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Wicked | Motifs

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Animals

Elphaba feels a strong affinity for Animals and animals. The Animals, creatures who have self-awareness and are designated with a capital letter, find themselves subject to the power plays of the Wizard and others in authority, and they are helpless to resist. Yet animals also figure prominently in the narrative. From Elphaba's cat, Malky, in the Emerald City to her menagerie at Kiamo Ko, these animals provide companionship, comfort, and practical assistance. They allow Elphaba to exercise her own power over nature and develop her skills as a witch. Both Animals and animals serve as a vehicle for Elphaba to demonstrate her sense of goodness and justice, as she fights to preserve their rights and their lives. When they are lost or killed, Elphaba grieves for them, which shows how all living things are capable of connecting with one another.

The Body

Body-related imagery abounds in Wicked. Much of the imagery is sexual or sensual, such as Melena exposing her breasts on a sunny morning in the garden or Kumbricia's Pass resembling a naked woman reclining with her legs open. Other body-related imagery includes descriptions of Elphaba's infant form and her fascination with her own urine as a toddler. Nessarose is a prisoner of her body, spending much of her life unable to walk on her own because she lacks arms. The abounding references to bodies underscores both their power and their fragility in the face of evil actions.

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