on his deepest reserves of religious conviction to overcome it. If his congregation should prove vulnerable to the so-called pleasure faith, succumbing to spectacle and violence – well, what next? (1.2.14)
Frex's conception of good and evil are heavily influenced by his religious beliefs, which bear a strong resemblance to Christianity, and particularly Protestant denominations. Frex seems like a bit of a Puritan here (with his horror of "spectacle"), so it's interesting to see how his strict moral code holds up for the rest of the book.
"But maybe there's something to what you say," said Elphaba. "I mean, evil and boredom. Evil and ennui. Evil and the lack of stimulation. Evil and sluggish blood." (126.96.36.199)
The idea of evil as some sort of emptiness, or lack, recurs a couple of times in this book. Elphaba here seems to have taken on some of her father's religious ideas. The connection between boredom and evil is reminiscent of the maxim that "idle hands are the devil's tools," which dates back to Chaucer. The moral here is to be careful the next time you're bored, or you could become evil. Or a Wicked Witch.
"When goodness removes itself, the space it occupies corrodes and becomes evil, and maybe splits apart and multiplies. So every evil thing is a sign of the absence of deity."
"Well I wouldn't know an evil thing if it fell on me" said Galinda. (188.8.131.52-2)
Elphaba here takes the connection between boredom and evil even further, suggesting that evil might be a sort of vacuum, or an absence of good. This makes good seem pretty flimsy, since evil pops back up the second good decides to go on vacation. We can see this theme crop back up in Elphaba's actions, or lack thereof, at the end of the novel, when she seems so jaded and disaffected.