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The place of animals in society is an important theme in wicked.Why does Elphaba make it her mission to fight for animal right.How else does social class define - Essay Example

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The issue of Elphaba's wickedness is directly related to the political unrest that results in Oz as a result of the arrival of the Wizard. Prior to Wizard appearance in Oz and his co-opting of religious and social fabric of the land, the religious tradition was based on Lurline the Fairy Queen and her daughter Ozma whom she placed as ruler…
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The place of animals in society is an important theme in wicked.Why does Elphaba make it her mission to fight for animal right.How else does social class define
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Wicked and Animals The issue of Elphaba's wickedness is directly related to the political unrest that results in Oz as a result of the arrival of the Wizard. Prior to Wizard appearance in Oz and his co-opting of religious and social fabric of the land, the religious tradition was based on Lurline the Fairy Queen and her daughter Ozma whom she placed as ruler. Part of the cosmology of Oz and Lurline has to do with the endowment of consciousness to beast of burden, and the underlying thematic tone of this fascinating story has far more important than might be expected. Essentially, Lurline relieves herself to create the Gillikin River, which the animals saw as a threatening flood with the power to devastate their world, or as Elphaba intellectually deconstructs it, "a baptism by pissa subtle way both to explain the talents of the Animals and to denigrate them at the same time" (115). The animals hurled themselves into the violent flow in an effort to escape certain death. Those who turned away from the effort remained grounded in their animal state, while those who actually achieved the goal of making it to the safety of the banks received the reward of sentience and consciousness. The element at work as far as Elphaba's mission to return the dignity of Animals taken away by the Wizard is that the Lurlinest religion was a matriarchal myth. Part of the Wizard's plan in ruling Oz is to deconstruct and explode the matriarchal tradition and impose a patriarchal one.
The evolution from a matriarchy to patriarchy is the thematic underpinning that connects Elphaba to the Animals. "Elphaba looked like something between an animal and an Animal, like something more than life but not quite Life" (77). Both are outsiders, socially disruptive to the predominant ideals associated with the kind of fascist rule that marks the Wizard's reign. The systematic obliteration of Animal rights is clearly analogous to everything from the murder of Jews by the Nazis to the denial of the right of marriage to homosexuals in America. The Wizard initiates his fascist state by eradicating many of the rights enjoyed by Animals that serve to separate them lower orders of animals. The Wizard begins with the Animals because they are most obviously different, and Elphaba cannot but be expected to understand and show empathy toward this unfairness on the basis of her own quite obvious uniqueness. The Animals are keen and emotional and share all the traits of the human beings and other human-like characters, yet are singled out because they are different. It is their otherness from the average that targets them and the supporters of the Wizard are quick to be drawn into the idea that different is inferior. This idea is lent further credence by Elphaba's circumstance herself; she is, after all, singled out mostly because of the way she appears rather than by any intellectual shortcoming. Elphaba actually comes to be viewed as wicked not only because she is different in appearance, but because her so-called terrorist actions are conducted in the name of defense against the unfair treatment of the social classes targeted by the Wizard and his higher class supporters.
The Wizard goes to contemporary extremes to protect Oz from what he sees as treacherous forces; in many ways the novel can now be read as allegory in which Animals stand for Muslims. The Wizard endeavors to implement questionable security measures against the wickedness of outsiders. The novel is accessible to most people because they already have a passing familiarity with many of the major characters and this familiarity makes the themes easier to apply to the real world. The novel is easily interpreted as an allegorical warning against unchecked power that targets those most obviously different first before expanding the targets to include anyone who doesn't adhere to the strict definition of what is good, lumping all those who do not under an ever-wider umbrella of what is to be considered wicked.
Works Cited
Maguire, Bruce. Wicked: The Life and Times of the Wicked Witch of the West. HarperCollins: New York, NY. 1995. Read More
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