In Oz, who you are isn't always as important as who people think you are. The entire kingdom perceives Dorothy as a powerful sorceress because she killed the Wicked Witch of the East, but she sees herself as a girl from Kansas.
The Great and Terrible Oz came to town under similar circumstances, but he works hard to intentionally mislead people. He has convinced an entire kingdom of people that he has Gandalf-level wizard powers, but really he's just a regular guy.
Other characters are so consumed by their reputations that it affects their sense of self-worth. The Scarecrow, for instance, seems constantly worried that people think he's stupid. And even though the Lion's roar scares the other creatures of the forest, he won't feel satisfied until he's convinced he deserves his fierce reputation.
Questions About Respect and Reputation
- Name at least one character whose reputation matches his or her real personality and/or abilities.
- What tools does the wizard use to help create the illusion that he has magical powers?
- Who has the worst reputation in all of Oz? Explain your answer.
Chew on This
In Oz, reputation is a harmful illusion. It gives people power they don't deserve, or makes them feel bad about themselves for being inadequate.
In Oz, reputation is a useful illusion and an important tool.