Literature Study GuidesWickedBook 5 Parts 5 7 Summary

Wicked | Study Guide

Gregory Maguire

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Wicked | Book 5, Parts 5–7 : The Murder and Its Afterlife | Summary



Book 5, Part 5

Elphaba visits Boq and his family to gather information about Dorothy, whom they describe as a plain and likable girl. Boq compares Dorothy and her little dog to the picture of the Kumbric Witch he found in the university library. He also assures Elphaba he has no Animals on his farm and remembers Dr. Dillamond's principles. Boq's family tells Elphaba Madame Morrible is near death but continues to advise the Wizard from her sick bed. Elphaba thinks of Madame Morrible's influence and pictures Dorothy as a tool to get the shoes out of Munchkinland and, perhaps, to the Wizard. She leaves Boq and his wife, Milla, determined to kill Madame Morrible.

Book 5, Part 6

When Elphaba arrives in Shiz, she finds a different Head in Crage Hall who sends her to find Madame Morrible in the Doddery. Madame Morrible sits propped up in bed when Elphaba sees her, eyes open and mouth agape, already dead. Elphaba smashes Madame Morrible's head with a nearby trophy anyway.

Book 5, Part 7

Elphaba is frustrated to learn she was moments too late to kill Madame Morrible herself, but she devises a new plan. She goes to see Avaric in his wealthy digs in town. They reminisce, and Avaric tells Elphaba about the "entertainment" set up in the park and run by a dwarf, whom Avaric recognizes from the long-ago night at the Philosophy Club.

Elphaba tells him she has killed Madame Morrible. He invites her to stay for dinner, and his guests find dinner with a confessed killer and witch entertaining. The guests talk about the nature of evil, whether it is based purely on action or if intent is a factor. Elphaba concludes evil must be secret and leaves the party confident that word of her hand in Madame Morrible's death will reach the Wizard through gossip.


Elphaba connects with two more old friends in her pursuit of Nessarose's shoes. Her appreciation for innocence is suddenly suspended as she ignores Boq's description of Dorothy as a scared child with a little dog. Boq's comparison between Dorothy and the old illumination of the Kumbric Witch draws a parallel between Dorothy and Elphaba. In the past, Boq compared Elphaba to the Kumbric Witch as well.

Elphaba and Dorothy are similar in other ways. Dorothy's devotion to her dog mirrors Elphaba's devotion to her menagerie of animals, including the dog Killyjoy, back at Kiamo Ko. Dorothy is isolated and lonely in a strange land, just as Elphaba was when her family moved to Quadling Country, just as Elphaba was when she arrived at Shiz, just as Elphaba was when she moved to the Emerald City, just as Elphaba was when she arrived in the Vinkus.

Elphaba decides to kill Madame Morrible after all these years because the contacts with all her college friends and Nessarose's death have reminded her of the evils Madame Morrible inflicted on her. Elphaba continues to fear that Madame Morrible controls her as well as Glinda. Instead of feeling relieved, she is frustrated to find the old woman already dead in her bed. The best Elphaba can do is desecrate the body.

Still, Elphaba wants credit for killing Madame Morrible because she knows the news will incense the Wizard. She plants the gossip in a place where she knows it will reach his ear, Avaric's social circle. The dinner guests' fascination with Elphaba shows the indifference the rich and powerful have toward malicious actions. Their debate about the nature of evil underscores this indifference. To them evil is an abstract concept, a novelty at the dinner table, not something they perpetrate.

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