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Wicked | Quotes


Though Oz had given her a twisted life, hadn't it also made her capable?

Narrator, Prologue

Near the end of Elphaba's story, the Witch lurks among the roots of a black willow tree, waiting for the rain to subside so she can fall upon Dorothy and take the jeweled shoes that she believes are rightfully hers. As she waits she gives herself a pep talk, telling herself that although the politics of Oz have beaten her down, and worse, it is the land that's cursed, not she. What hasn't killed her has made her stronger. Little does she know her capabilities will disappear in her final showdown with Dorothy.


She's green, you mean. It's a she, for heaven's sake.

Nanny, Book 1, Chapter 4

When Frex tells Nanny his newborn daughter, Elpheba, is "the wrong color," he's in a state of shock and refers to the child as "it." Nanny has to remind him Elphaba is a human no matter what her color. Nanny remains Elphaba's stalwart champion when her parents repeatedly let her down.


When goodness removes itself, the space it occupies corrodes and becomes evil.

Elphaba, Book 2, Chapter 1

Shortly after Glinda likens evil to boredom—a type of void—Elphaba makes a similar remark, telling Glinda the void left when the good Fairy Queen Lurline departed Oz allowed evil to take root. She speculates this evil can infect perfectly innocent people and thus spread far and wide. The nature of evil is the novel's—and Elphaba's—central preoccupation.


Women are weaker, but their weakness is full of cunning and an equally rigid moral certainty.

Elphaba, Book 3, Section 2 (Elphaba's Plans Go Awry)

Elphaba, after arguing men are wicked because power makes them stupid and blind, notes women are flawed in fundamental ways as well. They may not be as strong as men, but they are crafty and unyielding, and just as capable of wicked deeds. Elphaba has little regard for either men or women.


One never learns how the witch became wicked.

Oatsie Manglehand, Book 4, Chapter 1

Oatsie says there is no origin story for the evil—the evil simply are evil. Oatsie points out in folklore evil always predates good, as if it were always there from the beginning of time.


That's all I want—to do no harm.

Elphaba, Book 4, Chapter 1

Elphaba is tired and dispirited when she speaks with Princess Nastoya, the Elephant—the first Animal she has been able to talk to for more than a decade. When Princess Nastoya (approvingly) indicates Elphaba caused the cook's death, Elphaba first protests and then seems to wilt, saying she would like nothing more than to stay with Princess Nastoya, who can help her do no harm in the world. But this is only her exhaustion speaking; Elphaba is not about to lose her fire or her will.


Nothing is written in the stars ... No one controls your destiny.

Princess Nastoya, Book 4, Chapter 1

When Elphaba is discouraged, Princess Nastoya gently prods her to go forth, become a Witch, and achieve her aims. But even as she gives her a push, she reminds Elphaba her fate is in her own hands. Whether this is true is a recurring question in the novel; Elphaba is often convinced someone else controls her fate.


Girls need cold anger ... the ceaseless grudge, the talent to avoid forgiveness.

Sarima, Book 4, Chapter 2

While Sarima and Elphaba discuss the differences between boys and girls, Sarima says boys need hot anger—the drive to fight—but girls need a kind of anger that never burns out, never dies. This is how they compensate for their limited scope in the world; they must remain eternally vigilant, never back down, and never forget or forgive when someone has wronged them. Elphaba decides she needs both hot and cold anger to achieve her goals.


Everything is gorgeous once it's gone.

Nanny, Book 4, Chapter 3

When Nanny says Elphaba's mother, Melena, hated her time at Colwen Grounds, Elphaba is startled; her mother had always spoken lovingly of that period. Nanny says people have a way of misremembering the past, seeing it all in a rosy light—an observation applicable to Elphaba's memories as well.


The righteous person can work miracles .... Show me that axe, if you've brought it.

Nessarose, Book 4, Chapter 3

Nessarose makes a deal with a woman; she will enchant an ax to injure a woodman so he can't marry the woman's maid. Her phrasing illustrates the contrast between her intention to be "righteous" and the violence she is about to do—an indication of how easily Nessarose can justify evil.


It didn't matter how crippled Nessarose was; she would always be more than Elphaba, always.

Narrator, Book 4, Chapter 3

When Elphaba asks Frex to leave Oz with her, he explains he can't because of Nessarose. He will never leave her behind. This leads Elphaba to realize Nessarose will always be Frex's priority—even if, or partly because, he isn't sure she is his biological daughter. He seems to feel both he and Turtle Heart share her equally, and this makes her all the more precious to Frex.


How could we tell if we were the pawns of someone's darker game?

Elphaba, Book 5, Part 3

Elphaba recalls the day when Madame Morrible proposed that Glinda, Nessarose, and Elphaba become high witches of Oz, and she asks Glinda whether it's possible they've been in someone else's control—under someone else's spell—their whole lives, only imagining they were making choices of their own free will. Glinda responds that all of life is a spell.


It's people who claim that they're good ... that you have to be wary of.

Boq, Book 5, Part 5

After Elphaba announces she is now calling herself the Wicked Witch of the West, Boq tells her she is not wicked. He then points out that both she and Glinda did the same thing: made the most of what they had to get what they wanted. Neither is more good or evil than the other. Nessarose is the one to be wary of; she claims to be good but has a strong undercurrent of darkness.


I have fought fire with fire ... and I ought to have done it sooner!

Elphaba, Book 5, Part 9

When Elphaba tells Boq she has killed Madame Morrible, he is shocked because he thinks Elphaba is above such evil as murder. Her justification shows how resistance can turn a person into the thing she is fighting against.


He doesn't know what the truth means, so he does not even know how he lies.

Elphaba, Book 5, Part 17

Elphaba asks Dorothy if she trusts the Wizard and tells Dorothy why she shouldn't. The Wizard has reached such an extreme point of corruption he doesn't even realize how evil he is.

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