Study Guide

The Wizard of Oz The Witch

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The Witch

We've all had a Wicked Witch in our lives.

A teacher, a boss, even (God forbid) a family member. They seem to exist to make our lives miserable and take great joy in sticking the knife in whenever they can. And if you need a cinematic equivalent of their general horribleness, Margaret Hamilton has the hook up, baby!

Besides being one of the greatest bad guys (or girls) in movie history, the Witch carries a lesson that everyone could stand to learn: the scary people in your life are only as scary as you let them be. After chasing Dorothy around like a demented traffic cop for 90 minutes, threatening her and her friends with various types of gruesome deaths, all it took to get rid of her was a splash of water. (As we've said elsewhere, troubles really do melt like lemon-drops in Oz.) All Dorothy needed was a little bravery and the right instincts… in this case, concern for her friend the Scarecrow who was on his way to becoming a singing, dancing charcoal briquette.

The sudden, surprising ease of the Witch's death shows Dorothy more of her own potential. So when and if another witch shows up, she won't be quite as scared, and may even have a garden hose handy just for the occasion. She's learned that bad things aren't always as frightening as they seem, which is all anyone could ask when taking a trip like hers.

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