Wicked: The Life and Times of the Wicked Witch of the West
by Gregory Maguire
Wicked: The Life and Times of the Wicked Witch of the West Theme of Religion
A Unionist, a Lurlineist, and an Agnostic walk into a bar and...get into a deep philosophical discussion about the meaning of life and evil. OK, religion – a major theme in Wicked – is more exciting than that. There is a lot of philosophical discussion, but religion is also something people live, practice, and feel, not just ponder academically. We see this with Frex, who dragged his family off to Quadling Country in a fit of missionary zeal. We see it with the immediate political implications of various creation myths and the mythical origin of the Animals. We see it with Elphaba's agnostic doubt and Nessa's evangelical conviction. Religion is a constant (and often violent) part of daily life in Oz, inseparable from science, politics, and magic.
Questions About Religion
- Many different creation myths are referenced in the text, particularly in Volume 2. How are their differences and similarities significant, and what do these myths tell us about the various belief systems in Oz?
- There are a lot of different religious belief systems in Oz: Unionism, Pleasure Pfaithers, Tiktokism, etc. Do they have any parallels to religious faiths in the real world?
- Does Elphaba really believe in "nothing"? If not, what does she believe in?
- A lot of the religious and mythical beliefs in Oz place an emphasis on women. How is this thematically significant?